Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Greektown trek

Today I took time out of my bar study schedule to lunch and trek with Jen Jen in Greektown, and I can't imagine a better person to go on this wacky tour with.

Readers will remember my excitement over my Chicago Walks pack of walking tour cards of the Chicago area. Since I was meeting Jen Jen for some delicious Greek food, I figured I would bring along the Greektown walk card just in case Jen Jen was up for some adventure.

Predictably, she was, and it was a good thing, because this was certainly an interesting trek through Greekdom. The tour suggested various restaurants and cafes, which we were too full to visit after our hefty lunch of saganaki and gyros. However, we did stop at two excellent shops recommended by the tour: The Athenian Candle Company and Athens Grocery.

The Athenian Candle Company was the first establishment we actually entered on the tour list, and it was definitely worth our while. I really don't know how to describe this place, except that it sells a wide variety of voodoo candles, spiritual oils, and other mystic accessories. The one at left, "Come to me," is obviously a love voodoo candle, sold alongside ones for luck and success.

Jen Jen and I couldn't leave without picking up some others, too. We both got a good dose of "Run Devil Run," for instance... I liked the little devils (in speedos) and got one for Dave, who has a devil like this on a shirt.

According to the back of "Run Devil Run," you should anoint the candle with "Protect from Harm" oil for optimal effectiveness. I guess I have to go back and pick up some of that.

Jen Jen also picked up some "Shut up" and "Confusion" for friends. Upon further reading in the voodoo catalog they gave me, I gather that "Shut up" involves preventing others from gossiping about you, but I told Jen Jen she should just leave it around to give people the hint.

What I really like about this picture is that she looks like she's in some kind of Kool-Aid commercial or something - she's really happy and about to drink brightly colored sodas, except they're really Greek mystic voodoo candles!

Jen Jen's "Shut up" candle included the following helpful information, where you fill in the blank of the person you try to stop from gossiping about you:
"To you, (name of person) or any other person who tries to harass harm or impair me through rumors or gossip. I will instantly cover and recover your mouth. Then I will cover and recover the ears of those you speak to. Finally if you continue to bother me with evil tongues I will destroy your character to those around you."
Sounds about right...

I got "Domination" for Ed, to help him pass the bar. That one is the dark red one in the picture below and contains no instructions, only a radiating eyeball with a person in a fist.

The other one in my hand is called "Law Stay Away," and I couldn't resist getting it for myself, in my current situation.

Given that the illustration on this particular candle looks like a dragon-vulture torturing a police officer, I was glad that the "Law Stay Away" candle does contain instructions:
"Dear God, grant me just and compassion in my dealings with the law.

"I believe in you, who I do not see, and I shall rejoice and go in peace for you tip the scales of justice in my favor and will keep the law away."
The key here is that in order to do justice to the owner of the candle, the law must stay away. Clearly the Orthodox community has some issues with "the law." Oh, and I need to anoint this candle with "Just Judge" oil. Maybe I should anoint myself with some of that before the bar.

Incidentally, we also received free catalogs from the store's supplier, which are almost as wild as the candles themselves. There was a whole page of sexual voodoo remedies, including candles shaped like "each gender." There was also "Run Devil Run" spray! Apparently there is not only a candle, but a whole line of devil-repelling accessories.

You really can't top voodoo candles, but we did manage to pick up some very tasty vittles from the Athens Grocery, including a huge jar of Greek olives and orange lentils for me, and Jen Jen's large brick of Bulgarian Feta cheese.

The last stop on the walking tour was a visit to the Jane Addams Hull House in the outskirts of the University of Ilinois at Chicago campus. Here, poor immigrants received support in the early 20th century.

We didn't have time to go in, but I was interested in seeing the building for another reason: according to Weird Illinois, there was a devil baby housed there for some time. This is obviously an urban legend, but it's kind of interesting all the same.

I guess I do need that "Run Devil Run" candle, after all...

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