Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All That Glitters Is Rock

The Wife, Ph.D., and I spent nearly ten years in the United States of Their America. During our time across the pond, The Wife, Ph.D., slowly but surely fell victim to capitalism, consumerism, marketing, advertising and all of their treacherous relatives: Crate & Barrel, DSW, Starbucks, the GAP, Arden B., Bebe, Whole Foods, BCBG, Godiva Chocolatier, Hallmark, Target, Marshalls, Macy's, Barnes & Noble, Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue, World Market, Victoria's Secret, Nordstrom, the Container Store, People Magazine, US Weekly, The Today Show, yadda, yadda, and (damn) yadda. She didn't care much for Banana Republic but that's only because she ended up sharing a bed with one of its fine citizens and realized there's not much there to prey upon. In any case, she took to shopping like a newborn sucks on a tit. Little by little, from all the credit card swiping and fondling of greenbacks, a fondness passion for the All-American holidays sprouted.

So now we are on The Rock and every last weekend in November we throw a belated Thanksgiving dinner soiree. I spend hours upon hours in the kitchen roasting an apricot-glazed ham and a citrus turkey, mashing potatoes, boiling rice for a Middle Eastern-inspired stuffing and steaming Brussels sprouts or broccoli or asparagus or green beans. The Wife, Ph.D., prepares cheddar biscuits and fresh cranberry sauce. My Zolpidem Supplier and Ms. Wella The Greek (who we fly in each year from Athens) repeatedly fail in their attempt to make a decent pumpkin or pecan pie. We say grace in Greek and listen to a Pottery Barn's Christmas CD and drink Moscato d'Asti (at 4.5% alcohol a Godsend) and smoke Cuban Montecristo cigarrillos and put up a fake plastic tree with run-of-the-mill ornaments and a scraggly stream of unevenly blinking lights. Yes, "transculturalism" is a bitch.

This year, lost in thought somewhere between my fifth glass of Moscato' d'Asti, my fourth glass of Maratheftiko and a glass of Cazadores tequila neat, I decided to give thanks to The Rock. For what, you ask? Well, so it goes.

...halloumi and wine-soaked sausages, flaounes and savouries, seafood, Xynisteri, Maratheftiko and Commandaria wines, reckless and inconsiderate drivers who keep your instincts sharp, construction workers belting songs of melancholy while plastering walls, blue skies and waters and the heat that follows them around, the painted churches of Troodos, loud yet supportive family, fancy friends, the inability to go on a diet, immigrants enlivening the capital's homogeneous streets, winding mountain roads and picturesque villages, Limassol's nightlife and restaurants, deliciously wasteful taverns, football and tennis galore, an exciting proximity to the Middle East, leftist and conservative political parties duking it out in soccer stadiums like immature children, the "border" as an anthropologist's dream, a peasant dialect of Greek, zeibekiko, Plato's Bar, a different kind of coffee culture, my students, the fact that the Cypriot thinks he or she is always right, The Rock as the center of the universe, religious syncretism, not taking water for granted, posh girls wearing make-up to the beach, Cat Stevens and Marcos Baghdatis, Easter Sunday, feral cats of all shades and sizes, the moufflon, low levels of crime, the Protaras beach house, reading on my balcony beer in hand, not really fitting in, the pool of money that exchanges hands every weekend via multitudinous weddings and baptisms, long bike rides led by amateur triathletes, neighborhood gossip, the paparazzi chasing around people who (when push comes to shove) aren't really famous,...and The Wife, Ph.D.

2008 Aes Ambelis "Omiros" Maratheftiko - Deep crimson/purple color exactly like one coat of Tbisili Is My Capital's nail polish or Ms. Wella The Greek's hair. Very promising bouquet of dark forest fruits, blackberries, dried figs, vanilla, dark chocolate and a touch of oak. Flabby as it first hits your mouth with a plummy and peppery mid-palate and a quite sour (like unripened fruit) and off-putting finish. Double Trouble, a consummate red wine drinker, took a sip, made a face and switched back to the Moscato d'Asti. The wine did soften up as it sat in the decanter and was consumed with the feast. 85/100.

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