Monday, 3 September 2007

Live your myth in Greece…6 blogtastic things about my country...

I have to be honest with you guys I did not intend to write such a post about my country, Greece, at least not at present. However, my friend Zhu asked me to do so and if there is one thing I have come to terms with in this eight month blogging adventure of mine is that there is nothing ‘blogging related’ that Zhu would ask me to do and I would say ‘no’. Yep, I like her a lot, she is just all about positive vibes so this is for her really(oh, who am I kidding I am having fun with this ,heh). Just don’t get any ideas that I would be positive on doing the chicken dance wearing my underpants on my head, post it on Youtube and embed it in the blog. So yeah , ALMOST anything goes, LOL!



The hill of Acropolis in Athens with the temple of Parthenon at the top. The eternal symbol of Greece.



1) If there is one thing that all Mediterranean nations have in common is that they have great cuisine. What I have noticed in other countries either in Europe or further away is that they base a lot of their recipes on spices and thick gravies just to make the food look cool and cover its other inadequacies. It is no secret that the basic constituent of all Mediterranean cuisine is olive oil which must surely be one of the top five essential food constituents (I would place it at the top actually) worldwide. So, yeah I wont be showering you with pictures of foodstuff or names of greek foods that rock because blogging about it just doesn’t do it justice. But trust me on this, if you are a lover of good food, you owe it to yourself to have a go at greek cuisine whether you come to the country or not. Just punch in a couple of extra holes in your belt before you do because greek food is too tasty and you will be lured into excesses because of it.




Greek ... Food...Awesome...Yep, that sums it up alright:)



2) Greeks as all people have specific characteristics which I think would be interesting to convey to you especially for the people among you that have never met one up close and personal. By default Greeks talk a lot, talk loud, laugh a lot, swear a lot and generally are very outgoing. They go out a lot regardless if it is a weekday or a weekend and their second priority after having the essentials to live is to have a good time all the time if possible. On the downside it isn’t unheard of for greek people to claim to know something just to appear knowledgeable and they whine about their daily lives more often than not. One particularly interesting trait of my race is that we are last minute people in almost everything, however it is very rare that we fail on something:). It all comes down to one little word ‘filotimo’. When a deadline approaches and not as much work as should have been done has been done, ‘filotimo’ kicks in. Under the influence of this concept, Greeks will work harder than humanly possible to meet the deadline and finish the project on time. Rarely Greeks fail when doing that but it is a more stressful way of doing things than being organised, lol. Essentially ‘filotimo’ could be translated very vaguely as the inherent need of each Greek to do the best job at what he does and take great pride in doing it being motivated by the fear of being ridiculed if not doing it at all or if doing it badly. Yep, we are suckers for a good incentive to do things you see, LOL!



The day when the Olympic Games returned back home... Shivers run down my spine just thinking about it... Can't wait to see what China, another nation with great history, has cooked up for the 2008 Olympic games, only one year to go...:)



3)Now for the heroic readers that have reached this far down this blog entry there are a couple of useful pointers that, if you are aware of, you’ ll be fully prepared to enjoy your stay in this country. Just trust me and go with the flow on this one. To begin with, one aspect that always scares the shit out of people that visit Greece is the driving mentality of the nation. No, no, no you misunderstood I am not talking about a bunch of extremely motivated people, I am talking about how one drives his car and behaves in the streets. Forget about zebra crossings and sticking to them to cross roads as a pedestrian. This just wont do the trick in Greece. In Greece cars don’t stop before them so that pedestrians can cross, therefore be careful unless your ultimate ambition in life is to become embedded on the asphalt of the road. Furthermore, car overtaking at improper road spots is not an uncommon driving skill in Greece. Hey, I am only doing you a favour here... Oh, well at least we don’t drive on pavements like Portuguese drivers do, Mark Twain said that so I believe him, lol. Another overrated commodity in Greece is making queues waiting for things to happen or some sort of service. As I have said in the past “Greeks only make queues if they are having their passports checked or ride on escalators simply because the space is too narrow not too”, LOL. Ok, ok I am exaggerating a lot here just don’t be alarmed if you don’t see a queue somewhere there was supposed to be one…it happens sometimes.



