in Greece 2015

Useful advice in tense travel conditions

Trojan Horse cup

Cup from the Trojan Horse restaurant, Bloomington, Indiana

Κατσικοκλέφτη (kat-see-koh-KLEF-tee) – n. goat thief

You’ve heard the phrase, “It’s all Greek to me.” What do the Greeks say, you might ask? “It’s all Chinese to me.”

Bloomingtonians: Chase Bank on the Square has Euros for sale. They were asking $1.18 when the exchange rate was $1.11 the other day. I thought that seemed expensive, so I didn’t get them there. Now I regret it: the Chase branch in NWI requires 2 days to order Euros, and the woman on the phone at a currency exchange at O’Hare quoted me $1.30. And the day I fly out is the Fourth of July — not the best day to find anyone open, let alone a bargain. I should’ve given Bloomington…um, more credit.

The currency exchange at O’Hare couldn’t even guarantee that it could sell me Euros tomorrow. There’s been a run on them from people traveling to Europe this week. This must be what the Chinese curse means by the phrase “interesting times.”

T-minus one day and counting. A visit to my parents in Northwest Indiana, to gather intel on my extensive family in Greece, provisions, and my wits. Mom and Dad list of people whom I should visit, phone numbers and addresses. Mom has all kinds of advice, like don’t put anything in your κολότσεπι (ko-LO-tse-pee; “ass-pocket”), and watch out for pickpockets and κατσικοκλέφτες, by which she means people who will steal every little thing from you, even your goat. “And don’t go like a Λέτσος (LETS-os),” she added, namechecking an obscure Peloponnesian folk character known for his disheveled appearance. I promise her I’ll shave.

PS: Had lunch with my Geography bros at the Trojan Horse before leaving town. It’s an excellent restaurant and a Bloomington staple. But I’m the Greekest thing about the place. Take, for example, this cup, which is well-meaning, but which has…Roman…numerals on it. #unclearontheconcept #whathehellisindatthing #luvuTroHo