Sunday, May 23, 2010

Saturday with the Fab Four and a box of paints

I'm a bit late with this, but I woke up late, and then I rolled out of bed and directly into a pile of new playthings, a gift to myself just for being me, a brand new Windsor Newton portable Easel complete with ten tubes of paint, three brushes and one canvas. Since I've arrived in Greece I've thrown all snobbery aside with quality of paint or brushes, just hand the crack over and let me go crazy! I'm starving here!

Five hours later Despina called and lured me out the door when she made mention of the possibility of combining and art museum with sampling the goodies from this pattisserie... I made all of the required-by-law adjustments to my person and met the whole troop (Kostas and the little ones) at Syntagma Square.

We needed to buffer ourselves for the onslaught of sugar with a meal first, so we moved back into the fabric district where there are some quasi-secret eateries on Romvis street. We chose "Miniatoura" in part because it was the one that had space for us. Sort of. We ordered a few things... chicken with eggplant, a plate of tabouleh, horiatiki, cannelloni, stuffed zucchinis with rice and meat, potatoes and a delicious vegetable pie that tasted like a combination of eggplant and zucchini. All of this on top of the standard basket of village bread and bottle of water left very little room to maneuver. Despina was managing her daughters while holding one dish in her hand and another in her lap. Two chairs were pulled up to serve as a shelf for the salt, pepper and bread. The little girls ate three bites each and jumped out of their seats to play, leaving both mother and father with cricks in their necks for trying to eat while they patrolled for wild, rampaging motorcycles or other vehicles that might prove disastrous to small bones.

I've learned a new word: Γκριναιζει. Grin-yah-zee. It means "grumble."
The little ones were doing a lot of it during lunch so while I was still reshuffling the plates as they arrived, (all different plates with geometric shapes and bright flowers to my delight) Despina was up, running after her restless wanderers. By the time I looked back up all three were standing at the dumpster, or maybe it was just a big abandoned box, on the other side of the pedestrian street with various items of pink and white toole. M. was carring a large stick with a tuft of it at the end, topped by a wooden castle. I. had a wispy turban on her head making her look like an Arabian princess. Despina was stuffing it inside of her overalls; a makeshift tutu.

It is true; the lord provides.

The concensus on the food was that it was decent.  In my personal opinion it was very nice, but I bow to the superior taste of a chef and a restaurateur. In any case I took a card because this place has the genuine feel of a little Greek eaterie without the weird, over the top stuff that the restaurants in the more tourist-traversed sections have town do. I would go back again. I might even take clients.

The hour late, the museum closed, we agreed we were too full to start in on the pastries and made a meeting point for a little later. I split down Ermou street to make an attempt at an errand, difficult in this country. Shops are typically closed on Sundays, even pharmacies, but they acknowledge that someone might need some medicine so there is always one open per neighborhood. It's a bit of a game, however, as it's not the same one every time. You must look up WHICH pharmacy is going to be open that particular Sunday, and for which hours as some might be from 9 to 8, some from 8-2, then 5-12, some from 8-8 (overnight)
And it all seemed so complicated I've never really bothered to learn how to find it. Instead I've just avoided the pharmacy on the weekends, but as life usually likes to force us to learn, this weekend it was unavoidable.

So that was what I was doing while the kids, Despina and Kostas went toward Melilotos. On Ermou street, I passed trains of immigrants, mostly Africans and Pakistanis, selling knock-off purses, belts and sunglasses. All I could think was "eggs." Sent myself into shivers.

Not surprisingly, the pharmacy I'd been informed was the "chosen" one was closed.

I'd like to end here because it gives a humorous detail to a chaotic country, but it would be unfair and untrue, because the informer was likely the one in the wrong here, and when I informed Despina she had only to say, "Paige, when are you going to learn never to rely on men!? They are ALWAYS wrong!"

Fast forward to Despina, myself, and her big one sitting in front of the window of a closed pharmacy reading the small print of the sign posted in every pharmacy listing the locations of the special-hours store. All this to say, eventually we succeeded.

Walked to the playground where I discovered that there is a pocket of Greece I can understand everything that's being said.


And various things between the tumblers and the monkey-barrers, the sliders and the swingers, the ball kickers and the diggers.


dizzy. Maybe it was pleasure. Maybe it was a sugar rush. They were just decadent. Delicious. Everything you want in something you're not supposed to be having. (I mean that only in the way that no part of my body was lacking in the vitamins you might extract from mousse with marzipan, I don't care if Green tea is an antioxidant.)

This is the end, but I'm adding a note. Don't think I'm just going to talk and  talk about painting and never show. I will. I'm just getting back into the groove, giving myself the freedom to play. Not worry too much about anything except the act of creating, much like the purpose of a "write for 100 days" challenge.  I'm so in the habit that I don't think I could sleep without knowing I'd click clacked something about something, and on occasion that "something" turns out kinda nice.

If this can happen for paint, my days are going to be happy ones, and I'm going to have lots of paintings for the walls of my house, maybe on the wall looking out to the courtyard with the lemon tree and turquoise spiral staircase. The black and white tile and the sleeping cats, pots of basil and menthe.

Just sayin'.