That is not why I stopped to talk to Bill, who owns a vegetable stand at the fruit and vegetable market. I stopped because he gave me an olive.
If this story ended differently, it would make a great movie trailer.
We started chatting because he gave me olives and got super excited when I told him I'm from Texas, as people do. He gave me grapes while we talked about other things in Greece I should do. He handed me a peach as we discussed politics (he thinks Greece's government is bad, likes President Obama, doesn't like President Bush), and he threw the pit away when I'd eaten the entire sweet, juicy orb. He gave me a funky tomato to try as we discussed his life.
He asked what I did for work. I showed him pictures of my dog. He told me the best places to drink and was shocked that I don't drink. He doesn't either; he's Muslim. He's never met anyone else who abstains. He talked about maybe moving to Canada because there were better job opportunities there, and I told him if he ever went to the western United States he should go hiking in southern Utah.
The chat turned into an actual conversation. The other vendors were packing up for the night. He gave me more tomatoes and a cucumber and wouldn't let me pay. And then he asked if I like Indian food, and we had a date.
Yup. Two days in Greece and I have as many dates as I've had in 19 months in Texas, and I had to work way less hard to get it.
Anyway, we had Indian food and talked about marriage (seriously-he brought it up. He's 26 and Muslim. His mother thinks it's time.) and yadda-yadda-yadda we're walking back. I then had to explain what else Mormons famously abstain from. He was horrified. And then he asked I liked him and made me promise to see him tomorrow night.
Well, tried to get a promise, I should say. We had a super awkward define-the-relationship conversation (just kill me now) in which I refused to commit because I'm not spending my last night in Athens with him if there's no future (hello, long distance relationship, I don't think so) and there is a possibility that he doesn't think I'm really that serious about absolutely no sex. Which I thought Muslims believed in too, which is why I didn't consider the produce to be flirting.
Also because I am super dense in the man/relationship department. Somebody help me. And there was the small fact that I didn't want to see him again.
Anyway, while most of the night was fun (he walked away in a huff), I may rethink my "talk to normal Greeks" experiment.
Also today: I climbed a steep hill with a tiny church on top, passed a dog climbing up on my way down, got very lost looking for the National Archaeological Museum, got in trouble for touching a thousand-year-old throne, are a pig-shaped chocolate mousse thing, are a gyro, cursed myself for avoiding them when I saw them in Europe, wondered just what part of the animal made up that cone, found a skirt for 1 euro (it'll breathe better in the heat) and went to a war museum that, just like all the rest, have been disappointing compared to the Imperial War Museum, on which all museums should be based. I also saw a lot of police officers -- like more than 50 throughout the day. Several were collected around what appeared to be a SWAT van. One was guarding something with a gun. Several were watching a group of men standing outside a building. I don't know what it was and how much danger they presented, but just to be safe I stopped and watched for a little while. I didn't want to miss something exciting.