Rovers

καλήνύχτα (pronounced "ka-lee-nikh-tuh") a.k.a. good evening!  Despite the confusion at the airport gates, an hour later our airplane touched down on the outskirts of Athens, Greece.  After just two days in Athens and two on Santorini we hopped on the bus to Πειραιάς a.k.a. Piraeus, Greece for another two.

Having stayed at the Athens Hilton already (near the area of Evangelismos) the suburb of Piraeus appeared sketchy at first glance.  The roads were puddles of dirty water; graffiti was rampant; water from the gutters on the first floor dropped onto the few, innocent people on the sidewalk; stray dogs tangled with other strays who crossed into the wrong territory but [thankfully] paid no attention to people; the city's streets seemed closed off and menacing;

Mom & I barely made it to the nearby restaurant -- Radiko -- by closing time.  Now we had adjusted to the typical Greek schedule which meant no breakfast, lunch around 12:00-14:00, and dinner at 21:00 at the earliest

When Mom & I first booked our european flights, I decided I was going to eat as much fresh fish as possible while in a country that was a peninsula.  Under the seafood section was a fried fish.  Due to my heartburn from puking so much, I asked our server if I could have the fish grilled.  "Ohi, we cannot do it that way" was her response in broken English.  I threw caution to the wind & decided to try the fish anyway.  To up the ante I also tried Stoa potatoes -- named after Greek architecture.

My mother's eyes were as big as saucers and her mouth hung open as the lady brought my μαρίδες a.k.a. Whitebait fish (pronounced "mah-ree-thez").  I steeled my nerves and surprise.  This plate of food was not what I had envisioned.  Now I understood why the fish could not be grilled.  The tricky thing about the English words "fish" or "sheep" or "deer" is the listener is unaware of quantity.  Erroneously, I assumed the description of fried fish was singular. 
In my home country, I do not eat fish tails nor heads, but then again I've never eaten fish this small. When the woman server passed by our table & observed the pile of skeletons on my plate she educated me: I could eat the entire body.  I had a flashback to the only line in the movie The Beach that I remember: "we all travel thousands of miles just to watch TV and check into somewhere with all the comforts of home and you gotta ask yourself, 'whats the point of that?' "  Okay. I was going to try my best to immerse myself in Greek culture but I refused to feast on the head/eyeballs.  I doused the fish with the lemon & dug in.  They actually weren't terrible.

Anyway, my Stoa potatoes were golden brown with a crisp shell and mouth-watering! 

Around midnight and before turning in at The Argo Hotel, Mom & I wanted to stop at one of Greece's widespread kiosks to stock up on drinks (in an effort to save money).  I felt more comfortable walking along Ethn. Adistaseos because it was well lit and there were more people on this main drag.  The mid-twenties, female worker at the deserted kiosk inquired about our trip to her country.  She approved Thira was worthy of stereotyping the country, but "not really" Athens.  Out of left field, she then discussed the political strife in Greece -- which explained why there were bunches of cops in the streets.  The country was having major problems with immigration and finances.  During this twenty minute conversation my mom & I heard resentment towards Americans only once when the woman declared "you just don't know" [about Greece's problems].  That stung a little bit.  Hate us for our obesity rates or pompous attitude, but Mom & I were both taken aback that she thought the U.S.A. did not have similar issues.  Still, it is always fascinating and educational to speak with the locals.

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