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Fri, Jul 10th - 9:35PM


**NOTE:  The last few days of the blog were delayed due to two things:  1) at the beach we had no internet at the house.  Tim and Tony were going into IW (Internet Withdrawal) by the 3rd morning, so the three of us, laptops in tow, walked into town in search of an internet cafe - which was actually quite easy to come by.  2)  Once we got back to the USA, the jet lag took it's toll; but I finally got the last post done.  Our thanks to all of you who took time to read it.

Day 9, July 5

We got a great night’s sleep – don’t know if part of it was being near the sea or not – but I’m  sure it didn’t hurt.  Steve and Mikhayla had to leave early because he had to catch a flight to London for a meeting tomorrow, so we went to breakfast with Tony.  The restaurant served a typical English Breakfast which was fine with us, after our ‘breakfast trays’ at the Almond.  Just as we were finishing up, Temu, Tina and Max came up from the beach and sat at the table adjacent to ours. 

We spent the day hanging at the beach, which was wall to wall people, since it was Sunday and doing a little shopping in the tourist section then wound up back and the house, swimming in the pool and reading.  Since it was Temu’s last night he wanted another Meze dinner, but no one else was up for that much food, so we all wandered downtown and chose a restaurant that looked like it would please everyone.  The food was tourist quality, but not bad. 

No one had heard from Steve, so we had no idea if we got the beach house for another night or not.  We decided that there was no use worrying about it, we’d deal with it in the morning.  Instead Tim and I took a long romantic walk on the beach – now mostly deserted.  The moon was almost full and I was marveling at the fact that we were walking on the edge of the Mediterranean Sea – it was like a dream!

Day 10, July 6

After Temu and Tina took off for the airport, Tim and I went down to the much-less-crowded beach and staked out an umbrella.  We swam and I FLOATED for the first time in my life because the water is so heavily salted.  It was amazing – I felt like a little kid!  After a couple hours I decided to head back to the house and shower the salt off and out of my hair and Tony came down to join Tim and ‘work’ at the beach.

Later that evening,  the three of us walked to dinner at another touristy place and then decided to cruise the ‘pubs’ and listen to really bad karaoke.  The whole town seemed to be stuck in the ‘80’s as far as the music went – it was rather entertaining!  At one pub, Tony ordered a Boddington’s with a big head and so did Tim.  Well, the beer came out almost flat as they were pouring it, so Tony said, ‘never mind, that keg is dead.’  Well apparently that did not go over too well with the owner.  He came over, smiling, and said that is the way most of his patrons like it.  Tony said that was fine, but he didn’t and the keg was still dead.  So the guy walked away and we thought he would offer a new keg, or another choice, but nothing happened.  Tim got up to go to the restroom and Tony and I looked over at the bar, wondering if we were going to get anything and the owner stormed back over and said, ‘Get out!  You can’t come in here telling me I have bad beer and criticizing my place!’  We looked at each other totally astonished.  “I don’t think we said that,” I said.  “No,” Tony said, “we weren’t criticizing your place at all, I just said the keg was dead.”  The guy was getting really mad now and as Tim came walking back toward us, one of the bouncer guys sort of body-slammed him.  Tim, not knowing what was going on, just kept walking.  “Come on you guys, let’s go,” I said.  By now Tony was getting mad at the owner for trying to kick us out, and the owner was threatening to call the police.  Now THAT would have made a great ending blog, wouldn’t it? LOL!  Anyway, I walked out, calling to Tim and Tony to ‘COME ON!”  So we left and landed in another place further down.  Tony ended up talking to the owner there, who was really nice, and told us that the other guy is a total jerk, so that felt a little better.  Tony decided he would have George take care of it later…hmmm…what does THAT mean????

But, we didn’t let that spoil the evening.  We played some pool, listened to some more bad karaoke and then headed back to the house VERY LATE – or early – lol.  It was like we just didn’t want our last day at the beach to end, but it was inevitable.

Day 11, July 7, 2009

George picked us up from the beach and took us to a restaurant far from the touristy part of the beach for a delicious lunch and a photo opp.  There were some very picturesque shots to be taken of the fishing boats, etc. 

Tony had suggested we just stay at his place until we had to leave for the airport and said he would make us dinner.  We gladly accepted the invitation.  He was very sweet and just showed us to our room and said to make ourselves at home and nap, shower, or whatever.  We were all fairly tired after our late night, so that was perfect.  He played his guitar and fixed a very tasty Indian dinner of Tandoori fish with rice and vegetables. 

