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CyprusCyprus

Street Party

 The response to the police raid on the street party in old Nicosia: have another street party.   People gathering on the steps of Phaneromenoi school . . .  The music was set under the church tower.  Graffiti made for the occasion (on boards and blankets, not on the square -- this was to be ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Characters

 I have been trying to pull together a street theatre performance in the last few weeks, which has not been going as smoothly as planned -- it's been hard to gather a large enough cast, mainly, who have free evenings for jumping around the square at Phaneromeni (see previous post ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Street Battles

It's hard to over-state the importance of Phaneromeni Square for the Southern old town Nicosia.  In the same little cobblestoned space, one of the oldest churches in town stands with its Greek flags, attracting bearded bishops and pious grandmas by morning; and the surrounding walls are covered with anarchist ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Complexity and the Beach

 If you've heard of Salamis, the one-time capital of Cyprus and a Roman city of pretty considerable glory (on the scale of ancient city-state glory, it's got a few amphitheaters to its credit), you probably won't be surprised that it's still there.  You might be surprised ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Relocation: Polis.

 There are "crowds" in Cyprus; not in the sense of lots of people in one spot (ever, really); but a crowd that might haunt one cafe in the afternoon, then all pack up for the same bar later at night, repeating the pattern the next day.  When I went camping ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Wedding Traffic

I recently came back to Cyprus after being off the island for a little while, not an uncommon practice for Cypriots -- especially in the 100 - 105 F summer heat.  I've been told that "no one is in Nicosia" as it gets closer to August, and I guess I thought ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Stranger Than Fiction: A Circus, and Eurovision

There is no way all of that could happen in one day -- except that it did.   Writing about last Saturday should really be two posts, but I'm going to go with the absurd unity of time rather than breaking it down more digestibly.  Because sometimes things are in reality ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

The Sound Barrier

 "Did you hear it that time?" "No, I can't hear any--" "Shhhh!" A long, barely audible, extremely high-pitched, beep. "Yeah, yes, I got it that time!" And then I haven't stop hearing it since, every night in old Nicosia. We were sitting in the square near my most-frequented ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

'Sup CYPRUSSS

 "'Sup, Limassol?  'Sup, CYPRUSS!  Lemme hear you say, OHHHHHhhh!" The Street Festival in Limassol, major port-city in Cyprus.  I took a 2-hour bus ride to get there, sitting next to Chinese immigrant women and an old Cypriot village man who crossed himself whenever the bus passed a church.  At one ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

The Isolated Monastery

I realized after writing that title that most monasteries are isolated. Monks and nuns tend to seek solitude for their prayer and study; some monasteries in Greece are even built on the top of mountains that you can only access through ladder (or goat).   The monks and priests at Agios ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

The Edge, and Hoofed Orphans

Views from the Northeastern tip of Cyprus, the tail of the sting-ray (or flying squirrel, whichever you think the island looks more like):   Yes, that last picture is of a pair of wild donkeys.  There are a considerable number of them wandering the rugged North Karpaz Peninsula area, the arm ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Cheese, Fire, and the 10-Day Easter

It has been a week since Easter Sunday (Π?σχα).  It's taken me that long to recover. I mentioned in an earlier post that I had been doing the 49 day fast for Orthodox Lent; no meat, no dairy, no animal products for the full 49 days before Easter.  Not wanting ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Demonstrations in Kyrenia/Girne

 On a recent free Friday, I took a trip to Kyrenia (Greek name) / Girne (Turkish name): Looking at a picture of the harbor there, it's easy to see why.  Now THAT is a picturesque Mediterranean town, if I've ever seen one! (And yeah, I had before this, and ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Trekking in Pafos: Town/Country

I have focused so much of this blog and of my work here in Cyprus on the urban experience of old Nicosia: gritty, nostalgic, almost mysterious with its meandering streets, random food markets from Russia or Manila, and of course the troop-patrolled border.  The wound that somehow divides the city ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

The Comfort of Jargon

 When the fifteen of us were on the floor of the concert hall, warming up our knees and ankles, it was easy to forget that we had only met each other a week earlier, and that we came from countries as far-flung as Cyprus, Greece, England, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Italy, and ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Completing the Circle

Living on the cusp of a militarized zone can really bring to light the little things I have taken for granted living, say, anywhere else.  The importance of the freedom of mobility has been on my mind lately.  The people of Nicosia could not cross from one side of their ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Street Food -- Not For Sale.

On the way back to my apartment in Old Nicosia one night, I see this man roasting his souvla on a spit in the street: Souvla might remind you of the more familiar Greek word, souvlaki -- and that is because it refers to the same roasted meat, it's just ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Choose Wisely

"This is Cyprus," is a phrase I hear a lot, something both locals and ex-pats use with a sigh and a resigned smile to proclaim the peculiarities of the island.  It usually pertains to things never getting done.  Still waiting for phone lines to be installed by the government-subsidized telecom ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Upon Waking, and Placelessness

In that place between sleeping and waking, where the smoke of any dream you may have had mingles with the fog that hasn't blown off from the morning -- in this non-place, you can convince yourself of anything.  Here five minutes becomes an extra hour slept, or the dream-image of ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Fast of the Demons

Yesterday was the first day of Greek Orthodox Lent.  Following the gluttonous explosion of Carnival, traditional Orthodox Cypriots go without meat or dairy until Easter, which is 40 days.  In a moment of cultural solidarity and gastronomical experimentation, and I admit perhaps a moment of ascetic insanity, I decide to ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Flower Children and Drag: Carnival on Cyprus

On Friday night, I found myself talking geopolitics in Greek, gin-and-pineapple-juice in hand, with a man (I am pretty sure anyway) dressed in a parrot suit.  And I was wearing a mask and about 10 pounds of feathers.  Welcome to Carnival. I know that the Cyprus carnival must be a ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Sacrifice and Blood

There is nothing gained without sacrifice, nor freedom without blood. I was carrying eggs and juice back from the market, and I ran into a Cyprus army guard post.  That banner was written up in Greek and English, just in case you couldn't read one of them.   The army ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

TofuQuest: Cyprus

"Tofu is Chinese," the woman running the Philippine market told me.  "We don't have."  This was the third market I had been to and I was starting to get the message: there is no tofu in Cyprus. I live in a neighborhood in Nicosia that is changing rapidly, filling ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

Friends in High Places; or, a Meal.

Even though I've been in Cyprus for weeks now, it was only yesterday that I had a proper Cypriot meal. That's because mezedes, traditional tasting dishes that come out by the dozen, can really only be enjoyed in large groups. Which doesn't mean I haven't wanted ... read more

Madeline Blount

CyprusCyprus

No Border Underwear

Along the labyrinth of narrow streets that is the old walled city of Nicosia, many store fronts are boarded up, with dusty Coca -Cola signs suggesting that they've been shut since the 1970's, when intercommunal violence, barbed wire, and sand bags began to divide the town. When I ... read more

Madeline Blount

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