Physically and Literally…..
17th May 2016
The previous day, whilst driving out from our campsite to Kavala, Mum and I noticed that at the corners of the road, there were signs in Greek saying -“Remember Cyprus”-this could be referring the war in Cyprus between the Turkish Cypriots and the Greek Cypriots.
So When we woke up from our sleep, mum ordered me to open a link about the tragedy. So I ran over to the cafe and downloaded some PDF files about Famagusta and the 1974 Turkish invasion of Cyprus. And immediatly, I was in the very centre of a history lesson!
“In fourteen hundred and ninety two Columbus sailed the ocean blue”………… Err, it wasn’t as simple as that. In fact it was a lot more difficult to understand. Even mum and Geoff had to stop every three minutes to try and understand who was who, what was what, and who had been where! Famagusta in the North part of Cyprus was a popular tourist destination in the 1960s, and 70s. Cyprus had a very long history of un settlement stemming back to the Ottoman occupation in 1571. Throughout the years Cyprus had been passed between pillar and post ( Great Britain leased it then hurriedly ditched it when things looked too bad for them to control, in 1960 ) and Cyprus achieved its independence.
Although Cyprus was independent, the Greek Cypriot president, archbishop Makarios was supported by Athens and Greece to minimise the influence of Turkish Cypriots, Makarious was limiting the freedom of the Turkish Cypriots and not allowing them into certain areas and limiting their supplies. Makarious though was also a double crosser, and was conspiring against Athens and Greece as well, on the 15th of July 1974 there was a Greek instigated coup to overthrow the Cypriot government. Makarious was airlifted to safety in London.
Five days later Turkey invaded the island on the morning of the 20th July 1974. The second Turkish force arrived on the 14th to the 16th of August and 40 per cent of Cyprus came under Turkish rule.To this day there is a ” green line ” dividing the North and South which is still monitored by the United Nations. It seems most unfortunate that before Britain, politics and religious egos got involved the Turkish and Greek Cypriots were living happily with neighbouring existences. From the reading I’ve done, a lot of the problems have been made much worse by the involvement of the British!
Eventually, my three hour lesson was over and we decided it was beach time. As we strolled along the sea front, dipping our feet into the lush turquoise water, mother spotted something. What mum saw was a plastic bottle……but not like your average water bottle, there was a message in it. Mum screamed at the top of her lungs, “CASEY”, “there’s a message in this bottle”. I ran over thinking what the message in the bottle could be….maybe, it was pirates who were telling us where treasure was, or it could even be “Life of Pi’s” message in a bottle, or even Robert Redfords message from “All is Lost”. After much hassle and digging in the neck of the bottle with a stick, I got the message out. It was written in Greek.
When Geoff came, we told him about the message. Geoff and I then went to see the camp owner, called Maria. She translated the letter, which made her smile, she said it was written in a child’s writing and the letter said: “Some people send letters with the post office. I send letters in a bottle and I hope it gets to you from the sea. Whoever finds it, send it to somebody else and maybe it will come back to me.” It was signed ” from Despina” but with no return address (!!!) Maria said that these might have come from the local primary school, but we plan to throw it off the back of the boat when we sail in Turkey with an English and Turkish translation somewhere out in the deep blue sea. See where it gets to from there.
Once our investigation was finished, mum and I introduced sandcastles to our Syrian friends, Johad and Sidra. The moat was first. We all used our hands-(with a little help from Asena and Vodka)-to create a moat-like channel that surrounded our castle. Then we used plastic cups that were washed up on the shore to create towers. We also used a piece of wood as a drawbridge, and feathers acted like flags. Once completed, our masterpiece was ready for show…. The other campers liked it and took photographs, but the refugees loved it, sandcastle building was a hit for the entertainment for today, sighed Mum!
When we came back from lunch we saw the castle still intact, and, like the day before, the refugees were using fishing boxes as floats, and were messing around with the rubber ring which theywere loving! Since they didn’t need anymore swimming toutoring, we left them enjoying the sea, while we had a drink…..this is the life!
Tommorow we plan to go to Kavala castle which I am looking forward to!