In reverse title order, let me first show you some ancient Cypriot ruins. BTW, did you know that Cyprus is reported as the birthplace for Aphrodite? I didn't.
Blog image credit: Thisismoney.co.uk
These ruins are located at Amathous - an ancient royal city here in Cyprus.
Below are some water vaults from what I understand, which unsurprisingly, were located at the highest point due to their purely gravity fed water and sewage systems you'll see in the next photos.
Later on in the day we visited the family bar. Nick's Dad's bar had a rustic charm and certainly qualified as quaint but equally it had everything you need in a bar: alcohol, a pool table and large TV. What was on the TV tonight? Liverpool vs Newcastle with English commentary. Oh, and we didn't have to pay for drinks! Hardly an unpleasant couple of hours, even for a man that gave up all things football decades ago.
Only have a single picture here folks accompanied with and an obligatory beer image too of course.
Due to the time zone difference the game didn't kick off till 10pm so we had time to get some food in first. Using Nick's local knowledge, instead of going to the type of places that I would perhaps frequent with my friends we chose off the beaten path and went Lebanese.
What a beautifully colourful dish - a Shawarma and tamboli salad.
Nick and his partner had a couple of decent sized meat based wraps with chips and a little salad, plus we also had 3 bottles of water.
The cost? A scarcely believable 23.50 euros - £16.99 GBP!!! This is Cyprus, not Thailand. This surprised me I'll admit and certainly appreciated this cost as a newly reformed budgeting backpacker.
Ashamedly, only now have I realised that I have been a little ignorant towards the reality of the collapsing economy around the World. Whilst acutely aware of it, how could I not be, I've been fortunate enough for it not to have massively effected myself, my family or my closest friends or probably a lot of you too. (I hope). When confronted with a harsh reality in a form that you can't really escape, like when you're old work friend Nick explains his past situation, well you sit up and take note. To clarify, the only reason he came to England was was to improve his and his families life as it was so bad out here in Cyprus, he was actually unemployed for TWO YEARS prior to finding work in Clevedon! How many smart, hard-working university educated people do you know that have gone through times like this?
Officially Cyprus is still in recession but economic folk hope this year they will break free from this year in 2015 which would be earlier than expected. That, however, is a very different view shared by the youth of Cyprus whom I had the pleasure of meeting for several hours today. It's still an Easter holiday for some of them so this afternoon we all just sat around and talked. Naturally, the economy came up in conversation and we traded comparisons between our two countries. I was shocked that a guy around my age working in a bank would earn 1100 euros per month (£800 GBP) but then I learnt that he is renting a nice three bed apartment for a monthly fee of £275 (GBP). Geeez! What would a one or two bed go for!? Infact, why didn't I ask!? Duh.
I then explained that yes we do typically get paid better than that but our costs are living considerably more. To think that a small, average apartment in Bristol could cost you, inclusive of council tax, in the region of £900 GBP. More than the entire monthly wage of the early 30s Cypriot who worked in the bank.
Do things just generally equate to the same at the end of the day? Unless of course you're one of the desperately unfortunate underprivileged or the massively privileged. Except of course they have nearly all year round sunshine here. Don't be completely fooled though, the island (like Mallorca) has some existing wealthy parts too and invariably, those houses are always 'upon the hill'. I've also seen a vast range of exotica, cars that is. I don't just mean you're Mercedes', Porsche's, Range Rovers and Jag's but a lot of super cars too. I often find myself wondering with such a vast contrast in people's lives over here, is such ostentation just accepted over here? That's hopefully not as daft as it initially sounds because as you'll know yourselves, people are different all around the globe. Is their that distinct bitterness you would see from the underprivileged type of person back home? Do these cars ever get vandalised? This also goes hand-in-hand with my many tranquil Mediterranean experiences over the years and their completely different attitude to life. How would some of my relatives from a remote farm in North Italy react in the unlikely event they saw a Ferrari or too cruising around their village? What fundamental emotion would they feel? Would they be at phased by it? No, before you say it, I can't ask them as I don't speak the language! :-(
Anyhow, whilst moving out here for a person looking to launch his career would be somewhat risky, I can certainly see the appeal for those wanting to retire here with some money behind them and especially now with the pound to euro rate looking so good. Same too with Mallorca and many other islands I'm sure.