Friday 10.8.10

George is a Salesman.

We were in Greece. We had just finished dinner and decided to take a walk into the tourist shopping area in Olympia. I should probably set this up better…

We had visited Olympia – the place where the Olympic Games originated… not to be confused with the Pythian Games, which were held in Delphi. We learned all kinds of interesting things. Seems that there were certainly a lot of naked dudes back in those days. All of the participants did so nude which raised questions about what these guys did with their junk while running a race or wrestling. Seems as though a string was used to keep things from wagging and some sort of leather thong was worn while wrestling. So, the story goes that the g-string and the Thong were both invented in Greece. The entrance to the Olympia ruins was only a couple of blocks from our hotel in the town of Olympia. When we arrived at our meeting point we found that our tour guide had already given instructions to half of the group and sent them to the hotel – now it was our turn to hear that the hotel would be slightly “modest.” In fact, it really was not so bad. It had the regular Greek stuff… a balcony and a couple of rock hard beds. Sometimes when we would check into these hotels we would get lucky and wind up with a lovely view of some mountain scene. If we were on the other side of the building we were sometimes faced with something less spectacular – like a chicken yard.

This view shows a tiny bit of our balcony, the street below and then the yard full of chickens across the street. Roosters were crowing into the evening.

This is the view directly across from our room…

The hotel restaurant had a very nice buffet dinner for us. After, we decided to take a walk into the touristy shopping area and see if we could find an internet cafe to update people back home. The street nice with the usual amount of evening shoppers along with the same stuff we had seen all over the rest of Greece. These people must have a sales kick-off meeting or something early in the year to determine which exactly-the-same-stuff everyone will be selling this season. I had just commented that I thought it was odd that no one had tried to put the squeeze on us to come into their store when some kind of dressed up guy approached us, said hello and asked us where we were from. Not to confuse anyone, we replied USA, near Chicago (figuring this was close enough and in the general location of the US). With that, some other guy jumped in all excited and said “USA?!!?, Come here! I have something to show you!” This guy was kind of short and looked like a messed up version of the guy from “Columbo.” He ran behind a counter and grabbed a post card, came back to us and signed his name on it and handed it to us. His name was George and he had participated in the torch lighting ceremony there in Olympia some years ago. I’m still not clear on whether or not he was actually in the US at any time.

Notice that they sell “Atiques.”

George had signed his name and circled a picture of himself in the photo. He then turned us over to his sister “who would now sell us some jewelry – 40% off” or something like that. So… we had been bounced from the first guy to George and then to the sister. Yes, jewelry was purchased. We also found out later that sometimes there is a nephew who signs “George” on the card when George is not available. We also discovered that there was a time when George would circle the guy in the center until someone in the community called him on it. When asking the sister if there was an internet cafe around anywhere, she walked us down to the corner and pointed us down a dark street to a little lighted yellow sign… “that is my Nephew, he has internet cafe.”

When paying for the jewelry George said that paying with a card would be “no problem.” Then, he asked for cash. He wound up taking the card though. Seems that the cash deal helps in avoiding some Greek sales taxes for George.

I had to give this group credit. They went above and beyond the average old guy sitting on a stool in front of a business. They had drama and flair and really made you feel as if they had actually gone to some effort and put some planning and energy into their scheme to sucker you into buying the same crap you can find in any one of these tourist areas. George is a salesman.

In the morning as I was writing this down, the roosters next to our room started crowing at 5:24am. Neato.


More trip photos here.

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