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Tuesday, 10 July 2007

Paphos, Cyprus, July 2007

More cellphone images, as are all I have posted from Cyprus so far.

After the mosaic site visit, my sister and her family took me to an ancient church in Paphos which features the Column of St Paul among its many architectural treasures. More mosaics, many other columns still standing, and a small well. My sister had to rub her eyes: was that a young fox cowering in the hole? Indeed it was, on this blisteringly hot day, with no indication of how long it had been trapped. I climbed in to see in what condition it was, but my appearance panicked it into frantic flights around the walls. A long branch inserted was no way out, so my brother-in-law then descended with a cloth, with which he helped the madly clambering animal rocket all of the way out and off into the distance. It was well enough to run, as we saw, and we could only hope it would find enough food and water to make up for its incarceration. "Catch for us the little foxes..."

(The church at bottom was not the main church on the site, but a much smaller, more ruined one, also well worth exploring though in sad condition.)

Paphos, Cyprus, July 2007

There's an amazing UN Heritage site at Paphos, containing many excavated Roman buildings with well-preserved mosaic floors, a small amphitheatre, and other delights. Obviously the rich and powerful lived here. The only blot on the experience was a temperature of something near 40 C, with no wind. I made the most of it, and managed to consume 3 ice creams for lunch outside the site after a couple of hours' looking around - no appetite for anything but the coldest stuff.

From this day, the sound of extreme heat - the hottest I can remember having to endure for any length of time outside a sauna - for me will always be the bizarre mechanical buzz of the cicada. Interestingly enough, this large insect spends most of its life (sometimes many years) larvally underground, emerging ONLY in prime number year intervals to enjoy a brief adulthood. Very odd.

the w()rd: Greek to me

Now's the time that all that Russian language familiarity comes into use again, in a new way, boosted by a bit of mathematics symbology: reading the Greek alphabet on Cyprus! Some favourite discoveries:

"Exodos" means "exit", & is used in signs everywhere, e.g. on all the roads

"Taxi" means "OK" AND "taxi"

"Evkharisto" (eucharist) means "thank you"

There are signs up all over the place for Tony's this and that - quite a popular name...