Monday, 13 August 2012
Sitting outside the Mythos we watch this young guy and his wife turn up. The guy is tall, well-built and has a somewhat intense air. Although smartly turned out he is not festooned in designer labels. Like a rocket, Dimitris is out of his seat and talking them through the menu. They thank him then wander off towards Republicii to check out the other cafes and restaurants.
Fifteen minutes later they’re back and tucking into souvlaki. The guy is called Bob and tells us this is the best Greek food he’s ever had. I mean it, he says speaking in an accent I can’t quite place. American...? No, Bob explains he’s Romanian but after the collapse of communism trekked two hundred and fifty kilometres to Italy, spent three years working there before heading to LA. Now he’s managing a successful construction company – cards are exchanged – and has come back to visit his country of origin. Although modest Bob is very proud of where he lives in LA: its ethic of hard work, reward and opportunity; the fact just about every kind of food from around the world is only a few minute's walk away.
Bob knew a ninety-seven year old Englishman out in LA (did some work on his house). He will never forget the Englishman’s unfailing kindness, politeness and fairness and, as a result, is particularly keen on talking to me. I admire what Bob has achieved and tell him so. Bob, Dimitris and I cut the breeze. Bob gives us a small bottle of palinka, a sort of clear brandy made from fruit. Dimitris and I quickly down it. Very nice. Salud! Dimitris reciprocates by getting out his trusty bottle of ouzo – the one with the classical Greek goddess, wearing a miniskirt, on the label. I reciprocate by buying a round of Silva.
When it is time for Bob to leave we shake hands. He has a firm handshake, the kind of handshake that you would seal a deal on; that makes a signed contract seem very much a formality.