This article is part of the The Great American Reach Around series.


Master Gamawa
Athens, Greece

How to make your own Athens: First find a nice dry and rocky plain between some mountains and the sea. Pour cement in, let it dry and add five million people. Cook under a hot sun until the century turns, while adding cars constantly and stirring with a crooked political spoon. Let it roast and swell with ethnic pride and sparkle some European flavors and oriental spices on top. It is important to let the city cook in its own juices because it tastes like the food your mom used to make.

NOW EAT IT! Eat my Athens!

Greece is located in the crossroad between east and west like a spicy kebab cheeseburger. Athens is the center of Greece and half of the population of this country lives here, in gray 5 story blocks of flats. Greece is a nice country indeed, but is unfortunately, infested with proud, loud, lazy and arrogant but kind hearted Greeks, guided into mediocrity by families of spineless politicians. But we have very good food and decent places to go on vacation.

Greek kids are brought up as Orthodox Christians and go to school for 12 years. Greek schools are nothing like American schools. A school day lasts around 6 hours and then kids go home to eat lunch with their families and study and that is GOOD! It strengthens the bonds! Greek schools know nothing about cheerleaders, prom nights, jocks and greasy gun slinging trench coat nerds. Teen medical conditions like Asperger's syndrome, Bipolar Disorder and ADHD are unheard of here, mostly because we are not very good at pronouncing them. We do not feed our kids medicine. We prefer the old guilt trip "Why are you doing this to your mother Stavros? Your mother is crying because you don't study for school! Have you no shame?" It works, I swear!

Near the end of school years, Greek kids are getting ready to take the Pan-Hellenic exams that will allow them to get into a Greek University or go to the Army for a year due to an inexplicable fear of war we have installed in us, after having gone through many wars with everyone around us. It is a total waste of time but also a very interesting experience.

Greeks live with their parents till their early thirties. Ha ha, laugh all you want! We do that because the minimum Greek wage is around 700 euros (900 USD). Renting a half-decent house costs half of that. Try living with 400 dollars per month you silly American! Now I laugh at YOO! We also do that because we are lazy and we like having someone cook and clean for us. THANKS MOM!

The nation's favorite hobby is drinking coffee. We like to sit in (or outside of) "coffee bars" for hours, smoking and brandishing our cell phones and trendy sun glasses. I cannot really explain that, I am sorry. It's kind of therapeutic though. When a Greek dude asks a girl out it's always for coffee.
In the late hours of the night most Greeks like to go to the live music clubs.

To understand what those clubs are, imagine a place that looks like an expensive restaurant with a stage. The best selling Greek artists (like Madonna, if we had one) perform there almost every other night and the raving audience spends money to throw flowers on them and dance like women wearing their most expensive clothes. This is my chance to say that Greeks are apparently unable to get rid of the ancient paganism and weird rituals, no matter how hard Christianity tried and that reflects on the entertainment industry. The music sounds something like a whiney, operatic, oriental, epic, power-pop shit fuck dumb - I hate this music sorry. It's surreal. Fuck Greek pop music! There I said it. In fact fuck the Greek television, cinema and art in general.

Bars in Athens don't close until early in the morning. Going straight to work, after a night out, on a week day, with your eyes looking like the anus of a horse, is fairly common and explains why our economy sucks balls. Football is pretty big here too. We are also known as the Rock and Roll Elephant Cemetery. Most bands you Americans laugh at visit Greece for a quick buck. Heavy Metal is still going strong here.

A quick word about Greek public services, transportation and social services: They are always malfunctioning in some way. DO NOT TRUST THEM!

Greece is a nice, chilled and safe place though. Curfews make us laugh. Gangs with fancy names? No sir. Random crime? Not really, unless you like to walk alone in dark places. Juggalos, frat boys, emo kids and otaku basement dwellers? Not yet (we have "anarchists" and "communists" though). How about suburban kids being stupid and violent? We do not do that. Bored, rich, suburban kids here, drink coffee and show off their money, cell phones and cars. These bad things come from America and scare us, mostly because we KNOW that eventually we will do that shit too.

All in all we tend to 'say' we hate America because that's what the whole world does right now. It's trendy. It shows you have a heart and a soul. It shows sensitivity. It shows you are not a cold hearted, capitalist bastard that hates babies. But we watch American movies and love American music and products. We sometimes even "think American", whatever that means. The truth is that we don't really mind. If you ask us, we will rant for ages and go all political on yo' ass. But in the end we just prefer to sit on our hairy asses, drinking cold Frappe coffee, smoking and chatting for hours under the greek sun.

Greeks really are not that hairy and I assure you we don't like to have sex with boys. This joke has gone far enough! Also, obligatory "This is NOT Sparta!" It IS madness though and you will get used to it.


Madness, perhaps, but blasphemy? Probably best not to ask Greece's old rival Turkey. It's a country with one foot in the West and the other in the East. Let's board the airplane of our minds at imagination station and fly next to Ankara, Turkey!

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