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CYPRUS DAY 3: Made in England 

July 8, 2011

Leonardo Dicaprio starts the film ‘The Beach’ with a line I often toy around with in my head when visiting somewhere foreign:

“…it’s all here: you an phone home, meet up with strangers, split up with your friends, watch Hollywood movies while you sip Budweiser and eat a burger or get some massage and green chicken soup. You could be anywhere in the world…”

“But for me it’s all about finding out something about a place, and something about yourself. And when you get off the beaten track, that’s where you find out what there is to find out.”

As I woke this morning I could have tuned into an English news channel, before heading downstairs to sit and browse the Daily Mail with a cup of Twining’s English Breakfast Tea served up with fried eggs, bacon,sausages and Heinz Baked Beans. As I walk along the main strip I’ll pass bars and restaurants on either side of me offering their best efforts of authentic English food, with their specials all written in simple English; naturally. There’s also the option of some of the more well known brands for me to choose from – McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut… And of course, I will be spoken to in good English, or at worst broken English. The shop owners will act in shock if I use a Greek-Cypriot word to greet or thank them (although this may be due to my questionable pronunciation).   

As the day disappears to night, the entertainment won’t be Cypriot music or traditional dance; rather tonight I have the option of a Blue Brothers tribute, or I can walk along the strip and sing karaoke to songs that currently top the UK and American charts. Oh, and I’ll sit there all the while with an ice cold Magner’s Pear in my hand, or failing that, I can settle for a Carling.

For company I won’t fall into deep
conversation with a Cypriot about their  thoughts on the Greek economy or their  age old family lamb recipe; instead I’ll be surrounded by people who live no more than a few hundred miles from me, or if the audience is really diverse I’ll meet a couple from Glasgow, maybe even a family from Berlin.

All in all, it’ll be easiest for me to lie on the sun lounger as the day passes me by, turn red in the sun’s blistering heat whilst enjoying all the comforts of being at home.

I’m not complaining, but as I sit writing today’s blog on my balcony with the strips Pizza Hut logo glaring at me, and a can of Budweiser sat beside me, I wonder what this place looked like twenty (even ten years ago). What has been destroyed, left behind, or just evolved, to offer me a cold Budweiser on a balcony served by a friendly English speaking Cypriot.

On Sunday I will travel to Larnaca, on Monday Nicosia, to visit the ‘traditional’ markets, and in a way I hope no one speaks to me in English; the only beer they’ll serve me will be 
 Keo or Leon; and the food I’ll sample will be unrecognisable recipes that have been passed through the generations. 

At the same time part of me questions myself; who am I to pick and choose authenticity as if the Cypriots might star as the lead role acting out their history; whilst the other part can’t get past the fact that Protaras, and what I saw of Ayia Napa must have been completely destroyed by the tourism industry where those who offer ‘English’ best win. 

Anyway that’ll do for today. Perhaps tomorrow I’ll dwell over this some more, with a Keo in hand…

 Eaten Today:

08.10 (Score* 6/10) Mini Croissant, Toast, Halloumi Cheese, Tomato, Mini Omelette.
17.15 Smarties 
19.45 Starter (Score* 1/10) Salad, mushroom soup, dip, bread.
Main (Score* 0/10) Sword Fish, Pork Kebab, Lamb Soavla, Sweetcorn, Halloumi, Country rice, onion, coriander
Dessert (Score* 4/10) Baklava x3. Weird biscuit that I barely touched…

* denotes Laura’s score of the food item and does not necessarily reflect the score of the author.

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