Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Greek Wedding

Enjoy this classic article about a Greek vacation/wedding.

In my last letter to you all, I expressed my growing dissatisfaction with my rock star lifestyle in France. I needed a vacation from my celebrity, and because my presence was required at a wedding in Greece, I left for a Greek vacation.

I had always imagined Greece to be a dirty, dirty land, filled with people one wouldn't want to share a bus with. If my intuition was correct, Greece would be a place one would go to, and never be able to shake the urge to shower. Landing in Athens quickly confirmed these suspicions which made me long for the possibility that my various prejudices about countries and cultures that I don't understand might actually be wrong. But one shouldn't hope for the impossible.

The wedding itself was quite a ways out of Athens in a town called Tripoli. So after renting a car, I ventured out onto the streets of Greece. After pulling away from the rental agency, I immediately noticed a couple of things about Greece:

1. The traffic laws are merely suggestions.
2. They sure use funny letters on the street signs.

It quickly became obvious to me that most Greek drivers seemed to believe that they were in the roller derby. If it wasn't for my cat-like reflexes, I would have been wearing my rented 1984 Opel sedan as a three-piece suit. Yes, I would look fabulous even as the victim of a traffic accident.

As for the street signs, the Greeks have their own funny language that uses funny Greek letters. The only time in my life that I have been happy to have suffered through two semesters of calculus came as I was trying to navigate my way through Greece. Here's a quick travel tip for all you first timers in Greece: When exiting the airport on the way out of Athens, you first have to turn left at the washer method integral for volume, and THEN turn right at the Church of Euler's Second Integral.

Finally, I made it to Tripoli, and I rested up for the wedding festivities. I had no qualms about resting in the middle of the day in Greece because if there is one thing Greeks are famous for, it's being lazy. If you don't believe me, consider the fact that democracy was invented in Athens because everyone was too lazy to subjugate. Alexander the Great, Greece's most famous conqueror, was actually Macedonian.

The only exception to Greece's general laziness policy is in regards to partying. Every night there is a party. Every day, there is a four hour long siesta which prevents the country from collapsing from exhaustion.

Greek wedding parties are famous for two things: the traditional Greek wedding dance, and the traditional Greek wave of destruction. During the traditional wedding dance, the wedding party forms a large circle and prances around. After the first few rounds of dance for the novices, it turns into a dance marathon. The wedding party begins to drop like flies until only the last two dancers remain. These last two dancers then square off in an epic dancing battle with the victor tearing out and eating the loser's kidneys.

Eating the loser's kidneys is only the tip of the Greek wedding destruction iceberg. Greek families bring out hundreds of plates to be shattered during the dance marathon. At the party I was at, they ran out of plates, and thus brought out other items to shatter, including, a heavy glass ashtray, a porcelain toilet, and a bust of Aristotle. Thankfully the ashtray was too heavy to properly shatter because the stray glass would have likely blinded the whole wedding party. But while the ashtray didn't shatter, it did break into three rather large chunks, and one of these chunks flew 15 feet through the air before getting lodged in my thigh.

At around five in the morning, the wedding festivities were put on hold so that everyone could go home, get some sleep, and disinfect their wounds. Unfortunately, I was not able to get much rest because my hotel room didn't have a do-not-disturb sign. Starting at eight, the maids opened the door to my room every hour, closing it back with embarrassment when they realized that I was either in the room asleep, or standing naked, waving at them.

After a few more days of near excessive partying, life became a blur. I lost the ability to maintain short and middle term memories. The ouzo had destroyed 75% of my brain and liver. And at some point during my stay, my friends Angel and Gerard got hitched. I have no recollection of the event itself as I woke up a month later from a coma in a Turkish hospital. But as they say in Greece, "it ain't a good party unless somebody falls into a coma."