I am in the Cypriot seaside resort town of Paphos, a UNESCO World Heritage site because of its archaeological treasures. I am sharing an apartment near the water with a part time tenant who sneaks in from the veranda. She responds to “kitty” even though in Greek she is “γaτάκι” –pronounced “ghataki.”
Paphos is lovely, with a long stretch of beaches and an historic harbor. However, the economic crisis is more obvious here than Larnaca or Nicosia, with entire blocks shut down in tourist areas and new housing developments suspended in mid-construction. Up on the hill, the indoor mall of familiar retail stores is a novelty and seems to be surviving. With deep guilt, I went there yesterday to stop sweating, and bought a blouse after I enjoyed a grilled salmon salad at Wagamama. This made me feel very American and grown up, as well as self-conscious about the way my feet look after 300 miles of walking in flip flops.
The ruins here are still being excavated and really give you the sense of the thrill that keeps archaeologists working in blistering heat to wipe grains of sand off of 3 ton rocks. Very inspiring to imagine the buildings and lives of people who lived 3,000 years ago! Kato Paphos is famous for the mosaics on the floors of Roman houses built circa 500 BCE.
Some other interesting things in Paphos:
I am really glad I came to Cyprus — strategically located to be the darling of empire builders, and home to friendly neighbors, complicated national politics, a gorgeous coastline, 4,000 years of antiquities, cool pottery, and a kind of weird flag.