Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My Epos From Cyprus

I've been on a package holiday! It still turned out fairly well. I'm particularly satisfied with my timing. Just as this issue of a major Norwegian daily, in which I'm depicted as a rather lazy worker, came out, I sat down on a plane to Larnaca, Cyprus. A week later I returned, and by now this article should be forgotten by everyone.

(The article is in Norwegian. I gave an interview where I tried to explain that I prefer to "retire" every second month now instead of just retiring completely when I reach the age when that is a normal thing to do. The reason is that I think I have more options for what to do with that time now than when I'm 70.)

It's not a misleading article, mind you. The only error in it is that by now I'm a lot more tanned than on the photo in the newspaper, so there's no reason to complain.

I don't complain about Cyprus either. It's easy to spend a week there having a look at a strange, little country.

The most peculiar thing about it is obviously that the island is a bit of a war zone. The northern third of the island is occupied by Turkey, and in many areas there are enough checkpoints and soldiers around that you never forget it.

As a tourist the "war" is not a problem, but it's strange when you walk up the main pedestrian mall of the capital. Suddenly a man in uniform comes up to you, demands to see your passport and asks "I hope you are aware of the fact that Turkey is occupying parts of our island?". Then he lets you continue your walk. A hundred metres or so further up the street, beyond some barbed wire and skeletons of houses full of land mines, you arrive at a fairly normal-looking Turkish border control post, where you hand in your passport and fill out a form. With all formalities completed, there are now no signs or conversations in Greek around anymore.

Apart from that, it was impossible to be in Cyprus and not think that I was in Greece. Wherever I turned there were old churches, blue and white vistas, olive trees, old women with white hair and black clothes, mathematical symbols and new and old ruins.

I ended up walking lots and lots of kilometres on this trip as well. With a GPS in hand I managed to find more than twenty hidden treasures on the island, without disturbing too many snakes and spiders with my feeling around in dark holes in nature. It was a sweaty activity, fortunately mainly because it was so hot every day.

Among the pleasant surprises I enjoyed, I can mention that I did not end up in the city of Sin (Agia Napa), there was a salt lake with flamingos near my hotel in Larnaca, there was a pool on the roof and I wasn't at all burned by the sun.

Still, would I recommend anyone going there?

Nah. Not really. But maybe I'll serve up some more photos from there eventually. We'll see. First I'll be working in July, both for my employer and with my own photos from India this spring.

Bye for now!

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