Monday, April 21, 2008

Pam's View

At first you don’t notice it. Like so many things beige, muted, dusty in color – they melt into the background. This is especially true in a new country that was formerly a British colony where one tends to concentrate on the mechanics of getting from here to there while driving on the wrong side of the road.
It is amazing how long it takes to start noticing the absence of things! At first it is groups of empty lots amidst construction of new buildings advancing at a ferocious pace. Then it is an old square stone house tightly shuttered, but progressively being taken over by nature, grass growing from its roof.
Next you notice several such houses clustered together; slowly being covered by vines, cyclamen, fennel, and other wild growths. Once they had been homes and businesses of Turkish or Greek Cypriots, depending on which side of the Green Line you are on. Legally they still are, but while the owners await decisions on the thorny issues of an unresolved conflict decisions to be made by people who have never seen them -- they sit unattended. Sometimes whole villages lie as if discarded – dust where lemons, flowers, and children should be growing.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Like Two Peas in a Pod

A note from Pam about Friends

Friday morning Sue and Alan took us to meet a couple they thought we would enjoy – Hugh, who is a writer, antique car enthusiast, and general good guy around town, and his wife, Elizabeth, who is a bird watcher, good golfer, bridge player, and cook.

They are charming. Jim and Hugh hit it off right away. We will go to a book “launching” April 8 for his latest book, and he to Jim’s book-signing in May. In addition, he has gotten Jim involved with the Paphos Writers Club.

We thought we were just going for coffee, but we were feted with four savories, four sweets, and, oh, did I mention the champagne? All of this took place in a spectacular setting right above Coral Bay. Their property has pools and fountains and flowers galore. It is somewhat like a stage setting for a Greek Great Gatsby with a view to die for.

They are very English – the kind of English who have spent most of their career lives abroad can be the best kind. The kind who taught me the English way. Are you there, Miss Vickerey?

That day we found ourselves in a little piece of England that floated towards the warm sunny sky of the Mediterranean. In this place, much of the classic reserve has melted in the sun; we are not only accepted, we are welcomed as “American cousins.”

Since that day we have found Hugh and Liz extraordinarily kind, as are Sue and Alan. They have taken us under wing and check up on us to be sure we are well and have what we need. Hugh has come over a couple of times. It is such a drive. There is always a polite pretext of some sort, a smile, some kidding around; the sincerity and warmth of these two couples really touches the heart.