Life in Cyprus - August 2003

I really don't much like August in Cyprus. Although it's not quite so humid as July (which, to be fair, hasn't been all that bad this year - only a couple of days over 32C) it still tends to be hot, and it's difficult to do anything much. In previous years I tried to some weeding first thing in the morning - but having got the garden fairly thoroughly tidied in April, there weren't really any weeds worth pulling!

So I usually put on a load of laundry when I get up, put away the previous day's, perhaps do a bit of sweeping or empty the bins, or anything else that needs doing around the house, then take a quick shower (no need to use any hot water as even the cold tap is producing water that's pleasantly warm) and by around 8.00am I've switched on our air conditioner, and stay in the living/dining room for most of the day.

We usually try to do some jigsaws during the summer - at least, I do, and the others help a little! - but although I did one rather nice one, even jigsaws seemed uninspiring this year and I only got about 75% through the second one I started. We have a thick wipe-clean tablecloth that goes over it for mealtimes, so it's easy enough to forget about it. Instead I spent a lot of time reading and replying to email on the various lists I'm subscribed to, mostly at yahoogroups. There are several home education lists which I'm on, and some related to Myers-Briggs and the Enneagram, two personality typing systems which I find extremely interesting, and which have bursts of conversation often interspersed with lenghty periods of quietness.

We did have one day which was a bit different, early in the month: some friends of ours who used to work in Cyprus are currently living and working in Turkey. They had hoped to come to South Cyprus for a holiday, but there are no direct flights, and it would have been far too expensive for a family of six to go via another country. However it was very easy for them to get to North Cyprus, which is still under occupation by Turkish troops, and have a short holiday at one of the resorts there. They simply drove their car, and then took a ferry. So as the borders are now open to everyone in the south of the island, our friends suggested we could go and spend a day with them.

We had never been to the North before; while our Cypriot neighbours were unable to go there, it seemed unfair that we could go, so we didn't take advantage of the freedom offered to ex-patriates. However now that they too are free to come and go (although only for short periods) we decided that we would, particularly as we wanted to see our friends. The day was hot, but not as hot as it could have been - which was just as well, since we ended up queueing for about two hours at the checkpoint in Nicosia. 

First there was a long tailback as we approached the border, then when we got there we had to fill in forms to apply for 24-hour visas, and another form for car insurance in the North. Our car did not like sitting idle in hot temperatures and threatened to overheat more than once, so Richard had to turn off the engine when we were not moving - meaning that we could not use the air conditioning. We had some bottles of water in the car, but were extremely hot, tired and hungry by the time we found the hotel where our friends were staying.

Still, it was lovely to see them, and their hotel was wonderful with huge rooms, and a pleasant bar area by an attractive swimming pool where we could have coffee after having lunch.

A few days later, Richard flew to Cairo for a week, with yet more discussions and work to get ready for the Internet Radio station due to be launched in October. While he was away, someone on one of the home education mailing lists mentioned that she earned a few pounds (sterling) by doing surveys and writing reviews on the Ciao consumer site. I decided to register, and write a few book reviews - I quickly found that it was more than a consumer site; there was quite a community feel to it, and reviews could be written about almost any product or appliance as well as of books or DVDs. Not all categories were paid, and it took a while to find my way around, but turned out to be very interesting and another way of 'meeting' people online from around the world.

Richard came back feeling quite tired, as usual, and took a few days off - which was convenient, because friends of ours came out to stay from the UK for a week from August 20th. They were the first people we'd had to stay during the Summer months. They arranged to rent a car from the airport, which worked out very well. They went swimming at McKenzy beach almost immediately, and then nearly every day they spent an hour or two there, relaxing in the water. In addition they went for a day to the WaterWorld park at Agia Napa, and thoroughly enjoyed themselves.

Meal out at Aztekas restaurant in LarnakaWhile they were with us, they took us out for a meal to Aztekas, a very pleasant Mexican restaurant on the Dhekelia Road, which serves a variety of traditional Mexican and Tex-Mex style dishes, with either beef, chicken or vegetarian options for almost everything. Since Daniel is vegetarian, as is one of our guests, it was ideal. We were able to sit outside for our meal, and although it was hot, it wasn't unbearable, since the humidity does tend to reduce by the end of the month.

music day at our house in AugustTowards the end of their week, we arranged for a couple of other families to come over the for the day for one of the irregular 'music days' that the boys enjoy so much - a day to focus on jamming, playing duets or group pieces, and generally enjoying music. Since one of our friends plays piano and sings, one of their daughters plays flute and the other plays clarinet, they were able to join in too. We had a cold lunch all together, and then ordered a pizza for the evening and played some silly games.

After our friends left, we had just under a week to get ready for our September trip to the UK. It was surprisingly difficult to remember what we needed to do, and most of the packing was left until the last couple of days.

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