Thursday, 31 March 2016

"Eye Eye"

Ann's eye infection was dealt with at Polis Hospital this week and once again the much-maligned health service in Cyprus came up trumps. The initial consultation with a junior doctor last week did not improve matters and so Ann returned and decided to see the lovely Doctor Z, a consultant GP there. She had a careful look, prescribed antibiotic drops and anti inflammatory ointment, and wanted to send Ann down to Paphos Hospital. Ann pulled a face and then Doctor Z told her she could be added to the list of the eye specialist who was visiting Polis on Wednesday.

Back to the hospital yesterday and waited for the eye specialist to arrive. She had a number of appointments and we suspected Ann would be last. But Doctor Z arrived, went in to see the specialist and Ann was whisked in next. A grumpy pair of expats muttered about "friends at court" and I nodded in agreement, which did nothing to improve their humour.

The new treatment brought matters to a head and the infection started to weep and leak later in the afternoon. The eye was cleaned up, the swelling much reduced and Ann feeling much better. Great personal treatment and kindness from the two ladies at the hospital, together with the right treatment. So another big "thumbs up" to the local hospital and those who work there.

Monday, 28 March 2016

A Tale of Two Easters

One of the strange aspects of living here is that the Orthodox Church celebrates Easter at a different time of the year to the Anglican Church. This year Easter is celebrated here from 29th April, and is the most important festival of the year for Greek Cypriots. Many of the Cypriots we know do not eat meat during Lent, and there is an unearthly calm at the butchers' shops. And then, in the days running up to the Orthodox Good Friday, you would think the end of the world had been announced. The amount of meat bought is simply staggering.

We are gradually being drawn into the mysteries of ten pin bowling, and "strikes" and "spares" are part of our everyday vocabulary. Last Wednesday we played again, and Pam struggled to find "form" as the soccer pundits say on television. I played two good frames and surged into the lead until I was put back in my place when Ann came good in the final frame with two consecutive "strikes" to clinch that frame. All good fun and it makes for an entertaining time.

We took a run up to Kato Pyrgos yesterday and what a lovely drive through the mountains. We had a wander round the town and were amazed by the size and grandeur of the church there. No expense spared and it dwarfed the buildings around it. We did not go right up to the green line, with its minefields and bored UN troops. When my dear friend Dave Travis took me up there a couple of years ago he drove straight through the Greek Cypriot checkpoint with a wave and I had visions of the Turks opening fire on his car. But he was only kidding and we turned around and drove back into "our" part of Cyprus. If anything symbolises the tragic situation of modern day Cyprus, it is this "border" area with its troops and camps and observation posts. On one groups of hills there was a Greek Cypriot observation post, whose job it is to observe the Turks, a Turkish observation post (to do the reverse) and a UN observation post to check on the two factions observing each other. What a waste of time and money.

Ann picked up an eye infection a week or so ago, and the ointment prescribed has not really done anything. So back to Polis Hospital this morning and - no doubt - she will be sent to see a specialist in Paphos. When? The same day or the next day. For all the critics of the health service here, waiting days or week or months to see a specialist does not seem to happen. And, if we have to go to Paphos, it will be an opportunity to pick up some Perlenbacher in Lidls. Every cloud has a silver lining.

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

All good things come to those ...

Well it's been a marathon but Ann and I have finally got our new mobile phones from Cyta. It all started out calmly and rationally, and I ordered online (to get the discount) and the next day Cyta telephoned me. The girl with the American accent who called told me that, because I was not a Cypriot, there would be a €500 deposit for each phone. I asked whether this was discrimination but she did not seem to understand what I meant. She told told me I could get a document from the Ministry of the Interior in Nicosia, which would alleviate the need for a deposit. I said I would think about all of this and asked her to call back the next day.

No call came and so I decided to see the lovely Leonides in the Polis Cyta shop. I popped in and outlined the scenario. He immediately told me the girl was wrong and he would quite happily waive the deposit and fill in the form stating that I was a Cypriot resident. Here was the first hurdle. He asked me for my passport and it is, of course, out of date. Big problem as, when he entered the number on his computer, it was refused. Not to be outdone, I drove back to Argaka and collected Ann and her passport. Back to the shop we went and all was fine until he asked for the IBAN for our account, which was required for the Standing Order. We hadn't got that but I popped down to our bank, which was about two hundred metres away, and returned with the number. A short while later and Ann was the proud possessor of her new mobile.

Back at home she started to experiment with it and set it up with email addresses and Google passwords, so that she could enter the Google Play Store, where all the apps can be downloaded from. The next day I telephoned her but got no response. A few minutes later Ann telephoned me and said she had been unable to work out how to answer the phone. Fabulous.

Today Savvas and I went down to the Cyta shop and he smoothed the way. The contract was in his name, and the Standing Order was paid by us. I half expected the mobile I had decided upon to be out of stock, but he produced it out of a drawer as if by magic. During the time I was in there I was aware of an increasingly irate and rude German giving the girl on the front desk a hard time. Apparently he had purchased €30 of credit, but when he went to use the phone today it told him he had no credit left. The girl was incredibly patient but he just got more and more aggressive. (I remember when my phone dialled from my pocket - in the days before I learned to lock the keyboard - and exhausted my credit). In any event he was still ranting and raging, with quite a queue behind him, when I left with my new phone. As Leonides told me, customers were either polite or rude. The staff in the bent over backwards to help the polite ones but the others ...

So now I am sitting impatiently for my new phone to charge, drumming my fingers. We are off to the Bowling Alley later to play with our friend Pam. It is about 45 years since I last played. We shall see whether time has been kind or not. Ann and I are just hoping there is automatic scoring.