May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view. May your rivers flow without end, meandering through pastoral valleys tinkling with bells, past temples and castles and poets’ towers into a dark primeval forest where tigers belch and monkey’s howl, through miasmal and mysterious swamps and down into a desert of red rock, blue mesas, domes and pinnacles and grottos of endless stone, and down again into a deep vast ancient unknown chasm where bars of sunlight blaze on profiled cliffs, where deer walk across the white sand beaches where storms come and go as lightening clangs upon the high crags, where something strange and more beautiful and more full of wonder than your deepest dreams waits for you---beyond that next turning of the canyon walls. ---Edward Abbey (thanks Trudy Hall)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

If you can't get to Greece... Go to CYPRUS!

October 18—We stayed in London in a quaint brick hostel that had an old coal fireplace, after spending the day commuting from Luten to Heathrow Airport.  A real thatched roof home was down the street.
No transport to Greece!
October 19—Les and I got to the airport, and LO AND BEHOLD there was a transport strike in Greece. We would not get a flight reservation for days and then…would the strike be over?  So we thought about other places we could go... Cyprus!  I had contacted Couch Surf hosts there already then had to cancel -- maybe they would still have us?  Les was very overwhelmed until he got enough coffee in him. We bought a travel book and arrived in Larnaca. 

Landord and lady of hostel

We took a spendy taxi to the cheap hostel.  I don't know what I said to the driver, but he seemed so offended by the time we got out.  There was another couple staying there that seemed sketchy, but I couldn't put my finger on why—the woman slept most of the day and the man carried around an accordion—gypsies?  I thought I should get some laundry done and began using an old plastic bowl as there was no plug in the sink. The landlady saw this and was so completely grossed out that she went on a rave for a long while and threw out the bowl. I was so ashamed I could barely speak.  I hope this doesn't reflect poorly on US citizens. Ugh.  After that shock, and profuse apologies, we looked around the beautiful tropical area for Internet to cancel plans in Crete and to buy another bowl. When we retuned to the hostel, the two children and new puppy interrupted our attempts to do some budget mathematics and we were caught in some surreal hell with the boys reciting every word with and dancing to a Christmas music school pageant for 3 year olds that we had to watch.  
Nicolas meets us in Larnaca
Where in the world is Lazarus?

October 20—We soon discovered that Nicolas accepted our request through Couch Surfing, so we quickly packed and after a little car trouble, we were welcomed into his home.  
Les, STELLA and the winged lion
Painting of Stella floating
Lazarus Church at Night

Sue and Stella walking to Fort

Stella, his mother  took us into town to look at the medieval fortress and to St. Lazarus’s Cathedral.

 It has lots of gold, and a crypt where Lazarus, who died thirty years after he was revived, was supposed to have been buried before taken to Turkey.  After taking Stella for tea and grilled corn on the cob, we realized we missed the bus so started walking home.  Les and I bought some cheese tortes and sweets for the household and talked until bed.  Nicolas is an encyclopedia of travel information and very helpful! 
Behind the scenes in Laz church
From top of Fort

OCTOBER 22—LES IS OFFICIALLY A SENIOR!  We celebrated by going to Limassol to see the last day of an international short film festival.

The lady at the ice cream place gave Les an extra scoop of ice cream for his birthday!  We were able to walk around town quite a bit before going to see what the local students did with 3 days to shoot a film, then the awards ceremony and the winning film.  Les and I got to schmooze with some of the film elites. 
Peter from France and Kyriakos at the film fest
We were charmed by Kyirakos Polidis, and his kind efforts to make us feel a part of the fun.

View from the top
October 23—took us to more medieval castles with sensational exhibits of gravestones, suits of armor, rooms, pottery, décor and weapons.  We went out to the Kolassi where we got a fantastic view of the southern coast. 

After another chicken kabob with lots of parsley, some coffee and ice cream, we bought a few things at a local bazaar and hopped on the bus back to Nicolas’ place.  It was SO nice of him to let us leave our stuff there while we did this day trip.
October 24—We took the Royal Jordanian plane to Amman and were surprised to have to buy a visa.  Ryuji, the dance teacher at the King’s Academy , arranged for a 30 minute ride to the school and a lovely room in their guest house.  We were treated royally, had a lovely lunch with Tristan (Theater and Philosophy teacher) and his advisees, and actually got to see their assembly that featured General Tommy Frank.  Though his speech seemed a bit disorganized, he was generous and humble in answering the students’ difficult questions.  It was fantastic to have been privy to that interaction.  The students seem happy, motivated and smart.  Ryuji gave us a tour and introduction to the school.  They are committed to helping their students get into US colleges, and honoring Jordanian culture and language while emphasizing what students from ALL around the world can bring.  It’s about 5 years old, growing from His Royal Highness’s experience at Deerfield School in Massachusetts.  I was thrilled to lead a warm up for his first dance class of 2 girls and 1 boy, then watched them perform what they did for parents’ days and work on a structure for choreography.  I re-tweaked my sprained ankle, but stopped before it got bad.  After a scrumptious dinner I was able to witness Ryugi and his students in a technique class.  It was great to get to know the school through the interactions and passions of these classes.  Up late!

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