If you’re traveling to Greece from the United States or one of the many “civilized” European countries, you may be surprised by unique, independent Greece. Although Greece has been accepted into the EEC, to assume that Greece is like any other European country will, alas, leave you grossly unprepared.
But, don’t worry. I’ve put together a brief list of helpful preps for your next trip. It’s best to give yourself plenty of time—some recommendations require three to five years to be effective—so read this list early. Oh, and, WARNING: many of these recommendations are, indeed, hazardous to your health, but, hey, your trip to Greece will be so much more enjoyable:
1. Noise Pollution—Greece is the poster-child for pollution, all types of pollution. The EEC has published noise standards for all of Europe, and Athens fails these standards, miserably. Combine screams, traffic, horns and the 3am garbage collections from hell, and you’re well above the decibel limit. At one point I contemplated whether or not all the yelling that goes on is because everyone is deaf. But don’t worry, we have a plan. Take your iPod ear buds, place them in your ears, and over the next four weeks gradually increase the volume until close to max. (This will most definitely destroy your hearing, but will come in quite handy when in Greece-as you will be yelling as loudly and effortlessly as the rest of the population.
2. Nefos (air pollution)—move to Los Angeles or next to a coal plant approximately three to five years before your first Grecian trip. If neither of these is possible, then move to that town in China where our used computer parts go—yes, the one with the green water where everyone is dying of cancer.
3. Lower your time expectations--Purposely stand in very long crowded lines that do not move for hours. The only difference in Greece is, well, there are no lines.
4. Conversely, avoid standing in lines; practice elbowing your way to the front of every crowd, especially if you are elbowing older pushy women out of the way.
5. Cigarette smoke—If you aren’t already smoking or breathing in second-hand-smoke on a daily basis—what are you waiting for?
6. Prepare to stop for goats—not sure where or how you would practice this. Suggestions, anyone?
7. Do not telephone anyone or conduct any business between the hours of 3pm and 7pm.
8. Skip breakfast, unless it’s coffee and a cigarette, and eat lunch and dinner later—at 2pm and 10pm. Start napping mid-day and staying up ‘til at least 2am. When you do fall asleep between 2am and 4pm, make sure an extremely loud noise, such as a crowing rooster, or an earthquake wakes you up approximately 1-2 hrs after you have fallen asleep—or as soon as you’ve entered REM stage.
9. Practice sitting as close as you can to the people dining next to you—and standing as close as you can to the strangers next to you--without actually touching them.
10. Practice saying, “Ooh-hee! Then say thel-loh (No! I don’t want you)” as you click your tongue and jerk your head up. And “Ooh-hee! Then sah-gah-poe (No! I don’t love you).”
11. Withdraw all of your money from the bank in cash and store it under your mattress (just in case the banks strike for the next two months).
If you successfully complete all of the above, you will have a fighting chance of truly enjoying your Greek experience. Good luck, and remember, no physician in their right mind would suggest #1, #2, #5 or #8.
***For those of you who made it to the bottom of the post without a migraine, I apologize for the cut-off left margin. I have reported it to the Weebly police, and, hopefully, it will be corrected soon. Now, please excuse me while I take a Maxalt.
I can't believe it! When I went to post this apology the left-hand margin reappeared!