Archive for October, 2007

Oct 03 2007

Guess Who’s Back…

Published by under Crete,Greece

It’s currently 3:00 in the afternoon, and we’re sitting in our apartment with the door open to the street. Not five minutes ago, I’m sitting here listening to music and drinking Gerani (carbonated lemonade), blissfully oblivious to the fact that a person is slowly approaching our door. When I saw a shadow in the doorway, I looked up, and found it very hard to believe that I was once again confronted with “TonTon.” How did he find us???

He waved to me, blew a kiss to Brittany, and told us he thought our apartment was a shop. It’s been 36 hours since we saw him last, so I was eager to hear about all of the discoveries he must have unearthed in that time. Sadly, he must be taking a break from the bush, as he had no new archaeological finds to record. However, TonTon is happy to report that he met a nice Rasta girl in a bar last night, and they spent the rest of the evening with their dreadlocks tied together. What Jah has joined together, let no man put asunder?

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Oct 02 2007

The Motleyest Crew

Published by under Crete,Greece

Our last two nights have been spent out on the Hania bar scene, with a new motley crew that was assembled at one of the Scandinavian bars, called “The Point.” Much like “Klik” and “Danza,” “The Point” professes to be the #1 Scandinavian bar in Hania. Did I mention that we make one motley crew?

  • Mike: Russian/Canadian Jewish DJ
  • Sasha: Russian/Canadian doorman at The Point
  • Tom – Danish tourist here on dad’s dime
  • Sandeep – Indian/Danish tourist (this makes for an interesting accent)
  • Nikolaus – Danish owner of The Point (at 22 years old)
  • Kathy – New Jersey resident studying abroad
  • And of course, 2 aimless Virginians

As a Russian/Canadian Jewish DJ, it only makes sense that Mike’s musical specialty is reggae. Sunday night was Reggae Night at The Point, which saw Mike at the turntables, and Sasha passed out on an outdoor couch while being paid to act as doorman.

The Motleyest Crew
Nikolaus, Brittany, Tom, Sandeep, Kathy

The Danes, as it happens, are a very generous people. They buy rounds for the group faster than I can keep up with. If the level of beer in my bottle drops below the neck, Sandeep is at my side, thrusting a new bottle into my hand. Early on, we were politely declining their offers of beverages, but were soon informed that this is a faux pax in Denmark. You must accept this generosity, and simply try to buy your benefactor his or her next drink, if you can ever find breathing room between rounds. I have gotten the distinct impression that the true Danish faux pax is sobriety.

Our new friends love to learn American slang and culture, and I believe we may be successful in spreading “y’all” to Denmark, as well as getting Nikolaus to serve nachos at The Point. We are having far less success in trying to get Sandeep to stop using the n-word. He apparently picked it up from American rap music, and I can’t make him understand why it’s not OK to greet new people with “what up my n_____s!”

Some other border-crossing highlights:

  • All of our new friends delight in saying “How YOU doin?”, which they were proud to tell me is a favorite saying of Joey Tribbiani. Want world peace in 2008? It seems you can’t afford not to elect Matt LeBlanc.
  • If a bar plays music, then Tom and Sandeep are guaranteed to request Haddaway’s “What is Love?” Their SNL-style head-banging is enriched by the fact that they are consistently wearing ridiculous hats and/or wigs. Watch out, ladies!

Reggae Night at The Point must have been a success, because the music attracted one character who I must mention here. Toward the end of last night, a middle-aged Rastafarian sat down next to our group on the balcony. He introduced himself as a traveler who speaks eight different languages, and who gives hugs to people who are of mixed heritage. As an Irish and Korean mix, Kathy was the lucky recipient of the first hug.

I asked his name, and he announced that he has two names: a Danish name, which means “the Viking who must die for his cause,” and a Greek name, which he would not share with me. He then decided that he is known in Venezuela as “TonTon,” which means “crazy,” and that I could call him this. When I told him my name, he fell silent, with a teary, far-off look in his eye. I asked if everything was OK, and he told me that he was going to get a tattoo on his back of a tombstone, inscribed with “coincidence.”

The pensive mood was suddenly broken by his exclamation that he had discovered a pyramind in Sarajevo, older than the Egyptian pyramids. Perhaps sensing my skepticism, TonTon quickly produced photographs from his backpack. The first showed him climbing through some trees in the middle of the night, and he described this as a picture of him “searching through the bush.” Next was a picture of him holding a football-sized rock up to the camera. I asked about the rock, and he explained that the pyramid was inside the rock. He then regaled us with the tale of how he cracked open the rock to discover the pyramid hidden inside. TonTon was not out for money, so he donated the pyramid to the restaurant nearest where he found the rock, and he was pleased to announce that the restaurant was re-named in honor of the discovery.

“TonTon” the World Traveler

I guess even TonTon runs out of things to talk about after a while, as he soon fell silent. I thought that might be the last of him, until he suddenly turned to me, and quietly, began singing Bob Marley lyrics in his most soothing voice. I think this might have continued for the rest of the night, but it was around this time that the bar announced they were closing. As we gathered our belongings, TonTon looked into my eyes and sang a new song. As he walked away, he told me that he was singing a speech from 1977. I called after him that I was too young to remember it. He looked back over his shoulder, one last time, to say, “you’re never too young.”

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