Welcome to Cyprus – Larnaca, how a tourist town can seem so dreary
My first day in Cyprus is raining and dreary. It’s cold and, at about 16C, about half the temperature I’ve been used to over the last few months in Saigon. From my hotel, located about a five minutes from the centre of Larnaca, I go for a walk.
I pass dreary beaches with brown sand and overblown signs for sunbed hire. I pass signs for all you can eat English breakfasts and signs in Russian for things I know not what. The shops seem to have an order about them, first souvenir shop (most are closed), car rental, restaurant with obligatory signboard full of photos posted out front, travel agency and then real estate agent. Seems this little island is slowly being bought up by Brits unhappy with the dreary weather back home. Cyprus advertises itself as the island of 320 days of sun. Just my luck to encounter one of the remaining 45 days. Ah well … I am struck by how much of a tourist town this is (but then again I’m a tourist in a tourist part of the city) and I’m mostly struck by how horrible and tacky such places can feel when devoid of people. And that’s what I notice the most – the lack of people. Coming from Saigon where sound and people is all I know this wind and rain swept place with few people and only the sounds of waves and rain splattering in puddles is ghost town like.
I have lunch of Souvlaki at a local restaurant and then, after wandering the promenade of Larnaca I go off to rent a car. I am determined to see more of this place. There has to be more of Cyprus than discarded tourist signs, half closed restaurants and British newspapers.