Harrumph. I’d had just about enough of sitting upright all day with an increasingly resistant-to-medicine pain in my side despite the resplendent views on our way down the north slopes of Kantara castle. You can read about that lovely locale in my last post.
Karagöz egged me on as I engaged in a bit of lackluster behavior as it relates to being a back seat driver – complicated of course by my role as navigatrix. Finally, the little chorus of dancing lady puppets pulled the lever on my seat, reclined my chair & placed a cold compress over my eyes, leaving the navigation – not to mention the driving – to M.
As we left the cool breezes of the Kantara mountaintop ( &the scents of cedar, juniper and pine) for the smog of the city limits, M. Indicated that he was ready for my emotional return. This was the case as all of a sudden, we found ourselves driving right into a military compound that was in the middle of the city.
For those of you who read about our scary encounter with a Turkish military post in the late-night a few weeks ago, we did not want to repeat this experience at all. It was, however, too late, we were at the guard post and guards were using under – the – car mirrors to check for bombs. I saw sweat coming down my husband’s neck. The puppets all crowded under the seats. Kenne, The puppet known as the queen of manners and maintenance of ladylike behavior, however, hopped up on my right shoulder and swacked a smile on my face in the daintiest way possible. I was, of course on the side of the window that the soldiers would see first.
And then a miracle happened. The two young guards saluted M. who saluted back as they had referred to him as an officer – which he was when he was in the Turkish military. They presumed we were in Cyprus on vacation. After asking directions through the compound, they let us go – with soldiers saluting us all the way. We could not wait to get the hell out of there in case our subterfuge was discovered.
Bucking up like a buttercup (as my sister and mother say), I began to place our position on the map as it related to our goal location – the White Pearl Hotel in Kyrenia’s harbor district. We made it out of the military compound holiday villas and breathed a sigh of relief. And there in front of us was the white pearl.
Recommended by the Lonely Planet as a mid-range option with a fabulous roof deck lokanta and bar – we decided to try our luck on finding a room as it was off season. We found their last room – just off the reception area and smelling like anti-mold products but a bed for the night. Perhaps the other rooms are better but I’d check it out before booking. Also, their breakfast is the McDonald’s, nasty version of kahvaltı.
After wandering around the town a bit, enjoying all of the lovely old doors (see below), abandoned Greek houses and an ancient mosque, we headed home for a pre-dinner nap. As my pain and fatigue set in – M. went out on his own. Returning with a delicious salad covered in shredded grilled haloumi cheese & a sucuk tost,, he regaled me with tales from the balık lokanta (Fish restaurant) full of wealthy wealthy Turkish women imploring their husbands on the telephone to lose no more than 10,000 lira that night. Allah-hallah!
As the women picked at salads and their cell phones, their children, none more than five years old, all played soundlessly with their iPhones or iPads. There was no giggling, no child’s play, no poking one another, no playing with food. In fact sometimes the mothers got off their cell phones long enough to shovel a bite of this or that in their child’s mouth. We saw so many wealthy Turks in town to gamble – not to mention people from the Arabian Peninsula. We found this depressing.
Cyprus is full of casinos – as well as out-of-the-way girly clubs literally in the middle of nowhere all over the place. I could clearly smell human trafficking in those spots and my heart ached. It’s a depressing reality about how Turkish and Northern Cypriots and the Northern Cypriot economy is pushed into a corner with respect to making money…. Even Celebi the modern puppet shook his head at these realities.
Remembering all this, I found myself Losing my taste for the delicious repast brought to me by my kind husband, so I konked out feeling sad about the state of the world. And that was Kyrenia.