To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

about me
photo of Dave Middleburgh
Hong Kong

blogspot visit counter
  powered by BLOGGER

Cyprus - the untold story

When we visit London, we go to Belgium, so it seemed perfectly reasonable when visiting Turkey to go to Northern Cyprus.(In a prevous life I had visited Limassol in the South)

We flew from Istanbul in the evening, and were met by Sammy's nephew(?), a big lad from Camden,London who turned out to be a Spur's supporter like my cousins, Peter and Graham Rabin. Don't mock... we are all flawed.

Sammy's is a most worthy establishment in Kyrenia, 40 minutes from Ercan Airport. The drive reminded me of driving in the Australian bush at night but Becca thought it was .... bleak.

As an EU citizen, I had been obliged to buy a visa because the EU didn't/doesn't recognise Northern Cyprus as a sovereign state. This amused Becca, who of course didn't require a visa, because she was traveling on a HK passport, which itself caused a bit of a stir at Ercan. The immigration officer had never seen a HK passport before. Cyprus is not yet a popular tourist spot for HK Chinese who have yet to discover its delights, unlike those of Thailand.

The following morning as we walked into town, past the construction sites, obvious comparisons were made with similar sites in the New Territories, HK and in Thailand. In its favour, Kyrenia does have a magnificent harbour,a convenient castle with gruesome exhibits in the dungeons and a charming local museum etc. Moreover you can "do" the lot in a single day then sit by the pool for rest of holiday with all the other Brits ......and the hairdressers from Essex. To me this was a bit of a culture shock since it had been a long while since I had been socially exposed to so many Brits en mass. Visits to the UK don't count - I don't normally trade pleasantries with strangers from Bootle before breakfast (mind you .. who does!!).

The hotel staff at Sammy's found us "exotic" and wanted to know all about HK (I didn't mention my Essex connections). We quickly discovered that Jacky Chan (rather than Bruce Lee) is perhaps Hong Kong's most famous son and that his films were popular in Cyprus. (I wonder if he has a Hong Kong passport?)

We did the all obligatory siteseeing trips ie

Unfortunately a Brit must also be blamed for what must be the worst Chinese restaurant that I have ever had the misfortune to visit. The "Laughing Buddha" on the Nicosia Road was run by an English woman whose knowledge of chinese food must have been based a single instance of anglised chinese food tailored to meet local tastes in the Pennines, specifically the sheep, cooked by a taste blind Singaporean* on an off day, with a deep seated grudge against the British Empire and its citizens.

Even more distressing was fact that the chef was a mainland Chinese and on the (cursed) day we visited a chinese student studying at the local university had just started as a waiter (to give veneer of authenticity to the establishment no doubt).

We met them the following day and the chef told us he was was told what and "how" to cook. The manageress had left him the impression that Brits like their chinese food that way ... I disabused him of this notion.

The waiters story was interesting: A mainland chinese who wanted to study English, he had gone to the equivalent of an college enrollment fair in China where an unscrupulous university agent had signed him up after waxing lyrical about the University of Kyrenia and how they spoke English there etc (true ...but not true) . Imagine his shock on arrival to discover that English was not first language (at least he now has some Turkish) and that from Northern Cyprus he could travel to .... Turkey ...

Singapoean Chefs
I wish to make it clear that have a number of good singaporean friends; Apparently there were a lot of singaporean chefs working in UK Chinese restaurants which is one of the reasons why chinese visitors to UK don't recognise all of the dishes on the menus ... In Singapore "chinese" dishes tend to be more varied and spicy than HK cantonese dishes.
I have also been asked to point out that the Thai prawn Ball recipe did not come from singapore, that the fact that US spinach kills is purely coincidental and that the associated photograph doesn't do justice to the dish.
This spelling mistake is deliberate; I have linked to this site extensively in this post. Unfortunately the links are not accessable from within China, nor I understand are the alternatives Any suggestions for work arround (other than link to different content) would be welcome- use comments link below |
| More