Saturday, October 28, 2006

Cyprus Was Wonderful!

Dear Friends

It's amazing how much territory you can cover and how much activity you can fit in one week. We arrived back at Dubai just after midnight yesterday after spending a day driving around Jordan between our flight from Larnaka to Amman and Dubai.

Jordon is the most crammed, dirtiest city we have ever seen, no doubt partly due to it's age. We saw some of the ancient Roman ruins and had a good taste of the "old" city and the much nicer "new" city. The architecture is surprisingly different from that in other Arab countries we have visited ... much nicer with what we feel is a Spanish influence (just guessing ... any architects out there?).

Our time in Cyprus was magic. We stayed our first four days at Amarakos Farm House (photo of courtyard above) in a regional village with Mrs Angela and her team, two of whom are daughters. We received traditional Greek Cypriot hospitality and food for breakfast and dinner, which was fresh, well cooked and very, very tasty, thanks to Mrs Angela. The Keo beer was tasty and the local wines we drank were equal to any we have tasted anywhere else.

Each day we drove around a different region of Cyprus, the only region we didn't visit is that taken over by the Turkish after their invasion in 1974. The old villages have very narrow roads and wonderful brick houses, many of which have been there for hundreds of years. The liquor laws are obviously liberal as beer is available almost everywhere in every type of shop or restaurant throughout the country. Interestingly, the Cypriot Communist Party and the Greek Orthodox Church are major shareholders in the Keo Beer Company which proves that religon and politics can mix.

We visited numerous archeologically significant sites including Aphrodite's Baths and saw many living Greek Godesses in restaurants and on the beach displaying all but very small parts of their shapely, tanned little bodies. I asked at least two stunners and an old lady if they were related to Aphrodite ... only the older, seasoned veteran said, "Yes". I'm sure the other two were just shy.

With a mixed British/Greek history, Cyprus is a hidden delight which is why many Brits are rushing to retire there. The weather and everything else is just perfect. If you ever get a chance to visit, don't miss it.

Best wishes

for Christina and Robin

Friday, October 20, 2006

Ramadan Ends - Eid Holiday Begins


How lucky are we to have lots of lovely friends? Last night Christina and I went to Sharon and Serge's villa for dinner and were joined by Janet and Don. (All are work colleagues).

In the photo from left is Janet, Chris, Sharon, Don and Serge. Sharon and Serge are the people with whom we stayed at Toronto, Canada during our mid-year holiday.

We are flying to Cyprus tomorrow morning with Janet and Don and will have seven days there. We are really excited and looking forward to it.

Ramadan, the month of daylight fasting ends this weekend (exact timing to be determined by the moonwatch committee ... no bull). After Ramadan is an Eid Holiday for a week. I believe Eid stands for something like celebration or festival (that's what my students tell me anyhow).

Like Christmas in Australia, there are specials in shops and many people eat and party to excess. Mostly without alcohol of course although some of the muslim locals imbibe covertly and you can always see one or two drinking openly at the hotels. Nobody seems to do anything about it.

Hope this finds you well.

All the best

for Robin and Christina