Tuesday, July 11, 2006

chocolate or not

When I first drove into Kissamous, I saw a chocolate shop complete with clean windows, golden letters "Chocolat", and neat rows of candies on display. I immediately thought several things:

--there's a place with air conditioning
--ah the smell of chocolate
--note that location for a future visit

We drove through town a couple of times when the shop was closed. Today the weather was bad--too windy for the beach. So we decided to walk through town--all 500 feet of it. I remembered the chocolate shop and said we should go take a look. There it was, clean and freshly painted (a rarity here). Ah, I could feel my mouth watering as I approached the store.

Then I opened the door.

Here I was expecting the delicious smell of dark and milk chocolates, creams and fillings, even the taint of a cherry or strawberry that's recently been dipped.

Alas, no.

Instead, I smell smoke. I'm not kidding. You could not smell any chocolate over the stench of cigarettes. Talk about one of the most depressing sensations around. I got sick to my stomach, and yet I stood there dumbfounded. This looks like a chocolate store. There are all the candies in neat little white and brown wrappers. There's some torte and cake there. And look, there's some with pink and white dots like candy hats on the dainty bites! But this smell. This is all wrong. I can't breathe. Have I been in Greece so long and stuck in smoke-filled bars for so long that I can no longer savour the smell of chocolate?

I turned to Terry and he said, "oh." That's it. Oh. Oh my. Oh yuck. Oh no. Oh, this doesn't compute!

I know I'm sounding like a one- or two-issue person (cigarettes and toilets), but this experience--words can't do it justice. For those of you who like the cleanliness of a sparkling white See's shop, imagine walking in and someone exhaling smoke in your face. Or imagine walking into Godiva and it smells like the old school bathroom stalls when the girls ducked in there to smoke during recess. Ah yes, and there goes my appetite for chocolate--straight down the toilet.

I got another shock with the smoke. I mean, I expect it now everywhere, just about. But I didn't expect it at the grocery store. I was there looking for bread--you know, in those open paper wrappers--and then this old guy walks by me with the cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Very quickly the entire store smelled of nothing but smoke.

California really has spoiled me. Fresh air, please! I keep thinking of that scene from Mel Brooks' Spaceballs where he opens a can of Perriair. Ah yes, I'll take a case of those!


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