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Installment 17: January 18, 2002

Dear all,

Remember us? Jimmy and Janie who moved halfway around the world last year and promised to keep in touch? No? Oh, well. Friends come and go.

We just passed our one-year mark here in Cyprus. In honor of that, and because I haven’t written in so long, I decided that I wouldn’t write an installment at all.

Below you will enjoy a “different” perspective on Cyprus by three "different" guest authors. Please temper your judgments with the knowledge that a) all entries were made at the tail end of an exhausting whirlwind of eating, drinking, hanging around and imitating dancing hamsters b) some edits unfortunately had to be made, in order to fit the needs of the audience (and avoid slandering anyone too blatantly). If you need the cuts, please let me know and I’ll send the “naughty installment” c) much of what you read is nothing but pure propaganda.

We still miss you all, even if you think we’re absolute wackos after you find out the real truth. Then again, would that be news to any of you?

Many hugs,
Jimmy and Janie    


Jimmy has administered another KEO tall-boy to curb my fear of authoring a segment of the “installment”, an email that I anticipate amongst my inbox filled with promises of low interest rates (and entertaining ladies). 

So here it goes, just please excuse my inability to wax eloquent as guest authors have done before and hold on for a Cypriotic journey through my eyes.

Our travels to Cyprus came by way of Amsterdam (this is just an opportunity to plug the airport there).  Its very European, as one would guess, and provides the weary traveler with amenities beyond a plastic chair and porcelain throne.  If you have the chance, fly through this airport. 

Once in route to Cyprus our excitement grew as we read the in-flight magazine.  Stories of the Hash House Harriers, photos of villages and ancient ruins, and moufflon (a sheep like animal that lives in the Troodos mountains) turned our heavy eyes bright once again as we neared our destination. 

We passed through customs and were able to use some of our Cyprus knowledge when interviewed by a representative from the CTO (Cyprus Tourism Office) and told him we had traveled from California just to see the moufflon and that we would be staying in the Troodos mountains. 

Bags claimed, we were greeted by our gracious hosts along with Kurt and Sheree and chauffeured to base camp in Nicosia on the wrong (left) side of the road.  We dropped our bags in the marble palace and it was off to eat too much Meze (a traditional dinner with thirty two courses).  The next morning we were up early for a day of skiing in the Troodos.  We were able to rent ski kits from the British military installment and spent the afternoon catching big air all around the mountain.  Jimmy said I don’t need to write any more so we are gonna go play around. 

A few last notes: Winning at the horse races, really meant losing at the horse races. 

Hilarion is amazing (aol keyword search: Hilarion). 

Jimmy said I need to get another KEO tall-boy.

More adventures from the Janie and Jimmy Bed and Breakfast Tour Guide Service.  Although it may be illegal to have uncertified tour guides showing tourists around Cyprus, I must say that the J & J show is a pleasant and enjoyable experience and one that you should surely partake of should you happen to find yourself in the country of Cyprus for a layover or something.

If you act now, you too can experience the “Friends, Moufflon, and Halloumi Package” -  a seven day and night romp through glorious Cyprus. You will see the old, the new, and the bizarre including:

Your friends from Austin greeting you at the Larnaka airport! WOW! How did Kurt and Sheree happen to be at the airport as the same time as Jimmy and Janie? And How did they know that Ryan, Catherine and Connell would be there too?

A lovely dinner of meze – complete with a copious supply of olives and our first introduction to the ultimate food of the gods…HALLOUMI CHEESE. The rest of the trip will be just a set of staged events scheduled around the eating of the HALLOUMI. Yummmmmm. I have no idea how I have lived this long without this cheese-nectar. (All non-cheese eaters may replace the word Halloumi for the remainder of this advertisement with their favorite non-cheese Greek food because chances are it is included in this mega-meal!)

The meze will be just enough energy food to prepare you for a grueling day of extreme skiing with borrowed ski paraphernalia from the UN stockade of skiing equipment. Who knew the UN would support your extreme habits? Despite your tired and weary ski-spent muscle fatigue, you may also happen upon the elusive MOUFFLON. Ahhhh, the moufflon. This endangered bighorn sheep can be found only in Cyprus and happens to be the icon found on every Cyprus Airways airplane. You will be able to see these sheep in an enclosure in the Troodos Mountains. Ahhhh, the moufflon.

Your next day will take you to North Cyprus to the town of Bellapais and home of the famous moufflon souvenir creator. J & J will surprise you all with your own souvenir moufflon. Ahhh, the moufflon. You will sit under the Tree of Idleness (birthplace of one Catherine Gibbons). You will dine on a tasty hallumi dinner in __________ and return to South Cyprus, proud owners of your new moufflon.

