Cyprus, like… Australia

duck boat

You have suffered the crisis, you were forced to leave Greece, you ended up in Cyprus, you were happy that at least you are going to be just next door to your folks, and now, five years later, you have managed to visit only once.

Before I moved to Cyprus, one of the main reasons I could console friends and relatives was the short distance. “It’s an island of our own” they told me, “one hour away” they said, “you will be in Athens all the time” they also said, but what they didn’t tell me was how much isolated Cyprus really is, even for its own people.

Now, after five years and only one visit to Greece, I’m fed up because it’s tragic for a family to have difficulties going at least once a year to Greece. I’m not talking about the other side of the globe, I’m not asking for cheap tickets, I’m not even asking for a plane if I can’t afford it; I’m only asking for what should be self-evident.

To answer your question, there is no passenger ship from Cyprus to Greece. The only way to travel from and to the island is by plane. Among the few negative things about this island, this is probably the most outrageous of them all. I couldn’t even grasp it when I first heard about it. Imagine living in Cyprus and being afraid of flights. You simply accept that you’ll never get out of here. Or imagine wanting at some point to take a road/bike trip across Europe. Guess what? You can’t.

Yes, I very well know I can find cheap tickets if I book them some months in advance, but sorry, how many employees do you know that can schedule their leave from work six months in advance? And if your company never shuts down, you are royally screwed until the holy moment comes when they decide when you are allowed to take a leave.

I mean to say, for all of us regular workers and especially immigrants, you may know you’ll take a leave around two months earlier at most, and that is rarely combined with the exact time the rest of the family can take some time off also. So, for me, two months in advance and four return tickets Larnaca-Athens, most probably for August, Christmas or Easter, cost a minimum of 700-800 Euros, and that’s for low cost flights with a single handbag. My one and only trip all these years to Greece, in Christmas 2015, cost us 950 Euros. Keep in mind, I’m only talking about the cost of the plane tickets.

One might argue that if we go one by one, we can share the yearning for home. Tell you what, the ‘grandma’ invention doesn’t apply here in the ‘Australias’. Unless you have someone to take care of the children in a time of need, and if you are already obliged at work with constant little fevers, celebrations and other kid matters, the last thing that crosses your mind is a lonely leisure trip, just because you can’t afford to spend a whole monthly salary for plane tickets, or because you are not that good a swimmer or something.

psilikatzou 02

Psilikatzou (aka Constantina Delimitrou) was born in Piraeus in 1973, has a blog since 2005, two books, one husband, two kids, two lemon trees and a permanent mountain of clothes for ironing in Limassol, Cyprus, where the damn Crisis sent her before it hit Cyprus of course. Make some coffee.

 

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