Eventually it was time to go.  The cab came and we said our goodbyes, knowing that we had made not only a good business partnership, but some very good friends. 

So…there isn’t much more to say about the 23 hours in the plane.  By that point we were happy to be headed home and tried our best to get some sleep and stave off hunger with the faux food they serve on the flights.

Day 12 – July 8 – HOME!!

Upon arriving in Portland we were exhausted, but knew that in order to beat the jet lag, we needed to try and stay up until night time here.  We went across to the Grotto and walked the trails in the peaceful grounds for awhile, then grabbed dinner to go from Whole Foods Deli, came back to the room, ate and crashed.

Day 13, July 9 – Really home in Ashland!

YAY!!!! Cyprus was awesome; a great adventure; a wonderful opportunity; we made new friends and had great times….but we are happy to be back in Ashland – home. 

Did someone say ‘Dragon Potatoes?’……


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Mon, Jul 6th - 12:32AM


Day 8:  Saturday July 4 – No Fireworks here

To the beach!  Steve and a taxi picked us all up at the hotel to take us to the beach house.  We couldn’t all fit in one car, especially with all the luggage…I sheepishly said, ‘we haven’t learned to pack light yet’, as Steve lifted one bag after another into the back of his little Honda CRV.  He didn’t comment. 

The beach house is in the town of Proteras.  It is a newer home, as most of them are here, and sits back about a block from the beach.  It has a pool and an outdoor shower, which is heavenly.  We stopped at a beach down the road while the house was being cleaned.  We didn’t have suits on yet, but got to wade in the warm, heavily salted Mediterranean water.  It is so beautiful and clear and NO waves.  We had a conversation about why that is.  One reason, of course, being that it is an enclosed sea – duh – (I need to look at a map now and then – lol), but Tony also said the wind is constantly blowing away from us, and on the Israeli shore(across from us), there are waves from the wind.  

We went down to the beach again once we got settled in and took a nice dip.  We thought it would be cooler here, but it’s really not, it’s just that there is water here to cool off in when the heat gets to you! Everyone seemed to be in varying degrees of fatigue, so we decided it best to get take out and eat in the house.  As luck would have it, there is a Chinese restaurant directly behind the beach house – no joke!  So Tim and Timu went over and picked up a selection and we got to true real Cyprian Chinese.  It was pretty much like American Chinese – and they don’t use MSG – what a plus!

So…here were, halfway around the world from Ashland, and we were eating Chinese in a beach house on the Mediterranean Sea while everyone at  home slept, getting ready for the big day.  We did think of you all….and we weren’t missing the chaos of the day…but we kinda missed the fireworks…

 


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Fri, Jul 3rd - 10:43PM


Day 7:  Friday July 3, 2009

OMG?  Are we already getting into a routine?  LOL – felt like it today.  I won’t even bore you with the details, such as they were.  I did have a really nice conversation with one of the women who cleans the rooms here at the hotel.  She saw that I was drying clothes out on the balcony on the back of chairs, so she brought me a folding clothes dryer and we chatted about our families and pets.  People really are the same all over the world.

Dinner  was a different sort of adventure.  Makis, Steve’s Cypriot business partner, picked me and Tim, Tina and Temu and Max up at the hotel and drove us out to dinner to meet Steve and Mikhayla.  We just sort of assumed we would be going back to the farm (YAY!) so I was prepared with camera, etc.  But it turns out we went to a restaurant on the other side of Nicosia that has plastic tables lined up outside on a very busy street, right next to a car lot.  The food was traditional, of course, this time (more) meat – very tender from clay oven roasting – and potatoes, couscous and salad.  But beer instead of wine…bleh.  (note on beer:  Tim says it is pretty much like pale ales here, nothing dark.  And they do serve it very cold, which is good.  It tastes like beer to me.)

I think Temu and Tina were disappointed though it is hard to tell from their demeanor.  I don’t know what is cultural and what is personality.  Tina hardly spoke throughout the meal, only replied (usually in Finnish) to Temu’s direct questions.  There was nowhere for Max to run around and she tried to keep him on her lap. which did not make for a happy Max.  She did not join in any conversations that the rest of us had.

