Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Ahlan Wa Sahlan

Friday, February 29, 2008

Why I Hated Greece

I'm bored at work so I'm going to blather about my trip last summer to Greece prior to going to Egypt. I also spent a couple of days in Turkey so I might tag on some stuff about turkeys.

Why Greece? Why now? Probably because I promised all my myspace friends a detailed account of my trip and never produced it. I've now pretty much all but abandoned myspace for blogger, basically because myspace is blocked by my employer and blogger is not. And also because myspace is a bunch of bells and whistles and I can just ramble in blogger. Much like I am doing now.

Back to Greece. I have hated few places in my life, Kaukauna being one of them and most of the places in Greece being the rest of them. Sure, the views were maginificent, the villages quaint and picturesque, the beaches more fabulous than any I had hitherto seen before, and the wild interiors of the islands being small pieces of quiet solitude. If it weren't for the Greek I would have loved Greece.

The fact is that as a group of people the Greek are loud, rude, and arrogant. They think their men are the most handsome, a fact I vigorously deny and in fact saw very few good-looking men in Greece; and their women the most beautiful, if one goes for wrinkly old women with bottle-blonde hair of shades I never imagined could exist, and in such foofed-out quantity, wearing clothing tighter than bathing suits (which would have left more to the imagination) and more make-up than a Revlon counter.

In fact most of their women looked like the cuchi-cuchi girl (with more wrinkles and less plastic surgery):


So besides the eyesores of brightly-colored spandex mini-dresses the women ages 40 and up wore, and the rude men, and the quadruply rude taxi drivers, I had never seen so much public sex in my life. My mom and I, innocently walking down a side street to go to Kerameikos one of the oldest cemetaries in Athens (WAY cool and a definite must-see in Athens, even better than the Parthenon and with way less tourists) we were greeted by a couple making whoopy against a marble wall. They hadn't even tried to hide themselves behind a tree, they chose the most out in the open place to do it.

Then there's the abuse my mom and I both endured, because despite Greece living on tourism they are remarkably rude (can I use this word more to describe Greek people?) and ill-mannered to tourists. As well as practically pillaging their pocketbooks. And they apprently hate Muslims, to combat the abuse I had to remove my hijab for my own safety.

Again I would have loved Greece if the Greek people didn't get in the way. I loved driving their winding, cliff-clinging roads in the tiny but surprisingly maneuverable peugots we rented. If I had had a dime, and the space to attempt it, I probably could have turned those cars on one. I loved crawling along the side of an incredibly picturesque cliff to burst out overlooking a hidden cove beach with a tiny village attached to it.

I also saw my lifetime fill of pasty white, topless and wrinkly, Swedish/German/British women on those beaches. Evidently Greece is to Europe what Cozumel/Acapulco is to the U.S. A cheap place to lay on the beach and tan your private bits.

And probably my most ardent hatred involving Greece and Greek people was the astounding amount of times I was fed pork without realizing it. At least until I had put some in my mouth, to which I immediately detected the essence of pig and spit it out. It ruined my appetite for days at a time. However, often not being able to speak enough English with the waiters or cooks, and not reading Greek, I had to take my chances. By the end of the cruise I was mainly vegetarian.

The cruise my mom and I were on started in Istanbul, which was a massively huge city filled with beautiful buildings, but which, despite having some 11 million people, had only two (count 'em TWO) mosques for women to pray in. The Blue Mosque and the Eyup Sultan Mosque were the only international mosques in the city and therefore the only mosques with areas for women to pray. Clearly "Turkish" mosques are no-woman's land and I would have been struck dead by God, or more accurately beaten down by the men I would have disturbed by my offending presence, if I entered. The look on the taxi driver's face when I told him I wanted to go to this AWESOME and ANCIENT looking mosque on the top of the hill by where my ship was anchored was priceless. I don't think he had ever heard of or considered a woman praying in a mosque like that. What a turkey.

He then expounded on the virtue of a hijabless Turkey where women had the choice to wear it or not. I then asked if his wife worked outside the home, to which he gave me a "what are you effing crazy?" look and answered, "why should she?"

Oh, my, the delicious stupidity of gender inequality. She has the right to wear the hijab or not because "Turkey is a secular European country" but she had better not want to work outside of the home because thats just crazy-talk.

The atmosphere I mainly felt during my two days there was one of utter confusion. Muslim? Secular? European? Asian? I couldn't quite figure it out. It was Turkey. And now that I have been there, I can't say I will ever want to return.

Then the cruise hopped a few of the Greek Islands, which again were WONDERFUL except for those pesky Greek people. My favorite was Mykonos. Go there if you can. Its gorgeous.

