Taking some time out to enjoy life ‘the South American way’

The dinner at the white house up in Filothei, hosted by Venezuela’s ambassador in Athens, Lisan Stredel Balliache, was just like the song in Woody Allen’s film Radio Days. Guests were Kathi, along with the ambassadors of Spain, Eduardo Junco Donet and his wife Pilar, Colombia’s Francisco Saenz and his wife Blanca, Algeria’s Abdelhamid Semichi and his wife Aidra Hanna, Alicia Dimades, Deputy Mayor Elly Evangelidou, Mary Papadopoulou, and the youthful Elina Stredel, the hostess’s niece who is studying political science in Lyon and has come to visit Athens for a few days. The beautiful, flower-filled home, in the colors of the country’s flag – yellow, red and blue – also boasts paintings and mementos of the ambassador’s former post in Finland. One of the subjects discussed at the table was a proposal by Greece’s European commissioner, Anna Diamantopoulou, to make English Greece’s second official language. Why not Spanish? asked the Spanish Ambassador jokingly, and everyone agreed it would be most useful, considering that the peoples who have Spanish as their mother tongue do not usually speak other languages. Even their beer and Coca-Cola have been given Spanish names. All the ambassadors said they wanted cultural exchanges with Greece and believe the Olympic Games will be held on time in 2004 and that they will be wonderful! Caramba!

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