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Life at the Port roundabout

July 4, 2010

It was an odd day: we were due in Larnaca to do some grocery shopping and a bunch of other errands.  As we joined the motorway one of the car’s warning lights came on and it started behaving oddly.

Quickly we amended the plan: instead of the supermarket we’d drive to the Honda garage and see what they said.  Then, perhaps, we could go and buy groceries and get other jobs done.

The garage were helpful.  The owner said:

We must attach a computer to the car to see why the warning lights come on as it could be one of many reasons.  We can not do this now, so take the car away and come back at 3pm.  Then, I will talk to your car and find out the problem.

Yes, really.  This is what the engineer said.

Now short on time we rushed around town getting as many errands done as possible before whipping round the supermarket at an indecent speed.  By 3pm we were back at the garage where the engineer was waiting to talk to the car :-)  The garage is near nowhere useful.  Actually, that probably depends on your point of view … the garage is near to the port roundabout.

Ahhh, Larnaca’s port roundabout.  Since it forms one end of the Larnaca ringroad it is important in terms of driving and residents often refer to it when giving or receiving directions.  The twinkly-eyed surgeon even mentioned it during the swimming conversation.

Larnaca's Port roundabout

The roundabout also has, well, other functions.

There are probably (hey, we’ve never counted) more gentlemen’s clubs adjacent to the roundabout than in the rest of Larnaca combined.

Barbie Girls … Skirt’s Club (naming a club after an item of clothing that isn’t worn by the staff seems rather ironic) … High Heels and so on.  The places claiming to be nightclubs, whilst attached to a hotel that rents rooms by the hour, appear slightly less seedy but probably not by much.

Generally when we drive around the roundabout even the coffee shops look somewhat dodgy.

Anyway, the garage needed to talk to the car and suggested we come back in an hour to discuss their discussion … or something.  The only place within reasonable walking distance was the port roundabout.  So, chuckling about our pre-conceptions of the place we trotted down there in the hope of getting coffee and a late lunch while we waited.

We picked the least seedy looking place.  In fact, it was rather swish and glossy and with a great view over the roundabout.  We ordered coffee and lunch and sat down to wait wondering how long it would be before someone we knew drove past and wondered just what we were doing there.

It was clear that they wouldn’t be the only ones wondering.  The clientele, who all seemed to know each other, went quiet as we sat down at a free table.  It rather seemed as if they weren’t used to strangers.  The buxom blond delivered our, incorrect, order of food and drink and was quickly followed by the manager.

He said he wanted to know if everything was ok; it felt as if he wanted to know what on earth we were doing there.

So for an hour or so we sat and ate a lazy lunch and watched the world go by.  In all honesty the food can not be recommended, but the coffee?  That is good and strong.  Not what we ordered but there you go.

In that hour the resident men came and went, grouped and re-grouped.  They had short, furtive, conversations and an excessive number of mobile phone conversations.  From time to time one of them would take a phone call and then hop into his, double-parked, car and disappear.  Ten minutes later he would re-appear and update his friends, only for the whole process to be repeated half an hour later.

Rules seemed to be there for the attention of others.  In the time we were sat there we saw an appalling amount of dodgy driving, and that’s compared to the already-dodgy standard that is normally seen in Cyprus.  More than once we saw scooters doing U turns on the roundabout rather than take the necessary two minutes to drive around the roundabout.

Interspersed with this were visits by a number of young ladies in various states of minimal clothing.  Dressed for daytime, just, but not in a way that would be considered appropriate for normal running around-town errands and the like.  Your granny would almost certainly have tutted.

We, wisely, kept quiet.  In fact we hardly spoke all the time that we were there as we were too busy taking in the sights.  After an hour or two we decided to head back to the garage to see what news there was about the car.  It would be fair to say that we heard a sigh of relief as we packed up and paid the bill.  It seems that strangers aren’t entirely welcome around the port roundabout.

Perhaps not one to add to the list of places to get a decent cup of coffee in town!

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