October 26, 2009

The Virgin Traveler: Mama Greece

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All we needed was a little direction. Which way was this hotel? Our original plan for a hotel was not working out and we had wandered to a nearby cafe to use wifi and do a little research. We wanted to look at a hostel-type place that we thought was close. "Can you help us?" I asked Tito, the chef, who had just finished explaining to us about his snobby sister in the USA and how the little man (George Bush) had made the economy bad and how Obama was going to save the world. "Is this close to us?"

"You need rooms? You need place to stay?" Crap. "We give you place to stay for cheap and better."

"We just want to look at this place. Is it near us?"

"We give you room. I talk to owner. He give you room for good price." Tito disappeared and we tried to figure out the map.

The owner, with shoulder-length curly hair, pulled back into a ponytail, his off-white button down shirt hanging from his little round paunch over his blue jeans, approached us quickly. "You need room? You stay with Mama Greece. I call her already. She come over and show you the room. You stay like queens. Two rooms!" Mama Greece. How could we not meet Mama Greece. We relented to the bombardment.

She pulled up in a silver hatchback, a cigarette dangling from her mouth, her gray and blonde curly hair pinned back loosely with bobby pins. She motioned for us to come with her. "My place in the middle of paradise! You live like queens in my place!" We opened the door to her car, scarred by ripped out stereo speakers, giant holes gaping just below the inside door handle, and climbed in.

She sat in the driver's seat, her tank top cut low in the back, revealing pockmarks and a black bra that was half unhooked. She rattled on about paradise and living like queens as we drove less than a mile to her palace.

By middle of paradise, Mama Greece must have meant a travel agency and a rent-a-car place. She continued to tell us how we would be living like queens as she showed us the stained kitchen counter with dirty dishes on it in a Vanna-White style swish of her wrinkled arm, cigarette in her fingers.

We smiled politely and told her we'd get back to her after we negotiated out of our reservation at our current hotel. She drove us back to her son's restaurant in awkward silence and as we promised her we'd call her if it worked out, we mentally promised ourselves that we would avoid that part of town from then on. We finally found our new hotel that was less dumpy than our original one AND Mama Greece's place. Relief!


Sara said...

This story cracks me up. Of course, you have to stick around to meet this woman and then check out the palace. I have only been offered housing twice during my travels. Both times the offers came before I was even off the train platform. Sadly, for the sake of great travel stories, they were both fabulous and cheap.

Jon said...

Awesome. That reminds me of when we went back with my sister to visit her mission in Louisiana when I was in high school. We visited this woman in a small town on the bayou called Cutoff and she was like Mama Greece, but from the south. She insisted we stay for crawdads and that we stay in her camper in her backyard instead of the motel. I remember starting to sweat and praying that my parents wouldn't take her up on the offer. The motel ended up being probably only slightly better than the camper.

amberJ said...

Oh GEEEEEEZ! I can't stop laughing. I'm so glad I read this today. I loved our Mama Greece experience. What an adventure it was. This totally made my day!!