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Weekly e-Gram for members and friends of Dublin Community Church

February 4, 2011

TURNS OUT, IT’S NOT ALL GREEK TO ME OR ANYONE ELSE

There are few things more difficult than arrive in a new city, and to arrive at night, and to arrive in a driving rain storm, and to arrive in a city where you do not speak the language.

Case in point: arriving in Athens, Greece at night, in a rain storm. I did one thing right, which was to find a hotel near the train station. Since it is not tourist season, we practically have the place to ourselves. It also explains why their B Team is at the front desk. He was a nice enough gentleman but not too familiar with the room key/cards. He gave me one that did not work, and another which did not work and a third which did not work. Each time I went from the third floor back to the lobby. Each time he gave me a new keycard which failed to work.

Finally, he decided that the particular room which he assigned to us, did not have a key and so he gave us the room below it…rather big too. Not like the place was overflowing with tourists, though, as I said.

Wait, maybe there is something worse than arriving in a foreign city at night in a rainstorm... it is arriving and needing supper too. The front desk guy said, “there are LOTS of restaurants just down the street.” (This is the same guy who finally found us a room with a key after four tries.) We take our umbrellas and chances and head out. It's pouring and there are numerous tour buses with tons of tourists all around. We get to the corner and the wind is whipping and the cars are careening off the roundabout and we see no restaurants in sight. But we brave the streets, rain and traffic and make it to the other side, and there in front of us is a Greek Restaurant. What are the odds we would find such a place in Athens?

We ask for a menu… we look at the food. No one else was there but one guy with a beer. The food turns out to be great. Makaila had bean-something-or-other and Greek salad (again, what are the odds?). I chose pasta, prepared by a British chef in this Greek restaurant.

After dinner, accompanied by the BBC telecast on TV and reports of trouble in Cairo, we went back out in the rain. There were more tour buses with tons of “tourists” getting on and off. And I thought to myself, “Have the Olympics returned? Are the Grateful Dead in concert in Athens this weekend?” I wasn’t sure.

We went to the nearby café to use their WiFi. Order a Mylos Beer and pay 4 Euros and you get an hour of WiFi use. I asked the owner about all the tour buses. “What is going on in this city?” Hoping to see what all the excitement was about. (Yesterday we were in Thessaloniki and we thought there was a riot going on since the cops were in riot gear. Turns out it was just a big soccer match, which in this case was the same thing as a riot.)

“They’re Albanians,” says the owner. “They come to work and then return to Albania.” It appeared to me that the entire population of Albania had boarded or un-boarded buses outside our hotel neighborhood in the past two hours. “Half of the people in Greece are Albanians!” the owner shouts.

Greek salad, Italian pasta, British Chefs and Albanian workers flooding Athens. It’s a multi-national world out there. And, it’s rather interesting to be right in the midst of it.

Peace, Rev. Bob Tussing

To follow Bob's journey via his blog, check in daily at:   www.revbobsjourney.blogspot.com

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