Woke up, the sun was shining and we were still not in Cyprus. Excellent, I am getting a whole night’s sleep on this ferry I thought and fell asleep again. We arrived at 8 something
Woke up, the sun was shining and we were still not in Cyprus. Excellent, I am getting a whole night’s sleep on this ferry I thought and fell asleep again. We arrived at 8 something in Girne. The custom officers were curious about my board games, but not excessively so. I tried to figure out how to buy a ticket to where from here, but it wasn’t easy.
The sun shone very hard on my sleepy unwashed head. I dragged my feet behind me and tried to find kebab but in this city there was nothing but real estate firms. I followed the street signs towards Lefkosia/Nicosia and the road went up and up and up and my body screamed of tiredness. I rounded a corner and found a bus stop after a roundabout and I sat on the bench and was apathetic for a while. People came and hitchhiked where I was. This wasn’t a good place, and there were too many people doing the same as I wanted to, so I forced myself further uphill till I found a nice little parking place, excellent for picking up hitchhikers.
After 2 sunny minutes and 20 dusty cars a truck stopped. He didn’t care to use the fine parking spot I had found for him, but blocked the street behind him so I was quick to get in and together we climbed the mountain. Like often when hitchhiking in these parts, my conversation with the driver consisted of me waiting till the scenery was especially appealing, and then turning to the driver, putting the thumb and finger together and saying “guzel”, (beautiful, or good).
Lefkosia/Nicosia was situated on a plain and had big advertisement signs on its buildings. For 10 seconds it looked like Tokyo, but it wasn’t really. I got out of the truck and started walking towards the city center. Found an internet cafe and had a message from the Cyprus gang saying that they had been unable to arrange a SEIGO session at Lefkosia university. I surfed around to look for strategy game people in Cyprus (I had got no replies from boardgamegeek.com). I found one profile that had “strategy games” as one of his interests. He also liked soft kissing and hardcore and was ok with married men but would not meet younger or fat men.
I decided to be open-minded and drop him a line to ask if he was interested in a strategy game session. After all, I have played with several heterosexual girls without them touching me during the game, so this should work as well. However, it wasn’t possible to give Nicola25 a message without making my on profile. And making a profile on GayCrawler.com didn’t feel fair to the rest of the community. False marketing that would be.
But I did find a strategy game store; apparently the first of its kind on the island. I want a copy of SEIGO to lie in that store.
Continued walking through this extremely hot part of Lefkosia/Nicosia, and after an hour I was in the old town. I had looked up some hotels, one of which was on the occupied side. I studied a map for a while and then I asked a man on the street if he could help me. He looked at the name of the hotel and said “they will steal all your stuff”. He seemed pretty sure about it. I wasn’t too sure, but at least I got a bad feeling. I found the tourist info and asked for hotels and a woman gave me a flyer for the same one that I’d just been warned for. “Is that the only hotel on the island?” I asked but she didn’t understand my question. We played with words for a while till she understood that I was looking for a thing called “alternatives”, but she had none. I looked for the place anyway, and eventually I found it and walked up the stairs. “You will be living with this student” a man said and pointed at another man and wanted 10 € for it. The way they were looking at me … their impatience … made me turn around and walk away.
Finally I found a wall. A Berlin Wall. On the other side there was a UN flag. Wow, can you believe that the European Union – the symbol of safety – has a border guarded by the United Nations? That’s good! That’s where EU should be. I wanted to get over to the other side and started to follow the wall to find a hole. It was very complicated since no streets leaped next to the wall. So I went down a street, found the wall, took a picture, walked up the street, found a parallel street, walked down the next street, found the wall, took a picture, walked up the street, followed the parallel street, took the next street down to the wall, took a picture… I spent hours doing this, but there were no holes in the wall. The stupid wall pissed me off, and when I found a big red gate with Turkish flags on it I took out my passport and knocked on the doors. “Hello!” “Hello!” Let me inside my Union! You have no right to keep me out here!”