Another day driving in Greece and trying to survive to tell the tale:) Yeah, I know, I know... I am a riot sometimes:)



4)If there is one word that makes modern Greece go around , it must be the word ‘malakas’ (emphasis on ‘la’ when pronouncing). I swear to every god imaginable that if I had a Euro for every time I heard foreigners saying the word ‘malakas’ outside the greek borders or within the country, as a greeting of sorts, I would have been a bloody millionaire by now! I understand that it is really easy to pronounce and has a nice funny ring to the ear for the non-Greeks so that is why for a lot of foreigners use it. Come to think of it, it probably is the first (and sometimes the last) greek word they learn speaking in greek! So what does it really mean… hmm… the origin of the word is a bit ‘too sticky’ shall we say so I’ll just move along on coaching you about how to use this word (although not using it is more politically correct but where is the fun in that,lol). So, what does ‘malakas’ mean? Well, this must be the most multipurpose word in the history of human linguistics, I kid you not ha,ha,ha! Now, if you go around in Greece and say ‘hi malakas’ to the first person you see on the street he’ll probably punch you in the face so don’t do that unless you get a kick out of replacing all your teeth by a dentist. However, if you know someone really well and you tell him ‘hi malakas’ he wont be insulted, it would just be considered a greeting of sorts. Crazy isn’t it? Just don’t use it too often. A lot of times walking in Greece you are going to hear people talking saying : “Malakas this and malakas that… and more malakas…. And even more malakas…. And so on and so forth”. Do not indulge into the groove and start using it too much yourselves, it is more of an inbred lingo than something foreigners say to natives. So unless you are the bastard child of Bruce Lee and you are ace in martial arts stay away from using ‘malakas’ referring to people you don’t know or you’ll probably get ‘taken down with extreme prejudice’ as I say (just joking,heh). Still, I can tell you are now officially intrigued, so from now on you are going to ‘malaka’ your way harmlessly out of everything in your countries of residence, saying it out loud all the time… After all it has a nice ring to it, be warned though that a lot of foreigners that have interacted with Greeks know it, lol.




Did you just call me 'malakas'? Oh you scum, you are soooo dead, LOL!!! (Not the type of music I am fond of but this vid is so over the top I couldnt ressist, ha,ha,ha)


5)Greece has so many diverse things for a tourist to see it is beyond belief. It is not just the islands, or just the mountains, or just the forests (yep, we got plenty left,lol) , or just the nightlife. It is a really interesting and very beautiful place. The weather is absolutely amazing albeit a bit hotter during summer these past couple of years. A problem ‘us’ Greeks have when going abroad especially in northern regions is the lack of contact with the warmth of the greek sun. For Greeks the sun means life and not getting enough of it really makes us grumpy sometimes,lol. French say that ‘Greece is the country touched by God’ regarding its natural beauty and I am not going to argue with that,lol. And don’t get me started on the astonishing remnants of greek ancient civilization…




It really took me a lot of time to choose this video since there were a lot of ridiculously tacky ones on youtube. This one however has the vibe I was looking for... Nuff said, enjoy:)



6)Now time for a couple of totally unrelated random facts about the country:


Greece has the second highest accumulated seismic activity load and occurrence of earthquakes in the world second only to Japan. Yep, it is true and it has a great deal to do with its position on the map and the convergence of Europe and Asia on a subterranean level. Still, don’t tie your knickers on a knot just yet. The vast majority of the earthquakes happen at sea so no harm done really. I have to say it was really funny when I went to the London Natural History Museum and they had some sort of earthquake simulator there to show people what ‘an earthquake feels like’. It just felt so surreal to someone that comes from a country that is ‘shaking groovily’ because of earthquakes now and then to stand in front of an ‘earthquake simulator’ and watch other people interact with it in awe, lol.



When tolerably sized earthquakes hit the country from time to time our attitude towards them is depicted by the above song, LOL. We are used to them you see:). If earthquakes rank too high in the Richter scale, we piss our pants from fear like all people around the world do, LOL!


Another cool fact is that Greece is currently the European Champion in both football and basketball(it also ranks second in the world in basketball). Not bad for an 11,000,000 people country e? Heh!



Anyway, I could add more stuff to this already ‘too long’ post but I think I am tiring people out so I’ ll just stop now. I hope it shows that I tried to present various aspects of modern Greece in a fun and easy to read way. Who knows maybe I raised your interest enough to even visit the place or google it up.Above all else modern Greece is a beautiful and fun country, give it a shot, you never know, you may actually like it!



I really liked this vid for some reason, so I decided to post it here as well, enjoy:)



P.S. 1 Oh, you owe me so many cookies now Zhu it is unbelievable…Start baking like there is no tomorrow girl ha,ha,ha. Sorry, folks a little inside joke there between me and my friend Zhu.

P.S. 2 The title of this post ‘Live your myth in Greece’ is the moto of the latest advertising campaign promoting our tourism abroad. Personally, I find it a bit cheesy and tacky but at the other end of the spectrum if does have a nice cool ring to it, so that is why I used it as a header of sorts for this post.