Then we crossed the big blue Mediterraneanand landed in Alexandria and spent two days there. Once I had been in Egypt, in the bosom of my then husband-to-be and my best friends there, I was miserable in Greece wanting to be back in Egypt.

I definately recommend seeing Greece but only if the country is devoid of actual Greek people. Because its a beautiful country on its own.

And visit Egypt. Maybe Turkey if you really want to, but if you're a woman don't expect to be able to pray anywhere.

But everyone should visit Egypt. Everyone.

I promise to post pics when I get home.

These pics are all taken by me and my mom and are therefore our property so
if you take them and post them somewhere else give me credit!

The Blue Mosque, Istanbul. A little bit tilted...




Inside the Blue Mosque



The Haga Sofia



The quaint downtown on Mykonos,
the paths were as topsy turvy as Alice in Wonderland.




The interior of Mykonos, perfect peace and solitude




Mykonos again, it was my favorite island



Santorini is overrated, beautiful, but overrated.




Qaitbay Citadel in Alexandria Egypt




Qaitbay Citadel



ZOMG look! Its a pyramid!



Back in Greece (pics are in temporal order), the beaches are truly magnificent



Church next to the Kerameikos Cemetery



A 2,000 year old tombstone WITH THE NAMES STILL ON IT. Too bad I can't read ancient Greek, anyone know what it says?



Someone who died in the Peloponnesian wars.



The Parthenon from the Kerameikos Cemetery

23 comments:

Shabana said...

hehehe, very funny post.

theangrymuslimah said...

Salaam,

Can I go.......lol?

Janene said...

Wow, that certainly deflates a little bit of my enthusiasm for dropping by Greece! Yeah, I have heard similar comments concerning Greece.

Although here in Canada my son had a playdate with a greek boy (whose family recently immigrated). It kinda surprised me that they extended the invitation (since I am obviously not white, not Greek, and have a son with a very Arabic name). So they were nice. The mom made an effort to be friendly with me and make small talk despite the fact she hardly could speak English and had a very thick accent (her young daughter translated on her behalf).

Its refreshing actually to get a brutally honest account of your experience in Greece. There is a really good travel series called "Culture Shock" with authors bluntly describing what to expect if working or living in different countries. No suger coating. Gotta love it.

L_Oman said...

Very interesting!

We're planning to go to Greece and Turkey soon, insha'allaah.

I'll just remember to avoid the locals! HA.

It's fascinating travelling and seeing other cultures and how they operate. You have to really look at things objectively and just enjoy your time in new places and just soak up all the sights mostly.

When we travelled to Thailand, I was eagerly awaiting 'the land of the smiles' or whatever everyone says about it and was pretty shocked at the rudeness encountered. It wasn't until we went up north where it's not so overrun by tourists yet where we got to experience some hospitality.

On one hand, I sort of see how the locals feel. I'm not saying it's ok to be foul and rude, but they get totally invaded by people from all over the world that sort of 'take over' their territory and it's kind of annoying, I'm sure!

As for the x-rated walk in the park - oy. That was way over the top! Ick.

Beautiful pictures, Molly. Really beautiful!

Anonymous said...

haha well in mesa that day we got our nose pierced the van that was parked next to my car was getting it on.
perverts are everything blah

Mona said...

Ha, I was Lol at your description of Greek women...serious..You're gonna get some angry Greek bloggers here Molly!
You can take nice pictures, really beautiful.

Molly said...

Shabana- Thanks! Welcome to my blog! :)

Angry Muslimah- Can you go where? hahaha, you can absolutely feel free to experience the rudeness of greek people first hand. But if you go ANYWHERE on the greek isles I recommend mykonos for solitude or crete for big city and gorgeous beaches. Just bring lube, cuz the prices of things might make you a little sore.

Janene- love the new name ;) greeks on a one on one basis are actually very enthusiastically friendly. Meeting them as peers is a much more equal ground to meet them on. As a group, and with you as a tourist, they become somewhat of a different animal. I also had a greek-american friend during my last semester at the uni who was absolutely awesome and scathingly funny.

Molly said...

LO- I think you're right, I mean its gotta be really annoying to be a normal greek walking around trying not to trip over tourists. But as a person wanting you to pay them to drive you somewhere, rudeness is not appreciated, and while trying to get you to by some of their crap, its definately not a good approach to making a sale. Even the arrogant Parisians were nicer to tourists than the greek were.

Nonetheless, enjoy your trip! May Allah deliver you safe.

