Our adventure in Greece began with a bottle of wine and a tub of tzatziki (as it probably should). Our Airbnb host was a Greek Orthodox priest, who evidently had no need for a corkscrew. Instead of doing the reasonable thing and walking down the street half a block to buy one, we hacked the bottle open with a creative combination of kitchen knife, screw driver, pen, pliers, and desperation. Once the haggard cork was landed in the bottom of the fruity red, it was time to bust open the carton of tzatziki. Jakob had a genuine conversion experience when he realized that he actually didn’t hate creamy cucumber dip soaked in garlic and together we finished the carton in no more than seven minutes.
Happily full of wine and tzatziki, and exhausted after our uneventful day of wandering ancient Athens, I declared that I was going to take a bath. Oh how naive. I returned a few moments later reporting that there was only ice running in those pipes, and no bath could be had. Jakob, the eternal optimist, maintained that there was a way. So the kitchen kettle was filled and two pots were set on the small hot plates. A slow paced water relay began, as we took turns dumping the boiled contents into the icy half filled tub.
Twenty minutes into the endeavor I returned with a scientific assessment of the situation: The temperature is improving, but the water levels are dropping. I think it’s time to abort the mission. Jakob was not to be deterred. I returned to the cold tiled bathroom to find the rust coloured water was tinged even more red.
“What did you do, plug it with your own blood?”
“Nah, just a red wash cloth.”
I looked down at the opaque water wondering if it even had any cleaning properties. Regardless, I chose to believe in that moment, that the water we were drinking from the kitchen tap was not coming from the same source as the orangey brown liquid filling the bath.
The water relay continued with renewed vigour, and within another twenty minutes, I was sitting in the meagerest bath I’ve taken since I was seven years old and my water conscious parents were in charge of the faucet.
If the goal was getting my hair clean, then Project Icy Rust Bath was a moderate success. If the goal was to have a unique experience in the carefully curated tourist trap of Athens, then it was a laureled victory.