Till next time, take care!

10 comments:

Shan said...

Nice, nice, I love that picture! Wonderfully taken!

1) Never actually tried Greek cuisine. Have to try it sometimes...

Hope it's not too oily.

2) I did a research report in HR on Greece as a country and I knew the term filotimo. Similar to the word face in China and many Asian countries isn't it?

3) Thanks for the tips. They'll come in handy one day... When I have enough $$ to visit Greece lol!

4) I'll keep that in mind. Malakas!!

5) Lol... remanents of the Greek civilisation. Well, they say Greece started everything in the West so I think that's a powerful enough legacy

6) Lol! Does buildings in Greece swing like those in Japan during earthquakes as a preventative measure? Get back to me in my blog :)

NICE explaination!! Keep it up!! Love your videos, makes things fun to read!

Zhu said...

Cookies ? What cookies ? Come on, relax, have another glass of Ouzo and we'll forget it all.... :$

Alright, woman, go to the kitchen and cook. So be it that's my destiny. :D

Would you like your cookies deliver by Xpress post or regular mail ?

Meanwhile, I'm a little bit offended by the only ‘blogging related’ things I can make you do. I truly believed our relationship was deeper than that but... oh well :D

Alright, let's get to the post.

Greek cuisine : checked, it's wonderful ! We're blessed with Greek immigrants in France and I've always liked to sample Greek dishes. Although I can't pronounce half of them.

Hey Shan... "hope it's not too oily" ??? You're Chinese man, talk about oily food ! :D ;)

Driving... well, let's just say it's fortunate I'm immortal after crossing several streets in China. Otherwise, I'd have died downtown Athens. :D I can still remember trying to navigate in the Plaka... Oh...!

Greek people... yeah, you guys are great. I like Mediterranean anyway, my Mum's Italian (well Italian background anyway) so I can relate pretty well.

All in all, Greek is an awesome country, I have to agree. A great culture and looking to the future.... I like that.

Great job, the teacher is happy !

someGirl said...

I have decided that you will be my tour guide when I visit Greece :)

Nicholas Gray said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
nick said...

Wow, I actually learned an awful lot about Greece here. This was a nice change of pace really.

Calista said...

Food...hmmm
Although I'm very selective, I find enjoyment in tasting good food.
Fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, olives...

Olive oil is #1 for me, too.

Actually, u just gave me a chance to "proselytize" here:)
Health4All concept works anywhere! and
proven wisdom;

NEVER trust fat vegetarian:)

And I just experience "Deja Vu" syndrome (I'm not joking, have to think about it).
Brain plays its own game, is it possible...?

I go to zzzzzzzzz sleeeeeep, DP.
Great post zzzzzzzz as always, my cyber zzzzzz hero zzzzzzzz...

Deadpoolite said...

@Shan

Yep, I think this blog entry was a good fun ride on what makes modern Greece tick these days. At least a superficial attempt of sorts on my behalf:)

Glad you liked it.

@Zhu

Less talking more baking young lady:)

But yeah , since you provided the incentive behind this post I am really happy you liked it:)

@somegirl

Can I have that in writing please? You know I hate empty promises:)

I think it was good fun and I am sure an introduction of sorts for a lot of you to Modern Greece.

@Nick

I see your point. I realize that what may seem trivial and kinda of 'same old, same old' to me may seem exciting to you since modern Greece is a bit of an unknown quantity worldwide except from some well known exaggerated stereotypes. You are right this was a nice change of pace, so maybe I am going to post something of this type sooner rather than later. Who knows...

@Calista

Yeah I know I am a cyberhero of sorts, I have that effect on all Calistas. Hmmm... come to think of it you are the only Calista I know:)

Take care!

jayasree said...

Hi

I have been reading your posts since a month...really liked most of it,this one especially...

I am from India..
I dont have a blog but i love reading random blogs and that is how i saw yours...
Liked it so much that i read it often nowadays..

Take care........

Deadpoolite said...

@jayasree

Hello jayasree!

Thanks for visiting and commenting. This blog is mostly about a humourous take on things I like doing, things that matter and generally whatever comes to mind:)

I am glad you found some of my posts entertaining:)

I am looking forward to hear more from you in the future should you find anything remotely interesting in any upcoming posts I write.After all, human interaction is what makes blogging that little bit more interesting and exciting!

Take care and thank you for reading!

Clare said...

hee hee why would we be married pray tell?
Uni is fine :]
I like your blog
xxxx