Sent Saturday 13 April 2002 from Samos
Υια σας, my friends!
I've got to start this e-mail with some bad news: unfortunately, I've only got about half an hour in this internet cafe, so this will result in a consequent reduction in your reading pleasure. I know, I know. I feel your pain.
Last e-mail I sent was from Dave's loungeroom/our bedroom and, thanks to the excessive consumption of Guinness that had been enforced by the Irish government on unsuspecting Australians, I completely forgot about some of the events that had been occurring immediately prior to writing that e-mail. So a quick (for me) re-cap.
St Paddy's Day was great, of course, and I mentioned that Ronni had done a great job as parade director. Since she WAS parade director, and we were staying with her and Dave, we of course assumed that many a privilege would be ours and that we would be entitled to rort the system for all it was worth. Is that so wrong? We at least assumed that we would have access to an excellent place from which to view the parade. And we told everyone so.
As it was, we basically got to watch the parade from a place that the parade director's boyfriend said might be OK, before he ran off to take photos and help a hyperventilating Ronni like a good little paparazzi boyfriend should. Nonetheless, the parade was great and the place that the parade director's boyfriend said might be OK was great as well. It just meant that I had to lie to everyone and tell them that I was in the parade and I rocked.
Immediately after the parade, we went to find a pub so as to sip Guinness (for tradition's sake, you'll understand). The pub we managed to find was called "Out on the Liffey". After we walked in and ordered our pints, we noticed that something was amiss in the Out on the Liffey. Then it hit me: there were no fire escapes!! We said "Enjoy your death-trap, gentlemen" to all of the men who were sitting in pairs throughout the pub and left, meeting up with Dave and co. who had reserved a possie in a less-dangerous pub that also had women in it. Caught up with Mick and Brenda, Hilda and her mate, Lisa and Duff, Andrew and Tracy and, of course, the woman of the moment, man-of-the-match, Ronni. And Arthur Guinness.
Some stuff happened and then the next day was Dave's birthday. Started at the pub with Dave and Mick around 2pm and about 12 hours and four pubs later Dave burst into his rallying cry of "All right - back to my place". We stumbled outside and noticed a stretch limousine directly outside the bar. Everyone was wondering who could be in the car - could it be someone famous, who would invite us back to his or her mansion to frolic with bikini girls as would happen in any decent Hollywood movie? I resolved to find out and approached the car, knocked on the window and yelled politely to whoever was inside "EXCUSE ME, ARE YOU FAMOUS?!?!" Some young ladies got out of the car but they mustn't have heard me when I cornered them and asked "Who are you - are YOU famous?", as they didn't answer. Then possibly one of the oldest men alive exited the car and raised his arms in victory to throng of curious bystanders (me) and gawping yokels (everyone else). It was Ronnie Woods, from the Rolling Stones!! Dave's mate, Tully, immediately recognised him and called out to him: "Keith, Keith!!" Ronnie Woods had the good grace to saunter over to us and give some of his valuable time to his fans, especially Tully, who expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to talk to Keith. Then Ronnie went into the bar we'd just left and Dave got a photo of him and Ronnie's chauffeur. It was quite an evening, I don't think Ronnie will forget it!
A few days later, we hired a car and traveled around the beautiful countryside of Ireland. Some other stuff happened, most of which I have forgotten. Kissed the Blarney Stone, though my attempt to wipe it with my sleeve before kissing it wasn't appreciated by the professional person-holder at the top. Got really lost in mountains in the middle of Kerry's Ring, that is, the Ring of Kerry. Also travelled around Dingle's Ring, jumped a bridge in a our car to make it onto the ferry across the Shannon Dukes-of-Hazard-style, checked some prehistoric stuff in the Burren and fought with Tully in Galway after drinking far too much rum, resulting in a large yellowy-purple bruise on my arm and still-sore shoulder, a cut above Dave's eye and a possibly fractured nose for Tully. That'll learn us...
The 26th, the last day of our road trip, was my birthday (thanks to those of you who sent birthday wishes and Adrian - sorry, the answer is "No" (and you're already married)). Woke up on the morning of turning, gulp, 29, and felt pretty sore all over. Not fighting on Tully's floor at 5 in the morning sore, but weary old aches and pains sore. As we got closer to Dublin, I developed a very deep cough and then a fever. We weren't able to go out that night as planned (though Dave's friends came around and visited, 'cause Dave likes nice people) because I basically fell apart as soon as I turned 29. It's all over.
Tasha and I also bought a digital camera while in Ireland with the engagement money that a bunch of ya's contributed at our engagement party last year. So, thanks heaps to everyone for the camera. As soon as we learn how to use it, we can send you pikkies and maybe chuck 'em on the web for eternity (at least until computers take over the world like in Terminator - I don't think we'll be able to use the internet after that).
We then bade a teary farewell to Dave and Ronni and caught a plane to London, and then a plane to Greece the following day (thanks to Tori for the use of your place and mailbox).Greece is cool. Athens is not. Not sure how familiar many of you are with Lonely Planet's, but virtually everyone says that all the people in (whichever country) speak English, but they'll appreciate it if you speak a bit of (whichever country's) language. I don't know what motive they have for making this up, but most countries we've gone to, not many people have spoken English, meaning we have to rely on my very patchy language skills which don't seem that appreciated at all.
That is, until we came to Greece. Virtually everyone speaks very good English, but they love it when we launch into a bit of Ellenika. Yesterday we got some free bread, I think coz I counted from one to ten in Greek (and the girl fancied me).
I think I've gone over half an hour. Only in Athens for one night, thank god. Caught a ferry to Santorini, where it rained a bit and didn't seem at all like the postcards. Got better, caught a ferry to Naxos - excellent island. Then, on a whim after talking to a kiwi girl who said she was catching the once-a-week-ferry to Rhodes the next day, went to Rhodes. Got ourselves a gang, and though this one had no Gabby's, it wasn't a No-Gabby gang. There was us, the kiwi, another girl from Australia who was studying Ancient Greek (handy), two girls from California (via Hungary and the Ukraine) and an older couple also from California (we met them on Santorini when the bus driver of the bus we were on dropped us off next to a bakery in the middle of nowhere and said "I leave you here, you catch the next bus" - the next bus roared past us about 5 minutes later, meaning we had to catch the following bus two hours later - we think the bus driver owns shares in the bakery...) The eight of us went out that night and verily it was good and there was no wailing or gnashing of teeth.
All righty, sorry this wasn't short OR funny (much like Martin Short). Next time I'll promise similar things...
Thanks to everyone for your e-mails and take care and love your work and catch ya soon!
love the rilestar
PS The title to this e-mail ("Ολα ελλινικα ειναι υια με") means"It's all Greek to me" in Greek. It's really quite clever.