The flights here were no biggie after the hellacious drives of the Salt Tour. Detroit to London was a tad cramped but alright. Watching the sun go down over the Atlantic is always a quieting, and an astonishing site. The best part of long flight is seeing the transitional moments of light, sundown at 30,000 feet with the stars bright as they are in the UP. I had a long layover at Heathrow, it was mostly spent reading, and slumped over my luggage. Time passed soon enough and it was onto a Cyprus Airways flight to Larnaca. The most incredible views from a plane I have ever seen in my life were on this flight. Those views were of The Alps. Never before had I seen such incredible mountains, let alone from above. There were houses and building scattered in what seemed from my view impossible places, with harsh rocky and snowy peaks casting shadows on the lush depths below.
By the time I reached Larnaca the sun had gone down again, and out of the coastal glow I could see what I believe to be Cyprus. During our slow leaned decent I saw this (apologies that this image is from google rather from my phone or camera).
Not having done any research on the flags of the area I assumed it was a Cypriot Flag.
Indeed it is not, more on that later.
Our plan touched down in the Cyprus dark, and after a frustratingly long wait (if you’re first to check in your bag usually comes out last), I grabbed my lone suitcase and walked out into the Cyprus air, feeling what I would describe as “cripsy”.
10 minutes later a car with three Cypriots came speeding up, they were obviously searching for the only plaid and pearl button in Cyprus… they found it. Athina (the director) got out with a cheery hello, as did Mario, and Marlen. I tossed my bag in the trunk and off we went into the night.
During the drive through Larnaca, then to the capitol city of Nicosia a great deal of information was conveyed to me upon the question: “What’s that big light up flag all about?”.
I’ll try and condense the complexities of Cypriot history and politics…
Cyprus was run by the British for a long time, in the early 60′s late 50′s there was an uprising and Cyprus had a golden 11 years or so of Independence. Sometime in the mid 70s Turkey had residents there, and then invaded, taking 30% of the northern country for turkey. Borders were established and now there are two factions. Greek Cypriots, and Turkish Cypriots. One aspect of this certain “beef” being that families lost their homesteads, generations of history and photographs, possessions, etc, during this madness, thosands of families in face. For years the borders were closed, though in the last few years, they have opened them for passage between. The light flag is a Turkish flag, flashing into the Turkish Cypriot Flag, which apparently is not recognized by anyone other then Turkey.
There is still tension between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots, and some people refuse to cross that border out of spite.
I was brought to a bakery in Nicosia before I was shown my accommodations, though at the time I was not in the mood for anything, just seeing some local fair was interesting. Shortly after I was brought to Athina’s old flat (she has since moved to a house in Central Nicosia with her fiancée) and was left to rest.
I was suddenly, and pleasantly alone for the first time in 15 days.
I felt remarkably strange.