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Flash (Pointe Noire) by Jain

Hello all! Welcome back! As the world is in a virtual lock down and as the weather warms up, I thought it will be fitting to talk about traveling. Traveling can have many aspects with it, but I will be only talking about the different types of transportation and tips while in transit.

Within Cyprus, there is primarily three different transportation options. The first one is walking. Sometimes, I occasionally walk around my apartment like for an hour or so and see some local sites. There are some notable sites around my area. Some of these sites include restaurants, markets, and other related things. However, there is one site that I really enjoyed seeing. It’s not far away from my place, but Metochi Kykkou is a relaxing picturesque garden where it has stunning architecture and exotic animals including peacocks, emu, turkeys, and others. (There are no tigers, sorry to my Tiger King fans). Below are some pictures from it.

Another option is by using the Nicosia bus system (OSEL). If you ever plan on going to UNIC, there are two direct bus routes that goes directly from UNIC to old town. These routes are the 123 and the 259. For a typical bus fare, it cost around €1.50 one way. However, for students, there is a student discount of €0.75. These buses are pretty much what you expect. The only exception is that they don’t have a string to pull on, but instead a button to press on to get out. For some locals, they will yell στάση or stasi.

Besides the local bus system, there is also the Intercity buses. These buses, as the name implies, goes between major Cypriots cities. Depending on how far you go, it can go from €5-10 one way. In some instances, I have uses these buses to go to Ayia Napa, Larnaca, and Limassol. Typically, they are always almost packed, especially during holidays.

If you’re planning to travel to Northern Cyprus, there isn’t a strong reliable transportation network. From what I heard from locals and other Global Semesters students there is a thing called a ‘Dolmush’. A ‘Dolmush’ is a shared taxi service. This service is a combination of both a taxi service and a bus service. In order to get into one, you will have to “hail” one down. If you’re lucky, you might find a ‘Dolmush’ going to your intended location. However, for most ‘Dolmush’, you have to be aware of its signage of where it’s going before hailing it down.

The last transportation option within Cyprus is Bolt. Bolt is very similar to Uber and Lyft back in the States. You can go from one place to another in a reasonable amount of time and money. In some instances, similar to the States, you can have detailed conversation with one of the drivers. For example, a couple were going back home and was just having a normal conversation, but out of the blue, our Bolt driver started to play pop music and was dancing. Yes, dancing. The only main difference is that most Bolt drivers drive Mercedes Benz. I don’t know why they do, but from what I observed Mercedes Benz are fairly common within Europe.

Here is a picture of us inside a Bolt. Left to right: your favorite blogger, Sal, and Mckenzie. Thanks for the picture Sal

Outside of Cyprus, there is only one way of getting out and obviously that’s by plane. Within the European Union and its other related countries, you can get cheap airplane tickets. The primary reason stems from cheap international budget airlines. Some of these airlines include easyJet, Ryanair, Wizzair, and others. Intially, this past week, I was supposed to enjoy my spring break trip in Switzerland. Yet, like everyone else in the world, it was cancelled. The one benefit with intra European flights or any departing European flights is that in an event of a flight cancellation, you’re entitled to a full refund. This is good to know if you’re strapped for cash and if your flight is cancelled. Anyways, this round trip airport ticket was less $100. You can never find these prices within the the US!

While in transit, there will be some type of passport control. As American citizen, I’m privilege with the immense power of my passport. With my passport, I can travel to around 185 counties visa free or visa on arrival. For some non-American, they don’t have the same power. As a result, when I had a layover in London, I was able to freely move around London proper without any passport restrictions!

During my layover in London, I was using the London Underground

Lastly, if you’re planning to travel to a foreign place make sure you have enough money! I know this might be a shocker for most of you, but outside the US, they don’t use the dollar! Also, for some US credit cardholder, some standard credit card companies are not valid in other countries. For example, I have a Discover card and while I was in Cyprus, there were numerous times where my card was denied.

Anyways, you have reached the end of this entry, come back next week for my TANGible adventures!

Money

Money, get away

Get a good job with more pay and you’re O.K.

Money, it’s a gas

Money- Pink Floyd

Hello All! Welcome back! As most of us take some time to reflect, either because of religious celebrations or being with family/ others, I will be talking about budgeting and other financial logistics with studying abroad.

If you’re planning to go abroad either if it’s two weeks or a whole semester/longer, money is a big expense to consider. While abroad, its tempting to spend more given you’re in a new diverse place, but prolonged spending can be bad. Anyways, I will be giving you some pointers that I learned in Cyprus with regards to budgeting.

To start off, when compared to SU and for most American colleges, Cyprus has a lower standard of living. This can be seen with cheaper accommodations, tuition, and in some cases some food products. With this in mind, this is one positive aspect with going abroad to Cyprus; it’s cheaper then America

If you don’t know, Cyprus uses the Euro. Here was a group effort to cover the bill via MANY Euro coins.

