Sunday, 7 July 2013

Cafe bar (Καφέ-μπαρ)

When we arrived at the cafe bar, we couldn't see our friends. We looked around at the tables located near the children's play area, where we had once sat the last time we had come to this 'poly-entertainment' centre, so that we could watch them playing on the trampolines. But our friends weren't there. Then we realised that there was much more to the cafe bar than just the children's play area: we discovered seating areas at different levels, indoors and outdoors. The space near the bowling parlour was empty, understandably; the weather was too good to stay inside.

We found them sitting at a large table, chatting with people we did not know. We live in a small town, and yet we don't know everyone in it. We do not even bump into each other occasionally; some of us are neatly tucked away in our own little corners of our own little world.. We only know a certain section of the population, and naturally, we keep company with people who are similar to us; it was instantly obvious that this group of people were not like us.

For a start, they seemed very comfortable sitting around a table at a cafe bar, and not just any cafe bar, but specifically this one. They could not be imagined sitting at the crassier places near the tourist area close to our house. It would be the wrong stratum, despite the fact the our friend's BFF lived on the other side of town, close to us: "Well, I already had a house, " she meowed, "and my mother lives there too, on the ground floor," - purr, purr - "so I couldn't bear the thought of moving up here, even though it is where my husband would prefer to live," she explained.

"MARIA MOU!" my host was screeching (she is well known for her very loud voice), "come and meet Ev-do-XI-a!" There was no need for me and my husband to come and meet Evdoxia; Evdoxia had already been placed before us whether she wanted to meet us or not. Our host had moved to a different table, pulling aside only Evdoxia from the previous one. She came to sit with us, as only a good business person would. Being well versed in public relations, she did not look uncomfortable sitting with the hoi polloi.

Evdoxia had long peroxide hair, which she had had styled in the shape of a 60s bouffant beehive hair-do. Her teeth had been whitened professionally and she wore a long tapered white sundress over her waif-like figure. Around her neck hung a large diamond sea-blue pendant on a silver chain. Her short calculated steps were taken in high-heeled cork platform shoes, which completed the coordinated 60s look. It was like seeing Twiggy sitting before me. I not only felt under-dressed; I knew I was badly dressed. My Primark jeans had that cheap functional look to them, and my crinkly Indian cotton gold-embroidered top looked unironed (it looks unironed even when I do iron it, so I don't usually bother to iron it in the first place). But my outfit choice matched Evdoxia's in that we were dressed in similar period costume.With my flower-power hippie look, straggly split ends to match, we were from opposite ends of the same spectrum.

"I've known this little girl since she was knee-high!" our host proclained as she smothered Evdoxia in her busty embrace. Indeed, Evdoxia still looked like a little girl, not a day older than 25. I couldn't work out what she'd botoxed, as it was done quite discreetly. Evdoxia smiled widely and laughed softly the whole time she sat with us. She showed interest in our names and what my husband did for a living. She did not ask what I did for a living, presumably because she thought I did what she did, which was nothing except to look pretty. (Since I wasn't doing a good job of it, she avoided me the embarrassment of asking.) But she could probably tell that I did my own housework and cooking, which she probably doesn't do, presumably because she has one of the few Filipino maids still working in hania (they're so much less demanding than Albanians, I've been told), her mother lives downstairs, and she is probably spending an awful lot of time preening herself.

I imagined Evdoxia's kitchen to be very clean because waifs don't eat, and if they do, it's probably salad or something from Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook, not the puff pastry delights her husband's multi-million-euro business was producing. But being a high-profile businessman's wife, she probably did have kids - she can't have gotten away with that one - and she was sure to be much older than 25, as our host was 55 herself, and she'd known Evdoxia since she was a teenager. I presumed that her children were bouncing away on the trampolines on the other side of the complex. They would no doubt eventually appear at the table by her side, perhaps when they wanted some granita, ice-cream, crisps, pasta, tourta or soda. Or simply some more money for the games.

Evdoxia politely sat with us for long enough to show solidarity towards the lower classes, after which she got up slowly, shaking my husband's hand (not mine) and bidding us a good evening. She went back to her παρεούλα, right above where we were sitting. The up-theres were now drinking aperitifs in long glasses with multiple straws in various colours and psychedelic umbrellas. We ordered our ice-creams and drinks at the same time that I noticed a large platter of mezedakia making its way to Evdoxia's table. This time, Evdoxia was sucking at a cigarette, and letting out the smoke in an upwards motion by tilting her head back towards us. She now looked in her element - less formal and more open - leaning over the table to have a heart-to-heart chat with another female member of her troupe.

Eventually the troupe's children arrived at the table. The girls were all wearing BFF T-shirts. A chubby early-teen wearing black leggings sat by Evdoxia's side. She looked very much like her mother; her mousy brown hair told of what colour her mother's peroxide roots were. She weighed more than her mother, presumably because she was eating her dad's puff pastry delights.

Just as we were finishing off our ice-creams, a plate of something that looked like a deconstructed ekmek arrived at our table. The shredded pastry rounds were delicately filled with walnuts and very lightly doused in syrup. The arrangement was plated beautifully with little balls of ice-cream around it, chocolate sauce drizzled over it in fancy patterns, and puffs of whipped cream in the corners of the plate.

"Κερασμένο από την κα. Ευδοξία," the waiter said, and we all looked in the direction of Evdoxia's table. Our host picked up her coffee glass and swung it high in the air in Evdoxia's direction. But Evdoxia didn't notice, as she was obviously engrossed in the conversation taking place at her own table. She was sitting right behind us, so she had her back to us and couldn't have seen the arrival of her κέρασμα. The desert looked and felt just like Evdoxia - light and fluffy, airy and breezy. As it melted in our mouths, it left behind the rather heavy feeling you get when you've had too much of a good thing. We were having ice-cream followed by ice-cream. There is definitely a moment when it actually feels too much.

I am so annoyed I forgot to take a photo of the ekmek ice cream dessert. You will have to be content with my description; at the same time, you need to use your imagination.  

PS: Time for a blogging break (because I am really really busy with 'real' work). See you later...

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1 comment:

  1. Great post! You have illustrated the character of a certain class of Greeks (and dare I say Greek-Americans).

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