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"Your 'reality', sir, is lies and balderdash and I'm delighted to say that I have no grasp of it whatsoever."
— Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Freiherr von M√ľnchhausen

The Big Fat Greek Wedding

I returned this past week from Athens, Greece, where I attended my old colleague's wedding. I went with a friend of mine who worked with us at the old bank where I used to work, and another friend of ours met us there with her husband. Since coming back from Southeast Asia in December, I've had a growing interest in ruins and how to photograph them. I love the way that the broken architecture looks against the mountains or the sky (the links open in their own window). So, I wanted to make sure to take pictures of the temples and classic Greek sculpture.

I arrived on Thursday morning, and immediately the carousing began, and I got a huge blister walking around Athens wearing my beat-up sandals for the first time since last Summer. We ate at a place called God's Restaurant, in the Plaka, the old area of the city. Friday, we went to The Acropolis (the Greeks drop the "s" sound at the end), though it took us maybe three hours of walking aimlessly around Syntagma Square to find the way up to the top, where the Parthenon is. Interestingly enough, the Acropolis is open until 6:00 PM, but the Cloak Room (where they made me check my backpack for security reasons) closed at 5:15.

Friday night we went to a bar/club called Exo, overlooking the Acropolis with the moon hanging overhead. We met the myriad of people who had flown in for the wedding, but the highlight of that night was discovering Everest. This place makes sandwiches and assorted fried stuff, Greek style. That night I got a burger baked inside a pastry crust with cheese, ketchup and mustard in it. And after many drinks and a lot of walking around the dead suburb of Glyfada, it tasted goooood.

The following morning we went to Delphi, to see the site of the famous oracle. Delphi was my one must-see destination of the trip, because I wanted to see the site that so much literature had been written about. It was a beautiful site, and the mountains were simply incredible, and I learned something interesting from the tour guide. Apparently, Plutarch had written about the priestess inhaling vapors somewhere in the heart of the temple, and claimed that these vapors induced her visions. Many had doubted these claims since there was nothing of the sort at the current site. However, a team of American scientists visited the Delphi site and took samples of the soil and discovered naturally-ocurring ether deposits, thus proving that there could be some truth to the claim.

That night, we attended the wedding, and I was part of the four-person American contingent at a wedding with people from everywhere: Germany, Cuba, Greece, England, Spain, India. The food was incredible (though we agreed that the spinach pie left a little something to be desired) and (surprise!) liberal drinking ensued. We caught an early-morning ferry to Mykonos and I slept like a baby on the five-hour ferry ride.

Mykonos was utterly beautiful. Unfortunately, the weather was dreary the first day, so we explored the town and ended up in an Internet cafe, where I checked my email while listening to two kids scream back and forth at each other in Greek as they played Counterstrike. We went to dinner at an Italian restaurant, where I had an 8€ margherita pizza with a 10€ salad. Sitting next to us was a couple from Boulder, Colorado. She was a travel agent, and he was in sales for steel or something like that. That night, we went to the Scandanavian Bar and met Macon ("it's like bacon with an m") and Christine, from California. They were on their honeymoon and planned to drink their way through all of it. We partied until the wee hours, but not before being lectured by the guy for about two drunken hours about how picking up chicks is all about attitude.

The next day was beautiful, so we went to this beach called Paradise, which did not have the white sand that I expected, but instead the sand was quite coarse. So I lay out a while and then who do we see but the couple from Boulder, with the missus bare-breasted. That was an uncomfortable wave hello. That night, my friend was useless, so I wandered Mykonos, ate gyros, and had a two-hour political discussion with the bartender.

Tuesday morning, we checked out and went to go store our bags because we were going to Delos. We would have gone on Monday, but the island is technically a museum – no one is allowed to live there – and museums were closed on Mondays. Apparently, the baggage storage place decided to open late that day, so we missed the early ferry, but eventually we were on our way to the sacred island of Delos, where the god Apollo was said to be born. This palm is said to have grown at the spot where he came into the world, and is supposed to be over 2500 years old. At Delos we met an Australian schoolteacher who trekked up the half-zillion stairs with us to get a view that was spectacular. There were ruins everywhere, including temples to Aphrodite, Apollo, and even Isis, from the time when the Egyptians had occupied the island. That evening, on the way back to Athens, we met a Russian programmer, who had long discussion with two fellow developers about why conventional object-oriented languages often fail to effectively model business processes.

We flew home the next morning, and I had a new owl for my collection. Athens was cosmopolitan but somehow seamy. The islands and ruins were beautiful, and the wedding was one of the best I had ever been to. All-in-all a pretty good vacation.

Comments on The Big Fat Greek Wedding
  Comment from Anonymous Anonymous at Tuesday, May 24, 2005 2:57:00 PM
Sounds like a lot of always. You took some beautiful pics, too...only wish you were in more of them.
  Comment from Blogger Herself at Wednesday, May 25, 2005 7:54:00 PM
Sounds like an awesome time. It's funny- while you were away I actually watched a show on the scientists who discovered that fault below Delphi. I have it recorded if you're interested.... I'm sure it was better to be there!

Nerd Question: Did the Greeks pronounce it Del-fi or Del-fee?
  Comment from Blogger MacFurious at Wednesday, May 25, 2005 7:59:00 PM
Hmmm... you didn't give Greece a Base Rating like you do with your movie and game reviews

8 - beautiful and scenic and whatever

+2 if you like Greek food and women
-5 if you dislike Greek people

or something like that... ;)
  Comment from Blogger eMeidi at Tuesday, September 27, 2005 6:49:00 PM
I'm flying over to Athens the next friday and I'm looking for a nice club to hang out that night.

Can you recommend Exo, as you stated in your post? Is it easy to get in?

Any other recommendations are appreciated

Thanks in advance!

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The Red Bull Diary is the personal pulpit and intellectual dumping-ground for its author, an amateur game designer, professional programmer, political centrist and incurable skeptic. The Red Bull Diary is gaming, game design, politics, development, geek culture, and other such nonsense.