Before coming to Cyprus, I already devised a budget on how much to spend throughout the whole semester (per month and per day.) On average, I set a budget of roughly $21 per day. However, after a month and a half, I was well below the budget I set for myself.

One way that I achieve this was by buying in bulk, limiting my expenses to buying common staples, and making my own meals. For example, at the beginning of every week I would go to the store and get some needed supplies. One thing that I always get was this Cypriot bread. This bread was very affordable and fairly fresh. I used this everyday ranging from making sandwiches, toast, or something entirely random (pizza). Also, some other common foods that I got were milk, eggs, rice, pasta, and others. On most week nights, you would likely see me in my apartment then compare somewhere else.

Another way I cut my expenses was by not going out as much. The one big mistake that I have seen with most students abroad is that they go out way more than compared to the States. It could be a whole set of factors ranging from independence, to the honeymoon status of being abroad, to alcohol. If you plan to go out extensively, try pacing yourself. Most places will still be there; they are not going to disappear. However, once in a blue moon, if I have saved enough, I would go out with some of my friends either to fancy new restaurant I never been too or to some club.

This was taken during Green Monday. Carter and I are having a Beyond Meat Burger at this vegan place called Evergreen. It actually taste like real meal! Before, I forget, happy Earth Day and please keep the environment clean! Thanks for the picture Carter!

Similarly, in a bid to lower my cost, I limited my travels outside of my host country. Before everything closed, I had pre planed one international trip and was in the process of planning another international trip with some SU friends and some friends that I have met over here. In comparison, I knew of others who were traveling every weekend to some place in Europe/Africa/Middle East. There are many pros and cons with international traveling in Europe, but before I delve into it, I will be talking about it next week.

Speaking of friends, one way that I saved money was by sharing with others. For most of the time, it was primarily shared meals, but it can also included transportation and other miscellaneous options. Usually, with shared meals, we would have agreed beforehand who would make said meal that night and rotated every week or so. Although, my time was short, there was some times of shared meals/parties ranging from a pizza night to a fried rice night to an Indian night. You never know who you might meet! It doesn’t hurt to meet with new people!

This was our Indian night. Left to right: Caroline, Mariana, your favorite blogger, Jay (my roommate), and Marianna. Not included in this picture Sal. Thanks for the picture Sal!

Anyways, until next time, please come back to my TANGible adventures!

Come Together

Come together, right now

Over me

Come Together-The Beatles

Hello all! As some of you guys are practicing Easter/ Passover/ or some other religious activity. I think it will be fitting for this week to talk about religion.

In Cyprus, religion is more prominent in society then compare to the States. This can be seen with churches and mosque at every corner and typically secular places being religious (school, workplace, and parks). For most Greek Cypriots, they practice Greek Orthodox, not your common Christianity/ Catholicism/ or other Christian denomination. As a result, given some minor discrepancies with regards to calendar systems and other biblical events, they don’t celebrate Easter at the same time as most Christian denomination. In addition, Easter is not a set date every year, it varies. For this year, Greek Orthodox Christian celebrate Easter on April 19th

Before Easter Sunday, there is a weeks worth of holy gathering. This week goes as follow:

Lazarus Saturday:

As the name implies, is the day when Lazarus, a friend of Jesus, was brought back from the dead

Palm Sunday:

This a significant day when Jesus comes back into Jerusalem and the inhabitants declared him their king. This can be seen with religious figures holding olive branches to signified the welcoming of Jesus

Here is a picture of me at Ayia Napa Cathedral in Limmasol

Holy Monday:

Commemorates Joseph the Patriarch, the son of Jacob, and the cursing of a fig tree

Holy Tuesday:

Commemorates the Parable of the Ten Virgins

Holy Wednesday:

Commemorates the Bargain of Judas and the Parable of the Two Debtors. The primary focus of Holy Wednesday are of confession and repentance

Here is a picture of Metochi Kykkou and the church in Nicosia

Holy Thursday:

Commemorates with the washing of feet’s and this was the day when the last supper occurred. Typically, on this day you will see people cleaning their homes and having stavrokouloura (cross-shaped buns) and dye their eggs red.

Good Friday or Great Friday:

For Orthodox Christians, this day represents Jesus death. In Cypriots churches, you will most likely see floral arrangement around the body of Christ called Epitafios

Here is a picture of Bellapais Abbey in Kyrenia

Holy Saturday:

This day signifies the continued morning of Jesus. Most service is quiet, up until midnight were becomes loud with music and candlelight. In most Cypriots churches, you will see the burning of Judas in a huge bonfire. Judas was one of Jesus disciple who betrayed Jesus. On this day is the official end of Sarakosti lent period. This period last 40 days that goes from Green Monday til Holy Saturday. This period signifies the fasting of red meat and their products, and fish/seafoods. The purpose is to cleanse the soul. Christos Anesti is phrase that is commonly spoken which means Christ’s Risen in Greek.

