Today we went to a church built in memorial of the people missing from the war with North Cyprus. I have to say I am getting well and truly brain washed about this whole Cyprus-Turkey thing. If I had gone to Turkey after this I don’t think I would have enjoyed myself quite as much. There was a whole wall in the church with pictures of the missing people and there was another building with murals of scenes from the war – a family sitting down for dinner with an extra plate set for a son who would not return; protesters marching with pictures of missing people; even a scene from a Turkish prison where Greek Cypriots are being held. Like I said before, the people of Cyprus are not going to soon forget what happened.
For lunch we went to a sea side town where Evangelia’s childhood friend’s (who was a priest) son had a taverna. The atmosphere was great and we talked for a long time with the son and his parents. I found it amusing that the priest, when he first walked up, did not look very priestly. He was wearing old sweatpants and an old sweat shirt and he was covered in leaves and grass. He had obviously just come from some sort of gardening. He came into the open air terrace where we were eating and greeted the group of tourists next to us – as a sort of ‘welcome to my son’s restaurant’ kind of thing – who all shrank back in their seats like he was some sort of vagrant.
We ate very well at the restaurant – I don’t think, after Cyprus, I will ever be hungry again – and drove along the shore to a farmer’s market (and in Cyprus, the term is a lot more literal than in America) to get vegetables.
For dinner, I was handed off to another set of cousins, Elisavet and her father George and Mother Vana. We had dinner (just had lunch!) at a very popular restaurant that was just right next to the Green Line. The shops around the restaurant were all broken down and empty, but the place was clearly hoppin’.
After this Elisavet took me out for a night on the town. She wanted to show me that there was more to Cyprus for the younger crowds. We had some nice conversations traveling in between bars and clubs and I got to meet a lot of her friends. I was pretty underdressed (jeans, sneakers) but I decided not to worry about it because there was really nothing to be done. I would really like to go back (during the summer, as Elisavet and all her friends kept telling me) with some friends to do the thing properly.
I also found out that the grudge against the Turkish is not just for the younger generations. Elisavet pointed out to me the Turkish flag up on the hill, which, by the way, lights up. Elisavet’s grandfather, my grandfather’s first cousin (or maybe he was an uncle? Unclear on that one), was killed by the Turks back in the 1950’s and it still is a source of much resentment.
We ended the night late and I crawled back home with the key Evangelia gave me.