I wondered later:  Do they seem me as a loud,  yakking  American middle-aged woman?  Tim assured me that I do not appear that way (but he loves me – lol).    It is obvious that women play a subservient role in this culture - but I am not of this culture - so do I pretend to be someone I'm not?  Or do I just 'blend' with the culture and be quiet?  Or do I just continue to be who I am, with no false pretenses?  You all know me; of course I opt for Number 3! But the somewhat stilted evening led me to be slightly apprehensive about our weekend at the beach with everyone….hmmm….

Makis will not be there, which is too bad.  He is a character and a really nice man.  Very  intelligent and knowledgeable about lots of things.  Not sure if I mentioned this before, but he owns a chain of restaurants in So. Cal. – Farmerboys – so he is very familiar with the area down there,  which opens up numerous topics of conversation.   http://www.farmerboys.com/farmerboys_history/fbstory.htm

And Steve, being mostly American, always has a lot to talk about.  And Mikhayla always entertains us with her singing and just plain sweetness.

Makis offered to drop Tim and I at a nightclub downtown and we could take a cab home (it was obvious that little Max needed to go to bed), but we politely declined.  Max wasn’t the only one tired from another long day in the Cyprus heat.


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Fri, Jul 3rd - 1:42AM


Day 6, Thursday, July 2

I guess we are getting more ‘at home’ here – or else we were just tired of the hotel *breakfast* - LOL.  We made breakfast for ourselves in the room.  Greek sausages, fresh fruit, halloumi cheese and bread – and real coffee from Starbucks.  (Roger, I think of you on our morning jaunts to Starbucks each day!) 

The rest of the day was fairly routine as well.  Tim went to the office, I walked downtown and did a little shopping and exploring.  For dinner we just ate ‘local’ again, grabbing a couple salads and a very tasty chicken with mushroom dish that was served very simply ala carte, at what is now our favorite little place around the corner.  The woman speaks absolutely NO English, but she remembers us and she is very sweet and puts up with our pointing and sign language! 

Tim discovered a wine shop on his run the other morning, so we walked over and got a couple bottles of the local red.  Cyprus is actually quite the grape growing region and the wine, for the most part, is really good.  We did have a red from the grocery store the other night that tasted like it had been in the back room of the HOT store for awhile.  So that went down the drain, but aside from that, both reds and whites that we have sampled have been good. 

http://www.windowoncyprus.com/cyprus_wine.htm

The plan for the weekend is a trip to the beach, but we have learned that Steve is not much of a plan-ahead type of guy, so we will wait and see what happens and go with the flow.

Oh, and Tim wanted to send a link for all of you winter sports enthusiasts:  http://www.firsttracksonline.com/News/1998/8/5/Cyprus:-Where-Sun,-Sea-and-Skiing-Merge-Into-One/   ....just in case anyone wants to plan a trip to Cyprus!

 


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Thu, Jul 2nd - 12:27AM


Day Three:  Monday, June 29

Tim’s first official ‘work day’.  This time we made it easily to Starbucks and back with plenty of time before breakfast.  Now let me tell you a little about the breakfast that they bring each day.  There is a little pot of hot water and little packs of Nescafe coffee or tea and the NoyNoy milk stuff and sugar.  Then there is a basket with a lovely croissant, one slice of wheat and one slice of white toast, and a piece of cake and sometimes another little pastry treat.  One plate has sliced luncheon meat and the first two days it had halloumi cheese, today it was sliced American ‘cheese’, and little packages of Laughing Cow cheese.  A second plate has French butter, honey, and jam.  To round it out is a little carton of French yogurt and an apple and a banana, as well as a glass of juice (apple or orange) and a hard-boiled egg in its own little cup.  Needless to say we never eat all of it, for varying reasons.  The interesting thing is that some of it is REALLY good and some of it, as you can see, is better left on the tray.

After breakfast I walked Tim to the coffee shop where the guys from work were meeting up. We had a good cup of real coffee and I waited with him until the other guys showed up.  I took a roundabout way back to the hotel then spent the rest of the day reading, lounging around and *shock* doing some writing. 

Later in the afternoon I walked over to one of the little Greek cafes and ordered another yummy Village Salad, took pictures of some cats and other interesting things, then stopped at the corner grocery store to pick up some fruit and a bottle of wine.  When Tim got home we explored a little more and grabbed some take out from a different little café and took it back to our hotel.  We were both tired but feeling good about sort of ‘settling’ in a bit.

I wondered if this would be a ‘typical’ day if we were to live here????. (Not that we are planning to, mind you!)