Here is a picture of the interior of the Holy Cross Church in Nicosia

Pascha or Easter:

Celebrates the resurrection of Jesus. On this day, most Cypriots, have a luscious feast. Some of the major traditional dishes include red eggs, avkotes, fiaoutes, paskies, tiropites, and koulouria. This is one most celebrated holiday throughout the whole year!

As mentioned in the previous blog post, the island is ethically divide, but it’s also religiously divide. In the southern portion of the island, almost 90% of the population practice Christian orthodox. In the northern portion of the island, almost 99% of the population practice Sunni Islam.

In the northern side, most Turkish Cypriots practice Sunni Islam. Although, they don’t celebrate Easter, they have do similarly big holiday. This holiday is called Ramadan.

Here is a picture of a elaborate mosque in Northern Cyprus

Ramadan varies every year, as similar to Easter. It’s primary determined by the lunar Islamic calendar. Ramadan last roughly a month. For this year, Ramadan is happening on April 23rd.

Participants of Ramadan primarily fast for roughly a month everyday starting from sunrise to sunset. In addition, most donate, pray, read the Quran, and abstain from bad deeds. The meal before sunrise is called suhur, well the meal after sunset is called iftar. Iftar is usually celebrate in a banquet setting.

Here is a picture of Lala Mustafa Pasa Mosque in Famugusta

The end of Ramadan is signified by Eid al Fitr. At the end of Ramadan, a three day holiday, Şeker Bayram, is followed

Common greetings during Ramadan include Ramadan mubarak and Ramadan kareem.

Anyways, Kalo Pascha (Happy Easter), Ramadan mubarak (blessed Ramadan), or for my other folks have a great week!

Shaky Ground

When the sun is in my eyes

Will we still be dancing

On shaky ground

Shaky Ground- Freedom Fry

Hello all! Welcome back again! As the world mostly enjoy a normal week. These past few weeks have been mostly patriotic for most Cypriots. For all of my political science and history majors or anyone in between, this is your blog post! This week, I will be discussing the contemporary complex history of Cyprus.

Within these past two weeks, predominantly Greek Cypriots have been extremely patriotic. The reason stems from two federal holidays.

The first federal holiday occurred on March 25th. On March 25th, most Greek Cypriots celebrate Greek National Day.

As the name implies, this holiday celebrates the day when Greece starts its struggle for independence from the Ottomans in 1821. Usually, you will see school children and armed personal taking part in public parades

A typical Greek Independence Day parade

The other holiday that occurs during this time is Cyprus National Day also known as EOKA Day (named for the independence fighters).

Cyprus National Day occurs every April 1st. No, it’s not a April fool’s joke. This day is suppose to signified the start of Greek Cypriot insurgence against British rule in 1955. However, this insurgence was one sided on the basis that it wanted enosis with Greece. Enosis means union.

Throughout the Republic of Cyprus, you will see a lot of Greek and Cypriots flags

Within the island there is a sizable minority that was worried about a Greek Cypriot government. This group which has been relatively absent for most of the time are the Turkish Cypriots.

After a long struggle, Cypriots were granted independence in 1960 with a joint Greek/Turkish government. In addition, under the terms of independence, Cyprus was granted guarantor powers by the UK, Greece, and Turkey.

For about the same amount of time, both the Greek and Turkish Cypriots have inhabited Cyprus. This diversity stems back from Cyprus complex history where for most of its time, it has been a colony of someone. This ranges from the British, the Greeks, the Ottomans, the Venetians, the Templars, The Romans, the Byzantine, the Phoenicians, the Assyrians, the Egyptians, the Persian, and the Franks. I bet you can repeat that in one setting!

Anyways, with this Greek/ Turkish split, there is significant tension between them. This tension reach a climatic point when the democratic elected Cypriot government was overthrow in 1974 and a subsequent military government was installed which called for enosis with Greece. Freaked out, Turkey with Turkish Cypriots invaded Cyprus from the northern end. After a few months, a stalemate occurred and a UN resolution passed. In this UN resolution, Cyprus was divided along a green line. The northern portion will be under the control of the Turkish Cypriots, well the southern portion will be under the control of the Greek Cypriots. In the end, since 1974, Cyprus has been divided.

In recent years, there has been some improvements with the opening of borders crossing, more political dialogue, and more ethnic dialogue.

Yet, there are some improvements that can be made. Although not prominent, ethnic dissent is still visible with either one or the other blaming them for the whole division. Another one, is the lack of bridging the linguistic gap. When I was in the northern side, there was only Turkish and English. Likewise, in the southern side there was only Greek and English. Also, with recent events (e.g. COVID-19, The US Syria strike, Turkey’s “coup”, and recent breakdown in Cyprus talks) hasn’t help the situation

As a political science major, it’s very important to hear all views, even though it might not be the same view that you support. In a polarized world, we shouldn’t build division with one another, but we should built caring connections with one another.

Anyhow, I appreciate you guys for reading this! Until next time!