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MY YEAR IN CYPRUS
These are random thoughts as I revisit the island of love and enjoy the maze of thoughts that mark a most remarkable experience of joy and abandon.
I rode my brother’s bike all over Larnaca in 1995. I had no experience on a toos toos (50 cc scooter) which I would acquire later. I, of course, required a small routine: joining a gym and working out every day, going for coffee at Auntie LuLu’s, combing the beach, and having an adventure a day everywhere.
Working out. I remember Zenios’ gym as he was an Adonis of a Zeus strain. Made me feel small with his gigantic muscles and long curly hair down around his shoulders and tattoos of which I could not make head nor tail. But he wasn’t happy. I would see him in his office talking to Chicago types and his slim jean wife would show up every so often to fleece him, I supposed… (I’m sure she really did want the gym to succeed). Anyway… I worked out to European bump bump music, I called it, and really enjoyed the Mediterranean breeze blowing through the place and that peculiar blue sky which always energized me. I couldn’t remember his name so I always called him Zorro. Soon after I left he closed. Hmm?
Auntie LuLu’s was the coffee shop of Larnaca. I’d go there after working out and always find the ‘everyone knows your name’ crowd there. It was the gathering place for me and the conversation was rich. I think the thing that impressed me during my tenure at the coffee shop is how much alike we are as human beings, how prone to foibles we are and how mundanely fun our lives are in the right circumstance. Cyprus was that circumstance…mundanely fun… sort of like sitting under the ‘tree of idleness’ exploring each other without judgements. It was real. I wish everyone could find a place like that one time in their lives.
Combing the beach… now here I have to be careful because I am an American and in Cyprus the beaches are half nude and the men all wear speedos…. WELL… I worked out, RIGHT?… I wore a speedo, too. What the heck… when in Rome… I wasn’t there to impress everybody and I certainly didn’t want to stick out like some American prick with those huge, baggy, fat-hiding bathing suits that Americans wore/wear. After about half an hour I was comfortable among the Euro-nudes and feeling rather sophisticated. But that’s not what I’m really interested in. I met a lady with a metal detector combing the beach one morning. I followed her. I asked her umpteen questions and this is what I learned. She had a wet/dry detector and could surf through the waves with it. She had a special cup that could scoop up sand and treasure and sift the treasure out. She said that her detector cost her $1,700.00 ’95 dollars. Well, too pricey for me. BUT she showed me what she’d found and she had engagement rings and gold necklaces in her pouch. She said that when she’d find something she’d have to pretend that it was nothing special because people were always watching. She said that she could only metal detect on public beaches and could not ever take anything that was of historic value. After seeing her rings and necklaces I could have cared less about some historic arrow head. She said the Larnaca beach was especially good because the waters were shallow and the beaches were always crowded with tourists. I believe a person could make a living doing nothing but metal detecting on a tourist beach. I just saying…