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Boris, Trump and now Camels come to Cyprus

Well, two out of three ain't bad

The front page of our local weekly paper, Cyprus Today, features a photograph of a meeting that has been little covered elsewhere in the international press – President Trump shaking hands with President Mustafa Akinci of North Cyprus. To be fair, Trump didn't actually come to this still-divided island. In this case the mountain went to Mohammed (yep, the image of Trump as Mohammed will offend just about everybody). But back to the (non-fake) facts. The meeting, according to the local paper, took place at the White House at the behest of Turkish officials. The implication was there was some faint hope that Trump may prove as unpredictable as he is always predicted to be - and take an interest in the peace talks. The Cyprus ones that is.

No one could understand why this was kept so quiet – till the paper owned up it was an April Fool's joke. Quite a good one as it turned out. It certainly upset the negotiators in South Cyprus (their president doesn't get to meet Trump till June). In fact, just a few weeks ago our very own Boris Johnson really did come to the island to visit both sides. But with little effect. These peace talks are about as stale as mouldy halloumi (or helim in the Turkish north) and neither side really expects anything from them. My friend Husseyn told me yesterday, "The best thing would have been if the British had never left. We wish we were still a colony." A return to colonialism, now there's a thought. Don't mention this to Boris or, come to that, Trump....

In the meantime, there are some more pressing home-grown issues. Take camel wrestling. Now at first I thought this was a man wrestling with a camel. But no. Apparently, this is a sport that is common in Turkey where two male hybrid Bactrian and dromedary camels, known as Tulu, square up to each other in response to a female camel in heat being introduced to the party. This innovation was the brainchild of the village mayor of Buyukkonuk, Ahmet Sennaroglu, after a meeting with the head of the Camel Drivers' Culture and Camel Wrestling Federation. Outraged animal rights activists have, of course, put a stop to all this but the good news is there will be some camels back on the island – and not just models like the one above that suddenly appeared at our local fruit and veg stall, Ya Beles. The last real camel was spotted here in 1974 and they used to be the main form of goods transport across the island. The two new ones (one male and one female) are coming for the village's Eco Day Festival next month. It will, it seems, be their first trip abroad. I do hope they like it and decide to stay.

My own mind has been on higher things entirely. Tomorrow I go orchid hunting (this time with someone who knows what they're looking for) and the rest of the time I'm taking as many belly dancing lessons as possible with the dazzling Shif.

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