I’m in Athens for a few days by myself waiting to start a group trip with a bunch of Americans island hopping. I’m curious about Athens and can’t imagine coming to Greece and not explore the birth place of democracy. However I wonder the streets at night wondering why I thought I could do this part of the trip alone. I eat in amazing open air cafes, explore raves at beach clubs and smoke shisha with Arabs. The shisha place is the only venue that has good hip hop. Despite my efforts to discover the soul of the city, I always end the night at a speakeasy style cocktail bar around the corner from my hotel in Plaka….the ancient center with a view of the Achropolis romantically lit up at night on a tall hill. Third night in a row, the mixologist already knows my drink as a pull out the high bar seat. I lovingly gaze at him as he slaps mint springs into his palm gently rubbing them on the rim of the glass. He adds a squirt of fresh lime and precisely measures out a shot of simple syrup. He smells the orange juice and adds an exact amount and then fills the shaker halfway with premium vodka. He pulls out his long spoon and carefully stirs the cocktail to perfection. Its like watching Leonardo paint the Monelisa. I imagine he has a six pack under his dress shirt. He wears a leather vest of straps that fasten around his muscular torso with medal rings in the back. The dress shirt and slacks lay perfectly on his toned body, his well groomed beard short enough to see his ruggedly handsome face.
I smile as he gives me the delicious cocktail feeling at home for the first time in days. The DJ plays dance music and I take a video trying to capture the moment. An attractive skinny young Greek girl dancing with her friends next to me kisses me as she sees me recording the video. I beautiful girl just kissed me I think! She asks, “Are you here alone.” I nod yes. She says, “Ok, you are with us tonight.” We dance with everyone in the bar and take shots with the bartender who is friends with the group. We connect on social media and promise to be friends forever. I gaze into the mixologist eyes thinking I respect your art form and I’m a dedicated supporter. Your fine cocktails are a faithful companion in this far away land.