Thursday, 29 September 2016

Autumnal blues ...

Autumnal blues ... I don't think so. With the searing heat of this summer behind us, we are in that blissful state of living in what - in our life in the UK - would have been a perfect summer day. Blue skies, light winds and sunny with temperatures about 27°C - warm enough to potter around in shorts and t-shirts without having to seek shade wherever we go. In the Spring and Autumn there comes a time in Cyprus when you want/need to sit in the sun as sitting in the shade is slightly too cool. At night, the windows are open and the air conditioning is off, although last night we put a crocheted blanket on the bed just to snuggle under. Bliss.

With the imminent landing of Becky S. and Jason in nine days, thoughts are of preparations that may need to be made. Plentiful supplies of beer and wine spring to mind (inevitably) but also buying food to barbecue. Traditional Cypriot dishes may also be on the menu, and the ingredients needed will have to be on a shopping list in the next week.

Mixed news on the Cypriot economy trickles out now and again. Tourist numbers are up, although this benefits the economy less than in previous times due to the sheer number of All Inclusive holidays being purchased. These AI holidays are a boon for tourists on a limited budget but they do mean that local businesses do not benefit in the way they once did. People, apparently, do not investigate local bars and restuarants but stay within the hotel grounds as they have paid upfront for their sustenance. Rather like Pandora's Box, once the AI holidays are established there is no going back to the good old days.

This boom in tourism has been caused, I suspect, because the island is perceived as a safe destination for holidaymakers. Terrorism in Egypt, Tunisia, Turkey and other popular destinations has decimated their tourist industries and so Cyprus booms. It is a golden opportunity which it appears is unlikely to be grasped. Much of Cyprus is scruffy and dirty (and there are no signs that this is likely to change soon) and many tourist areas are expensive and perhaps not great value. Fly tipping, litter and a general lack of pride in public areas does not enhance the tourists' perception as a destination to return to over and over again.

Of course, for those of us who live here, we take all the above with a pinch of salt. We do not frequent tourist areas, and so will be unlikely to be ripped off as many report. I knew that many Mediterranean islands tend to be scruffy but it has a sort of "shabby chic" charm (almost). If I had a magic wand I would wish to change none of the above but would consign many of the taxi drivers to "reeducation centres", as used to happen in the old USSR, so they consider the error of their ways. If anything is guaranteed to discourage tourists from returning, these licensed bandits take first prize.

I wonder how many shopping days to Christmas? No I don't really ...

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