Thursday, November 1, 2012

New life in Cyprus

It's Nov 1 and I just did twenty laps in the pool. That's right, in the pool. Our own. It's 28 C and sunny and it has been like that every day ever since the move. Life is good in Cyprus. In fact life is so good that I wonder why didn't I do this earlier. 
But let's get back to the start. This summer I was at some airport, don't remember which one, and I walked towards baggage claim. There was an automatic door with a sign "Point of no return". I got this taught in just a split second. That's what happened with me and Moscow. I reached the "Point of no return". I had admit to myself that I was about to walk trough that door and never come back. It was over, our Love-hate affair. Reasons are too many.
The question was where to go next and how to do it. 

I have never been to Cyprus before I thought it was  good idea to move there. I read an article in a magazine few months back about the fact that Russia bailed the island out and not the IMF and how easily accesible it is from Moscow. Obviously the weather was a big factor, and so as fact that being a former British colony English is widely spoken. It's meant to be just for a few months anyway, until the next job for hubs opens up. Then it was just a matter of organizing. I arrived in early September for 3 days and managed to find a house, great private English school for kiddies and all the other contacts for car, doctor etc. Three weeks later we moved in our new home near Larnaca and it has been a blast ever since. Sometimes I wake up in the morning, I open the window and I look at the Mediterranean and I think my life is a fairytale. 
What do I like about living in Cyprus you may ask. Everything. 
  1. Lifestyle. Slow pace Mediterranean mixed up with some British influences. For instance the stores close for siesta every day and also every Wednesday afternoon and the whole day Sunday. But every day at 8 am precisely they are open and fully stocked. It's a family culture where dinner takes a few hours, everything is served on the table and food is regarded very important. The quality of life is extremely high, poverty pretty much non-existant. 
  2. Weather. Dutch or NW summers are like winter in Cyprus. Enough said. 
  3. The great outdoors. Run on the beach, swim whenever you want, paragliding is possible though haven't been able to go yet. Trekking, kitesurfing, even snowboarding in the winter all within short distance drive from home.  
  4. People. I read somewhere that happiness is contagious. Well people here seem all infected. It's a soft macho culture, traditional and male-dominated but there is a lot of respect for the individual male or female. 
  5. History. The place is so rich on history that I can dedicate a whole blog just on that. From 3 BC until Recent history with the Turkish invasion, it has been mind-blowing to discover glorious bits of the island 
Salamis ruins near Famagusta in North Cyprus
I took the below picture risking dealings with a very angry Turkish guy with a machine gun. This is the city of Famagusta, the ghost town, completely deserted after the invasion in 1974. It's heavily guarded and visiting or even taking pictures is strictly forbidden. It was surreal to be able to look at a whole city decaying abundant. 
Ghost town Famagusta, desrted after the Turkish occupation of Northern Cyprus
6. Multiculturalism. The Greek Cypriots would no like me for saying this but there is something fascinating about two so different cultures existing on the same small island. Passing the border to the Turkish part was exsiting. It's heavily guarded with big military basis on both sides. In the Turkish part, it's pretty much like Turkey, maybe just a bit more modern as there are almost no women in veils and burkas. The most fascinating sites are there, so I have been already 3 times while the average Greek Cypriot haven't visited. I don't want to go into politics, but it's a pure military occupation and I still don't understand why the EU is being so complacent. With Turkey wanting to join especially 
7. Food. It changes the world when you can buy vegetables that had been picked up from 20 km away only yesterday. They taste, feel and look better and you become a more beautiful human being consuming food that actually spoils as it is supposed to. The era of genetically engineered food hasn't reached Cyprus yet and I am extremely happy about that. 
Sea caves near Cape Greco
8. Beaches.  From Ayia Napa's resorts perfection to the sea caves at Cape Greco and even "my beach", only 800 meters down the road, I just love them all. During the tourist season night-life is also pretty happening, first person account ;)
Nissi Beach, Ayia Napa

9. Easy access to everything. Traffic jams are virtually non-existant. I love driving here even though is on the "other" side of the road. 
10. Affordability. After Moscow you can responsibly say that Cyprus is actually very cheap. That's not entirely true as it is an island and everything that needs to be imported is obviously more expensive. But I spend roughly 30% less on food comparing to Moscow, average bill in a restaurant is 50% less. 

Down sides, there are a few:
  1. Seeing hubs only on the weekends and generally having the family split apart. But it's only temporary and it has been pretty ok so far. 
  2. Expensive to maintain two households
  3. It's a bit lonely, which is understandable since we just moved. 
  4. It's a bit far and not as easy to go places. It's 4,5 h from the Netherlands for instance
  5. The cities are not that pretty. Lots of badly build 80s style blocks covered with cheesy commercials. 
All in all, loving it here and now we created the opposite problem. It will be really hard to move back to the "real world". But then we can always come back on holidays, right?

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