After a jolly night of much KEO beer (or too much KEO beer) and hallumi, you will awake to a morning swim off the coast of Larnaka, speedos and all and then return home to begin the cooking of a great meal, perhaps a Christmas meal….yummmmm……Moms, you will be proud when your children even make gravy. A spoon may happen to get lodged into the sweet potatoes and may remain there throughout the meal, but besides that…..those kids will do OK!

The next morning you will think about hallumi and share Christmas gifts. Purple chiffon looks soooo great on Janie and Catherine will be radiant with her Webster pillow. You will then be whisked away to  Horse Racing where you will hang out with more UN-types and bet on some real winners.

The next day will find you at Saint Hillarion Castle, talking about how impossible it must have been to live without hallumi so many years ago. You will gaze upon the amazing views of North Cyprus from the Castle.

The next day of Cyprus fun, you will drive up to Aphrodites Rock, to Paphos, dine on more Hallumi and see the house of Dionysus……yummmm wine……

Your final day you will go to North Nicosia where you will eat more hallumi and wander around the old town and market area.  A strange man may even offer to take his photo with Catherine. How exciting!!!

Wow! I can hardly believe that this offer is still available. If you act now, we will throw in a mysterious woman who will offer to take your photos during dinner and will then disappear after taking individual photos of each diner, group shots of all the men, group shots of all the women and then a final group shot.

Where will she run off to??? How fun! Act now!


Hmm…well, what can I say?  It’s been wonderful seeing Jimmy and Janie in their new humble diplomatic digs.  They have lots of exquisite furnishings, including several matching glass-topped tables, all hand-selected by Jimmy himself. 

They also have a selection of pets to help fill the void left by the absence of Nick and Lucy: three precious little cats they just adore with their own personalized food bowls (Miss Kitty, Miss Kitten, and Mugsly, aren’t those the cutest names ever?), and a shaggy dog named scantron or clap-on or something, apparently a treasured gift to Janie from Jimmy on their first wedding anniversary.  When they can find the time to pull themselves away from their cute little pets, they have many other new hobbies. 

Janie has a vast herb and flower garden, from which she dries buds and seeds and sells little handmade gifts made from them in the market once a month.  Jimmy has started his own tree- and lawn-maintenance company with some children in the neighborhood, and donates all the proceeds to building a vast playland and treehouse for the children right on his own property. 

Now, you all are wondering, I am sure, when are these two kind and generous souls going to grace us with some little darlings of their own?  Well, I won’t be the one to give it away, but, well, let’s just say that I am staying in a room that is decorated as a NURSERY.  Enough said. 

So busy are these two with their kind deeds and busy work at the embassy that they rarely even have time anymore for running those crazy races they used to do.  Instead, they spend all their free time making gourmet meals and entertaining friends, which seems to suit them both much better, although they have taken to unbuttoning their trousers after each meal. 

When they don’t have time to cook one of these meals, they often dine out, and luckily Cyprus has many fine restaurants to offer.  TGI Fridays, Kenny Roger’s Roasters, Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, and McDonald’s to just name a few.  It’s really lucky that they can find these here, because the other “local” places leave much to be desired.  I mean, why does a decent chicken fried steak have to be so difficult to prepare?  I guess it’s cute for these people to pretend to have their own customs and language for the tourists, but I don’t really go for that touristy stuff. 

However, for the most part, I have been pleasantly surprised by this beautiful land, and I can see now that Janie and Jimmy aren’t completely surrounded by heathens.  We went skiing, saw an ancient abbey and the most amazing castle I’ve ever seen (well, a close tie with Edinburgh), mosaics, tombs, horse races, sloggies, moufflons, dancing Kung-Fu hamsters, snakes in jars, echo chambers, and Emmanuel Lewis. 

We even went swimming on Christmas Day, thanks to some incredibly annoying person among us who shall remain nameless.  Of course, we all decided to swim in the freezing Mediterranean.  Who wouldn’t? 

Well, I guess I’d better go, Janie is calling us to help her with her scrapbooking to preserve the memories of the trip.  We found special labels with Greek phrases on them saying funny things; I plan to put the “Just Goofin’ Around in Greece!” sticker above our heads in group photos (I couldn’t find any that said Cyprus, but that’s close enough, I’ll probably forget the name of this place in a couple of years anyway).

So, my advice is, try it if you can, it is really cool here.  Although, I am going to Ireland next, thank God, maybe I can finally find somebody who speaks English.  They should be much easier to understand.



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