Last year I had a similar experience. I also was ripped off at the Hollywood bar. I didn't meet George, but I remember the fat guy. I don't know why this is allowed in Greece. The police didn't want to help me, so it is a legal way to make money in Greece. Be aware if you go to this city.
Well, I met Stefano near the Akropolis and Zeus temple. He asked me to take a picture of him. He told a lot about his italian hometown. And finally, within 5 minutesm, he lead me also to the holliwood bar. So in fact only this warning: Avoid the holliwood bar!!! I lost about 100 euros there....
I was also taken by George in 2010 and later that summer met a second person he had scammed. I have met George on subsequent trips and have found him quite the lovable old rascal. I even introduced him to my adult son on a recent trip as "the guy I told you about who ripped me off!" We then had a jovial conversation during which George tried more than once to get us to go to the bar with him. I would laugh and tell him "Okay, but you pay this time, right?" He would laugh and respond, "Let's have a drink and talk about it, okay?" When I pointed out that my last drinks with him had been VERY expensive, he laughed and said "That was a long time ago! Let's go have a drink and talk about it!!" He was so jovial that I almost took him up on it!
Despite the money that I lost, I still view him with amusement and, yes, affection. He is such a lovable old scoundrel, I can't help myself.
He is so smooth and likable and so beautifully dressed, he very much fits the image of a gentleman businessman. At our first meeting, I too was told that he was an exporter of oranges. He told me that his son was in the Greek air force and that he had visited him in the US at an American Air Force base while his son was part of a military exchange program.
Back in 2010 I had planned a complex revenge, but I didn't see him before I left the country that time, so a good friend had to carry out his own plan on my behalf. My friend ran into George and recognized him from my description. He declined George's invitation to the bar and suggested dinner instead. When they sat down at the restaurant that George had suggested, my friend told the waiter the George was paying. The waiter went over and whispered to George, who promptly got up and trotted off. Good play, Tristan.
This guy pretended to be an out of town tourist from Venice, Francesco. Says to have one drink with him after doing a pretty good job proving that he was from Venice, that may be the only true part of his story. He will take you to a bar called "Hollywood Pub" and order a drink and ask you what you want. I ordered a drink and then the girl, who I thought was the shop owner came and sat by us and asked if we would buy her a drink. I thought nothing of it and the guy prodded, so I said "yes." After one drink, I insisted that I have to go and then got the bill for 220 Euros. I ended up getting most of my money back except for 40 Euros, but I got a picture of the guy that scammed me.
Ok, so I have to admit I fell for George the dinner/drinks scammer hook line and sinker at first. I knew something was up when he asked me the time and took me to what he said is his restaurant. I forget the exact one. But they must have been in cahoots as they were totally playing up the I'm the waiter who is so scared of the owner barking at me in Greece. He's a fairly tall wiry old man with steel gray and white hair and a really funky nose, boomy rasp voice not in the greatest of health. Says he's 58 but looks talks and moves more like 75 and has rotten teeth. He has the marks of a barely literate, or illiterate Greek Islander. He could not read nor write anything I asked him to, in Greek or English.
So just like the others he had a story this time about being an oil man in Houston years ago and now in Saudi Arabia. The dinner I have to say was amazing, and the conversation good to a point. I figured might as well play this out since I'd be dining alone anyhow. So, The bill for 79 Euro for a nice piece of fish and I'm sure they charged me for the wine and salads he took part in too. I only had 75 so I offered to have the 'owner' show me to the ATM and I would pay in full with tip. But the nervous waiter just took my 75 and thanked me for my patronage. At this point as George entered me into the famous Hollywood bar I was presented with an attractive friendly Polish woman who served me a VERY stiff Greek drink. The all of a sudden she was gone replaced by some fat slob Greek guy at the bar and a rather portly Russian/Greek (hooker I'm almost sure) girl appeared and started to really work me at the bar and was really interested in me. She is now quite fat and engorged from consuming so many alcoholic drinks there. I wouldn't even "do" her for free. Being from a Mediterranean culture myself I was always suspicious and purposefully planting false info such as when she asked how much I make in the states (George did too) and what my birthday is. I never used my credit card and the bill was 70 Euro for about 4 drinks. The Russian volunteered herself two of them. She did ask "may I have a drink" and I cut her off after the second one and she was kind of dispirited that I only sipped on my stiff Greek Whiskey drink and showed no signs of drunkenness afterward. I wondered if they put stuff in the drinks to make people vulnerable. Still worried that George might be somehow connected to the Greek Mafia I decided to just pay and leave cordially as this money is well within my means and I didn't want to get beat up on my first night in Athens. Then George made some drunken ruckus about wanting to go clubbing like he was 20 when we left and I told him to *** off and go screw those ugly hookers.
All in all I had a good time playing the game but should have bailed before Hollywood. If these guys were real mafia they would have waxed the floor with me, but I later dressed down the people at the restaurant in front of everyone, and the big fat Greek slob who came out, the REAL owner looked like the Mafia type so I didn't press my luck from there.
***UPDATE**** Revenge time!
Ran into "George" again in front of Hadrians Arch for the second time sitting on a bench. He acted like he would get physical so I chased him and nabbed his photo, told him I'd break his face in several places if he tried anything I taunted him in Greek and English curses in front of a crowd which was good enough to get him to turn around and nab a pic. He then very nervously ran as I chased him down the temple of Zeus by Hadrians Arch and he actually ran across a very busy street without a crosswalk to get away from me, as I cursed him out some more and told him he's going live on the Internet!! I also egged the motorcyclists on to run him over. In Athens crossing traffic without a crosswalk is a pretty unsafe game. One local guy thanked me for humiliating him saying he deserves it for doing what he does. Revenge is sweet!!
Athens is a very, very dangerous place these days. Although I wasn't too concerned about the riots, I didn't expect to be physically assaulted. While on a train, a man grabbed my pen**s and tried to kiss me. When I told him to back off, he pulled out a gun and ordered me to sodomize him at a nearby hotel. After we checked into the hotel, the sheets were dirty from previous lovemaking, and after I had let him split me open like a coconut he wouldn't even cuddle me. Next year I'm going to Egypt instead.
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