Monday, 26 October 2009

My weekend away (part 1)

I just got back from a long weekend away in Athens! I had to go to a wedding on Saturday night and I’m so glad I did. Even if you go away for a small period of time, just the change of surroundings can be so uplifting and refreshing.

The wedding itself was nice, not something way too enjoyable but a little bit boring (as expected). I was a guest from the bride’s side. I know her sister very well (and was invited by her) but I’ve met the bride only a few times. I think that she’s a very lovely person but I don’t know her that well to feel too attached to the event and that happy for her. I’m happy that I was invited and that I attended the event, anyway…

The highlight of my visit to Athens though was the night out that followed the wedding!

Let’s start from the beginning though: In Athens I stayed at one of my oldest and dearest friends. I know her for more than a dozen of years now (I am sorry to count). I don’t know if I can use the term ‘fag hag’ but she’s the one that I’ve been dragging to gay places with me (unfortunately she’s not the only one being ‘tortured’ like that) for some years.

Lately, she met some people that know some people (isn’t that always the case?) and we were invited to a bar in Athens in one of the not-so-nice areas (the red district). The name of the bar can be translated as ‘Dolls’ (‘Κούκλες’) and it’s one of the oldest drag-queen bars in the country. I’m not that accustomed to the scene and it was quite an experience going there, especially being in Greece.

More than a half of the clientele were transvestites and I do believe that the vast majority was regular customers (everybody knew everyone). From the outside the bar looked like one of the places I would never go inside (old, dirty and of course windowless). However the inside was, let’s say, extravagant. The decoration theme can be described as ‘sparkling’ and ‘fluffy’. There were way too many pink fluffy pillows, fake diamonds and disco balls. Most girls were higher and bigger than me, that made them look a bit intimidating (I knew that I could never win in a fight) but very friendly and pleasant.

We met ‘Hope’ that was working by day in the Ministry of Health and was a part time prostitute by night (I didn’t ask too many questions – the less information you know sometimes, the better it is). We also met ‘Anna’, the bartender that apparently liked us, treated us a couple of tequila shots and told us that we should get together at some point to have dinner together (I later found out that she’s running a brothel as well).

At some point the show started and it was wonderful! There were 5 girls performing. We saw great artists like ‘Abba’ (of course), ‘Amy Winehouse’, ‘Liza Minelli’, ‘Shakira, ‘Lady Gaga’ etc. The most fun was when they were performing older Greek singers. The imitation of the movements and styles were absolutely amazing. It was so much fun! You could see that most of the costumes were handmade and the effort they put to create them, even if not perfect. It was a bit fake glamorous and decadent but in a very cute kind of way.

Overall, at ‘Dolls’ I had an amazing time. We didn’t stay long and we left after the end of the show to go dancing (story yet to follow). That was the closest I’ve ever been to this part of an underground (mostly illegal and dangerous) world of people that live their lives only during the night, acquiring different names and living by different rules. Some aspects of this life make me feel very sad and I really do believe that this glimpse I got is enough for me. However, I cannot but feel admiration for this kind of people that live their lives liberated from conventional society rules and express themselves in the way that they want to.

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