Archive for Cyprus

24 Sep 2014

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

5 Comments Cyprus

With the whole P & G split, I was torn, tattered and frayed. This shared custody thing sucks. For two weeks I have to look after Paul and for two weeks I have to look after Gill, and they think it is the other way around.

Gill encouraged me to go and make new friends and I did. I tried. I took up knitting. It was disastrous. I also helped Paul make a wonky table.

Making new friends is not as easy as you think!

 

Enough! It was time for a holiday. But where? Then one evening it came to me in an oily splash of brilliance. I watched while Paul ceaselessly shoved wedge after wedge of lemon drizzled golden fried Haloumi into his gob. Besides being slightly disgusted, I knew exactly where we would be going — Cyprus, the birthplace of Haloumi (and let us not forget, the birthplace of Aphrodite).

So here we are in Cyprus, right between a rock (Malta – the rock as it is colloquially known) and a very hard place (Syria – a stone’s throw away).

It is hot here. The Haloumi practically melts in your hands.

We brought along our own cash because we heard nasty things about the Cyprus bank machines robbing us blind — shutting down only seconds after deducting our money from our foreign bank account and seconds before dispensing it to us. Today, cashed up, we wandered through the old town of Nicosia. The city is shaped like a circle and at its core it is quite pretty. But there are also these ugly large walls and closed off streets running right through the centre. I found a shortcut, a crack between the walls, and went to make a dash for it, when all of a sudden a hundred voices were yelling at me loudly in Greek and then Paul was yelling too: “Land-mines”.

Cyprus lays claim to being the last divided though not internationally recognised city in Europe, though at a stretch you could argue the same for Belfast and Mostar. I would stick with Haloumi as a claim to fame; it’s classier and more palatable.

It seems we have to go through the checkpoint with our passports if we wish to enter the Turkish controlled part of Cyprus, otherwise we will both end up as lint.

With our passports at the ready we walked down the Ledra Street, the Main Street, and crossed at the checkpoint. It was painless and quick. Ledra starts off as any European high street, with designer shops, a Debenhams department store with an observatory at the top, the usual suspects, but as soon as you cross the border rapidly transforms into a gentrified Turkish Bazaar complete with an impressive mosque, a Hammam (Turkish Bath) and countless knock-off Nike and fake watch shops. The Turkish side feels friendlier, with megaphones blaring call to prayer, engaging shopkeepers and chatty waitstaff. Away from the tourist hot-zone, it becomes apparent the Turkish side is poorer. There are car wrecks in the streets and collapsing buildings on every other corner.

 

Turkish bizarre

Semiliye mosque from Debenhams

Turkish craft market

Turkish house

Turkish delight!!

Turkish cat relaxing after another life threatening crossing

Cyprus street art

Turkish street art

Back in our apartment, which is spacious and comfortable and only slightly noisier than front row at a Formula One race, we sweat in the afternoon heat and humidity and graciously accept the pair of earplugs our host has generously offered us for our siesta. They are soft, squishy and rubbery. They remind me a lot of Haloumi.

Whiskey wall