Europe | Netherlands | Amsterdam – Amsterdam, My Big Fat Greek Dinner
This is from my 2003 travelogue for those of you who missed it…
I decided to walk around Amsterdam to find a restaurant last night. Im used to finding an interesting spot on my own. It’s Monday night, not much is happening. But…I found this authentic greek place down a quiet side street that was packed full of greeks. ‘My Big Fat Greek Wedding’ immediately came to mind, I figured it would be an entertaining evening.
I sat down, the owner and his two middle aged greek friends are sitting at the table next to me. They force me to join them, I have nothing else to do and Im here to experience new things. They spoke greek, some english, hands were flying while they talked. The appetizers kept coming; stuffed small peppers with feta, fried herring, greek cheese, greek olives, tomatoes with garlic and cucumbers, etc. Ouzo (a black licorice liquor), wine, they are stuffing me. I am tiny, I need more food. Then the main course; goat with potatoes prepared like a big pot roast. I don’t think it’s humanly possible to eat as much as I did. Bloat is an understatement at this point.
The greek musicians have started singing and playing their guitar-like instruments, the place has filled up, all greek men. Carmine from the Sopranos is at the table across from me with his dirty greek crew giving me the eye. The owner, Angelo, is 5’4′ (by the way he walks he thinks he’s closer to 6′) tight black t shirt hugging his belly, he adjusts his package, starts clapping his hands yelling ‘hopa!!’ (‘be happy’), then gets up and starts dancing. How did I get here anyway?? More hopa’s, clapping, snapping, dancing, one table raises their glass to another from across the room, ‘yamas’ (cheers). ‘Hopa!’ You have to talk very loudly to be heard over all the noise.
Then the 60 year old Israeli friend walks in, ‘Sammy’, in suit and tie. He speaks nine languages and parks himself next to me. No shock, Im the only female in the place and his only other option is middle aged fat greek men with scary polyester shirts. We talk about politics and the American/Israeli allegiance. He tells me that I am beautiful and I must come home with him, tonight. I laugh. He says, No, you MUST have dinner with me tomorrow then. I laugh even harder. Two attractive women in their 30’s come in and go to a table in the back, my escape route. Angelo introduces me to his “girlfriend”, the one with the dark black make up. She is Romanian and doesnt ‘work’. Her friend is from Bulgaria, she doesnt ‘work’ either but her boyfriend isnt around tonight. I excuse myself for a ‘work call’ in the US.
I waddle to my hotel and after going to bed, I wake up, get horridly sick to my stomach followed by projectile vomiting. I took a tram, train, and bus to work while feeling like a bomb went off in my gut. Welcome to Holland.