Day Four:  June 30 – Tuesday

Ok…it really felt like we were getting into a routine.  The breakfast, the walk to get REAL coffee, etc, etc.  Hmmm, I was thinking it would be nice to shake it up a bit.  At the coffee shop, I met Teemu from Finland, who had just arrived last night with his wife Tina and little boy Max.  He suggested I try and meet up with her later on. 

This time when I left the coffee shop I went in the opposite direction of the hotel and walked to the shopping area that had more department store type places.  I did lots of looking but not much buying and it was getting really hot, so I headed back to the hotel.  I opened the door to find Tim back for lunch!  So we grabbed a salad and sandwich at a place called the Monaco café.  It was our first disappointment with food here (except of course for the ‘breakfast’ trays).  It was ok, but just sort of like a Denny’s – well, not that bad – maybe a notch up from that.

Tim told me that George would be by about 4:00 to pick me and Tina and Max up for a trip to the Mall, if I wanted to go.  Tina wanted to go to a REAL grocery store.  That puzzled me a little – a grocery store at the mall? – but hey, who am I to turn down a shopping trip.  I met them in the elevator going down, and thankfully Tina speaks fairly good English (as well as Finnish and Swedish).  Max speaks toddler-ese.  He is a year and a half old.  It was fun to walk around and shop a little and get to know each other.  And it was an experience to go grocery shopping in a big supermarket inside the mall, surrounded by clothing and toy stores.  Of course, just going down the aisles and seeing some familiar foods, but many new to me, was interesting, too. 

I have to admit, it was way cool to walk out of the mall with groceries and have George waiting in the Mercedes; jumping out to open doors for us and take packages!  I felt very ‘special’ – lol!

Speaking of George – I chatted with him as we drove along and found out that he is married and has one little daughter, 2 ½.  He does not ‘allow’ his wife to work.  Yes, he wants more children, of course!  His English is sometimes hard to understand, but there was no problem understanding that he is part of a very patriarchal society.  And even though Nicosia appears to be big city-like, it is really still just a small Cypriot village as far as family values, belief systems and customs.   

I informed Lindsay of the George news and she laughed, saying even if he had been single, it sounds like he is not her ‘type’ – independent career woman that she is!

Rene, the other American that Tim is working with, invited us to join him for dinner at a traditional Greek fish restaurant.  He ordered the meze, which is a veritable feast of seafood dishes!  They just keep bringing out plates with more and more fish, shellfish, salad (of course), as well as other vegetables and pasta and bread.  There was SO much food.  Much more than the 3 of us and the two cats could eat.  Yes, cats!  Did I tell you how the Island is overrun with cats?  Ok…I will in a minute, but let me finish up dinner here…well, we sat outside and two little cats came and plunked themselves at my feet, by side of my chair, out of view of the wait staff – lol – smart felines!  So I proceeded to feed them bites of fish all evening.  They were SO cute!  I wanted to bring them home.  Rene said I could probably fit at least one in my suitcase…haha.

*note on the Cats of Cyprus:  Steve was telling us that several hundred years ago, the queen of England at the time had hundreds of cats brought to the island to kill the snakes.  I haven’t been able to find documentation of that.  This, however, is an interesting link, if you want to read it:

http://www.uh.edu/engines/epi1906.htm

But however they got here, they are definitely here now and have the run of the Island.  I have been taking pictures, so whenever I get around to posting them, you will see lots of cats!

A Cypriot cat:  http://webspace.webring.com/people/jc/chriswrites2/Cyprus_June_July_2009_016.JPG

Day 5:  Wednesday, July 1 – The Heat Catches Up to this Blogger

Ugh.  I think the late night ‘fish feast’ along with wine, following a HOT day of walking all over town yesterday, finally caught up with me.  We did go get our coffee, but I stumbled back ‘home’ to the hotel and stayed put all day…napping and hanging out.  I tried going outside a few times and just felt overwhelmed by the heat, so decided not to fight it and just take a day off from exploring.

I was glad of my decision when Tim called later in the day and said that Steve was taking us all to the old town for a traditional Greek meze dinner – we were to meet at the hotel at 8:30!!! Ok…another nap was in order – lol.

But I managed to stay up and the dinner was – once again – a feast with SO much food!  This meze was meats and potatoes, salad, vegetables and couscous along with pita and tahini and other yummy condiments.  The restaurant itself was in ancient building, didn’t look like much outside or in, but it is known to be one of the most authentic and for a Wednesday night at 9, it was overflowing with customers.  We ate inside and there were no cats L.

 

 

 


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