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Published: August 8th 2009
Following several requests, I have created this entry, an update on life.
Well here we are, as I start to type up this blog the date is 4th August, 2009. It has been a month and a half since the last entry and we have been enjoying the Cyprus summer.
One of the more significant findings from our life, is that time doesn’t slow down. The weeks whiz past, with no lesser speed than when we were leading our “normal lives” in the UK. I don’t think I actually expected time to slow down as such, but maybe imagined a little more time to wake up and smell the coffee.
We have few routines, so our existence is kind of controlled currently by the time of year and the fact that every day is hot, ………hot and more hot.
It doesn’t take long to realise why the locals operate a lot during the night during this time of year. The day time temperatures make doing anything really hard work. The night time temperatures are cooler, but still mid to late twenty degrees. So you can sit outside through the night, socialising etc. which a lot of them
Andy & Becky's wedding (with Darren the photographer)
seem to do.
We finally unpacked all our belongings and found a home for all our things. That did actually quite surprise me, as I thought we were never going to fit it all in.
A neighbour of ours is a member of a walking club, called Phoenix and as she knew we liked walking and exploring, suggested we join.
Filled with a minor twinge of uncertainty, as we were filled with visions of map carrying Ramblers etc. we decided to give it a go.
They are a small informal group, all UK expats, that walk once a week, within the Pafos ditrict, everyone taking turns to arrange and reconnoitre a walk.
Well, I have to admit that we have enjoyed ourselves and the opportunity to see a lot more of the Island, close up, has also been great for us.
During the summer, the group walks on a Monday evening, even then it can prove to be hard going in the heat and plenty of cooling technology is invoked and bottles of water an absolute necessity.
After the walk, a meal is prearranged, at a tavern local to the walk. The group are a great bunch of people and the socialising is as interesting as the walking itself.
As part of the club’s outings a boat trip was organised starting at Latchi, on the North coast. We sailed off westwards along the coast for a while, then stopped at the “Blue Lagoon” went swimming and snorkelling for a while, had a BBQ lunch and altogether a very enjoyable day out.
The date of the wedding, which is what had brought us to Pafos in the first place, arrived in late July. Pat’s God Daughter, who is Pat’s best friend’s daughter arrived with various of her family and friends, to make a total party on the wedding day of 46 people.
People arrived and left over the course of about ten days.
The wedding itself, all went off very well, and was a lovely day for the bride and groom.
It’s the first time I’ve worn a tie for a while, and probably a while, before I will again.
No problems worrying about the weather on the day!
We have actually, just been through a heat wave here, which makes us smile, a lot, after hearing about the so called heat wave at home a short while ago.
It is difficult to describe how hot it feels sometimes, but if you are familiar with opening a hot oven door, when the air whooshes out at you. That is how it feels here. It is like someone has left an oven on, somewhere.
Even we, have had to resort to using the air conditioning, occasionally, which is not like us, as we both like the heat.
As one of our own day trips out recently, we decided we wanted to explore more of the Akamas peninsula and find Lara bay, where the turtles come ashore to lay their eggs.
We found our way to the beach and saw some of the egg laying sites. They are watched and looked after, with protective “cages” placed over the top, to reduce predation and human damage.
We spent the day on the beach, on what was a very hot day. On departing, we managed to get the car stuck in the sand on the beach, and no amount of effort got us out. A very kind Brit, also spending a day at the beach, pulled us out, with his nice big truck. Another life experience!
The water situation on the Island is still pretty good, with the reservoirs still at just over 30%. The water rationing is dealt with on a local basis, and for us, it works out that at certain times of the day, they reduce the overall pressure and water just dribbles out of the tap. The header tank has more than enough water for us and the only real nett effect for us, is that Pat has to keep an eye, when she wants to do some washing. We do hear stories from other people about being stopped for two days and back on for one, etc. in other areas.
The electricity is almost constant with only the occasional power cut, This however, does appear to be through accident rather than design.
Recycling, has recently arrived on the Island, and we are now able to recycle paper, plastic bottles, tin cans etc. So we do all we can, and there is a recycling point in the village, where we take stuff.
It would be fair to say, that it will no doubt take time for it to be part of everybody’s usual existence. Especially in this country.
Our first six months rental contract expired on the apartment 21st July, 2009, and following negotiations, we have now signed up for a further six months. So we are here for a while longer.
The Cyprus housing market is really beginning to suffer, due to the economic crisis. One of the big developers is currently advertising all new properties with a 30% discount.
Building on the development where we are located has more or less shut down, with very few people working on the site, it is apparently being mothballed until things pick up.
Tourist figures are also well down on last year and the Cypriot economy is beginning to struggle.
We just saw a UK Tourist survey which advised that Cyprus was most of the most expensive destinations in Europe. So that won’t help either.
A lot of homes have fly-screens fitted to their windows and doors by the owners, which are expensive to install. As we rent our property and it doesn’t have them, we have bought some mesh and temporarily covered the windows. The screens can be about €100 per window, the mesh cost €18.50 and with some tape, about a total of €20.
It keeps the insects out and allows us to open the windows during the night. Also, it does seem to have helped reduce the amount of dust around the place.
We have also now become official residents of Cyprus. As EU citizens we are entitled to live in the country but have to register and jump through certain bureaucratic hoops. We have done this with the help and advice of a local outfit that specialises in this sort of thing.
The communal pool that we have access to can be used by the adjacent twelve apartments. Some of these apartments are Holiday lets, so we see people come and go, some are Cypriots who are very usually very friendly and hospitable, the others are Expats like ourselves living here.
Of these, a group of seven people emerges (including Pat & I) who all get on well. When my parents where here a BBQ pool party was arranged for example.
We occasionally stumble together around the pool and several unplanned get togethers have arisen, which prove to be very pleasant occasions.
We arrived home from being out the other day and didn’t manage to get indoors until about three hours later, joining a get together beside the pool.
The other Friday evening we all went out together to a restaurant, for a meal, with a duo playing. We had a wonderful evening, two members of the seven at different times joining the duo to sing!
Needless to say various quantities of alcohol were consumed - none in my case - and different recollections of the evening ensued.
Anyway, this is all part of our current lifestyle, and I for one, have no complaints.
Surrounding the apartment is our garden and again because we are renting, are reluctant to spend a great deal of money, when we may not be here forever.
We have bought some Oleanders and they are doing well. Other bits and pieces we are planting or transplanting, have been struggling. Getting used to how to garden in this climate will no doubt come in time.
We have discovered that next door to us, in a clump of trees, are hedgehogs, we have seen an adult and a young one. They have much bigger ears than in the UK. The young one, didn’t seem to bothered by us getting quite close, which was good for us.
One of the issues in the summers are fires in the countryside. Everything gets tinder dry and various things start fires, usually us.
On the Island they charter three Russian helicopters with crews for the summer, for firefighting purposes. They convey water carried underneath the helicopter in a large bucket to any fires and refill at at a reservoir or out at sea, continually dropping water until doused.
The other day we spotted them up in the hills behind and decided on some “ambulance chasing” and found the fire they were fighting. We didn’t get too close, but it was coincidentally at a place we had walked through with the Phoenix group the day before.
It was fascinating watching the helicopters dropping their loads of water and flying off to reload out at sea. The fire was put out.
We swim most days, Pat being an excellent swimmer. My swimming is improving and I discovered I could do the front crawl the other day.
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