No one heard me. I was at the end of the old city, and had to climb down from the old city wall. I lost hope to find a pass, but continued doing what I was doing since my brain hadn’t been washed and refreshed for a while, since it was hot and since I was carrying around a big stupid cardboard box with board games based on the Japanese writing system. Sometimes the wall look like a fenced paintball-area, and in one of those segments I found a soldier running. I caught his attention and he said “no photo no photo” and I tried to ask how I could get over. He explained that I should go to the opposite side of the old city and then he continued running. On the way back I stopped for a durum and an ayran and then I found the tourist information from before. It was closed now, but a policeman showed me the way to the crossing point. I know I sound like a very childish and inexperienced person now, but it was really cool to cross the UN buffer zone. In the middle of it there was a shop where you could have your own t-shirt printed. Yes, of course, why not.
There was no passport control on the free side of the UN buffer zone; the road simply led into the old city again and ended on Ledras, the main shopping street. I sat down on a bench and was very tired for a while. The Southern side was really different. It was much … richer and more … superficial. I had addresses to a few cheap hotels, but they were all full, except one that cost 30 €. It was three times more than the hotel on the occupied side, but I was too tired to walk another kilometer. I paid, got a key, crept up the stairs, opened the door and laid down on the bed. My trench feet looked like sheep brains, my brain looked like a scouring rag, my rags looked like shit and all my shit got wet when I took a shower and washed my clothes since all the water ran directly from the shower into the bedroom where I had put all my stuff on the floor.
But nothing could stop me from feeling extremely good that late afternoon/early night. There is nothing like a bed. A warm, soft and safe bed. Just for me.
I started looking around for Ant Comics (the name of Cyprus’ most well-sorted strategy game- and comic store) and found it a few hours after closing time. There was a restaurant nearby and people sat by tables directly on the street drinking and eating. I got a feeling that they knew the people in Ant Comics and walked up to them. My feeling was right; they told me that the owner was on a party tonight and wouldn´t make it to the shop until tomorrow afternoon.
I found an internet cafe and checked my e-mail. My uncle had written that my stepmom and brother would come to Sweden this summer. Wow, that changed everything, the whole travel schedule. Suddenly I got a feeling that I was on an island very far from Sweden, like a cat who climbed up in a tree to wait for the firemen. Can I still hitchhike all EU countries? Or do I need to skip some? What countries to skip? I went home to the hotel and picked up my map of Europe and then sat on a bench on Ledras, trying to come up with a new plan.
Next to me was a Chinese guy sitting. He came from Dalian in North-Eastern China and was studying tourism in Cyprus. He didn’t like it here at all, at least not the Southern part. He felt more at home in the North, perhaps it was the military presence and the lack of freedom of speech that gave him the homey feeling. He was looking forward to next summer when he will go home to celebrate the Olympic Games in Beijing. It’s a pity he is looking forward so much to something so corrupt as the Olympic Games, and especially the games of 2008 which are set to be the greatest display of Fascist propaganda since Berlin 1936. And it’s a pity that the Fascist party ruling his country will with the help of the games infiltrate his sound love for his country even more, making it even harder for me to criticize his regime without him defending his country, unable to distinguish between the two.
But this wasn’t a night of debate, we just had a nice time together. He was studying how 2-3 million tourists visit this island every year, and he was going to use the experiences when going home to build up tourist industry in Dalian. I have an advice for him: middle-class establishments. We tourists need something in between 0,1 yuan tea houses and 30 yuan coffee-shops, we need that kind of places where a possible middle-class would go. Such as a 1,5 € “Greek Pita” restaurant. Mmmhh … pork kebab, so sinful and juicy. But what’s up with these french fries inside? French fries isn’t food for humans. Each french fry is like a cigarette.
When my Chinese friends (more people had showed up) had said goodbye, I sat alone with my map, thinking thinking thinking. I am very familiar with two-dimensional optimization problems. But I have to confess that I never really mastered multi-variable analysis. And I think no one can optimize problems involving values that can’t be quantified. How can I be a brother? How can I be a boyfriend? How can I hitchhike how many countries? How can I be a boardgame designer? How can I get money? What am I gonna do when the government stops sending me 300 € a month for starting up this company? How can I eat the cookie and still have it? How can I get a free lunch? At 12 pm I had a plan with all pieces in place.