Must sees in Turkey? Seriously the mosques there are really cool, if you can get into them. My mom and I were wandering around near the Haga Sofia and we tried to find a bathroom and found one in this little side area from the street. I sat down on a stool and was waiting for her to finish when I realized it was actually an area to make wuduu (the six spigots with complimentary small stool alerted me to that fact) and I eagerly set off to find the mosque. It was proabably the size of a living room, and pretty cool. I have to find the picture I took among the million others we have.

I think theres gotta be a million gems like that lying around. Topkapi Palace was also really neat, and actually has some of the belongings of the Prophet saws. You should make sure to see it.

My recommendations for Greece are Mykonos and Crete. Check the above comment for why. Athens was awesome from the standpoint of being a massively huge city with TONS of cultural stuff laying around. But if you're hijabbed you will probably not get a warm reception. I enjoyed roaming the streets and looking around, but I had to take my hijab off to enjoy it.

Molly said...

Carrie- I love Phoenix but its one of the dirtiest cities Ive been to. Considering I've never been to Las Vegas. lol. I had totally forgotten about that van-nookie incident. I can't wait to see you!!! in a few weeks!!!

But seriously, the valley has the most strip- I mean "Gentlemen's" clubs I've ever seen in my life.

Molly said...

Monita- Thanks dear! Hopefully no sensitive Greek will read it, only those who recognize the truth of observation.

I hope not to many people steal my pics, I was too lazy to try to copywrite or watermark them. Oh well. :D

Anonymous said...

I dunno LA is pretty dirty, so is Detroit & St. Lewis big time. Phoenix is so much pretty compared to them... South of Glendale near Grand Ave. is pretty gross with all of the stip cubs... but in a strange way Grand reminds me of home! lol We have a street in Michigan that goes from Ann Arbor into Detroit called Michigan Ave. and it looks just like Grand! When I get homesick thats where I go LOL

I can't wait for you to come too! Tell me the dates you will be here. Are you staying at Mere's the whole time?
If not just let me know so I can get the guestroom ready. We only have a day bed in there & I think we have an air mattress.

Vanessa Fatima said...

ack. so the pictures are gorgeous, but Greece sounds horrible! and eww to the taxi driver.

Molly said...

Carrie! South Glendale only? What about the line of strip clubs along that street in Tempe? I want to say University on the west side of the 10. But my memory of streets has gotten fuzzy in an amazingly short time. Somewhere over there.

I've never seen so many strip clubs in one city in my life. Hence my reference to never being in LV.

Habibty, I may need to room with you while we're there. I'd be more than happy to bed on your air mattress. With Mer's "houseguest" I don't know if there's enough room for me and mom. She said she'd get the yay or nay from hubby and let me know. I can't WAIT to see you both. Baby bellies!!!! And J too! with her twins. MashAllah on all of you.

Molly said...

VF- The taxi driver was a riot. I have to give him props, when we said we wanted to shop the REAL markets REAL turkish people shop in he did just that. However we found the problem with shopping in real places in countries where you don't speak the language is that... well... we didn't speak the language. It was a good time all around.

But really.. I aslo asked if his wife wore hijab and he gave me another of his "you've got to be effing kidding" looks and said "of course."

Apparently its good enough to have the choice to wear it or not.

As long as they wear it. Or well, any other woman besides his wife doesn't have to wear it.

Laila Hussein said...

Nice Pictures. I am sad you didn't have fun there! I can feel why you were annoyed. I would've been like that, too!

Molly said...

Laila- thanks for the compliment. I feel kind of bad telling people not to go there, but really, they were so rude. I'd never go back willingly now tht I've been.

Anonymous said...

Ok, I will get the room ready then just in case you & your mom need it.

Mere has a big baby bumb! hehe
I don't have a baby bump yet :( But I do have my big belly still lol

ummm what else...

What time are you leaving that Sat. when you go back home?

Molly said...

I am coming the 16th, leaving the 21st. So I won't be there on Sat, you guyses doing something that day?

Oh! and we totally need to have a "whitey's galore" dinner. Too bad UmmJohan is in SD :( But we should def invite J.

mmm. I miss you guys so much. I'm so excited.

Molly said...

And thank you darling.

Anonymous said...

I think she is coming back that week to from SD

Molly said...

NO ARE YOU KIDDING?!?!?!?!?!

how AWESOME would that be? really?

Whiteys galore and their brown husband's club reunion '08.

Rock on!!!!!

Shall it be at the restaurant next to Kawther's shop?

Anonymous said...

yeah or maybe a Bosnian place around the corner :P

Molly said...

bosnian? you mean the sarajevo cafe on thunderbird? its even farther away.

I'm so excited!!!!