Yesterday Brandon came by to pick up some items we stored at the Polis apotheke that he needs to start excavating at Vigla. It gave us a chance to visit the apotheke, and see how much cleaning we will need to do on Monday. It was a nice relaxing day, which was good because my jet lag is always worse a couple of days after my flight east. After Brandon headed back to Larnaka, Bill and I went out to eat at the Irish Pub we like to eat at because they have pretty good pizza. The view is also ok (see picture below).
So we spent today getting things ready for starting work at the apotheke tomorrow. So this was a lot of computer work and looking for files, etc. It was too bad, because it is a really nice day out there today with a lot of sunshine and a little breeze that kept it from being too hot. I did have the chance to try out a bag of potato chips. For the first bag of the season, I chose Lay’s Taste of Mediterranean 3 Peppers. The bag shows potato chips that appear to be flavored with three different peppercorns (black, red, and white), next to a small jar of olive oil. The bag mentions the chips are flavored by 100% olive oil. The taste was interesting. It was a layered taste with the black peppercorns hitting with a strong sharp taste as soon as you bit into the chip. This was then followed up by the sweeter taste of the green and white peppercorns. Not bad at all. I found them to be a nice change of pace from traditional peppered chips. I give them a – *******(7).
We went back to Yialos for dinner and I had a pretty good meal of sheftalia, salad, olives, and fries. Now the remaining question is whether I am going to get up early to watch the Games of Thrones series finale.
I have received thousands of emails from people wondering how my potato research is coming along. So, let’s recap: So far I have tested and evaluated 51 different flavors of potato chips (see ratings below). They are rated on a simple 1-10 scale. I picked up 3 new flavors last night at the grocery store and will start tesing them tomorrow.
The Potato Chips of Cyprus: An Exhaustive Study:
Argentinean Steak — ***** (5)
Baked Lays with Mediterranean Herbs — *****(5)
Barbecue — ******** (8)
Brazilian Mango and Chile — **** (4)
Caramelized Onion and Balsamic Vinegar — ******* (7)
So, another field season has arrived. Bill and I arrived in Cyprus yesterday afternoon. It was an interesting trip over. I upgraded my ticket to include priority boarding since I always seem to be in the last group to board. I have to admit that in Pittsburgh I did not feel it was worth it since when they called for priority (group 4) boarding, about 80% of the people got in line. It was a bit better in Philadelphia where fewer people were in the priority boarding group. This was balanced by the elderly Greek couple sitting next to me since it turned out that they could only speak to each other by shouting at each other, or so it felt like while I was trying to sleep.
I was stunned by the difference in the Athens Airport. It had a brand new passport control area and they moved everyone through it very efficiently. I was impressed. When I have time to kill in the Athens Airport I usually go upstairs and sit in the McDonalds and watch the planes come and go. When I headed that way, I was stunned to notice that the McDonalds had become a Burger King. I have to admit that I did not find it as good as the McDonalds.
Anyway, I met up with Bill in Athens. Despite the fact that his plane left New York City an hour after my plane left Philadelphia, he beat me to baggage claim. We arrived in Cyprus about 3:00 PM and picked up my rental car. The woman who always rents me my car (I have been renting from them for 14 years), asked me if this was my first time in Cyprus. It is actually my 22nd field season in Cyprus if my math is right. After a little confusion over finding my car reservation we headed out to Polis. When we arrived at our hotel, we had a little more confusion over finding our reservation. While we were waiting for it to be sorted out, the gentleman checking us in asked if this was out first trip to Cyprus. This is our 10th year of staying in the same hotel and the guy checking us in has talked to us during our last two seasons. Weird. Anyway, we checked in, went to the grocery store, and then went out to dinner at Yiolos’ which has a nice view of the sunset.
So today starts the last week of work for me on Cyprus. It has been a busy last few days. I’ve done a couple of days of pottery washing of the sherds Brandon and Tom have been recovering from their work on Vigla. All Hellenistic, no Roman, so some different pottery to look at. Out on Vigla a fairly large hole has been dug since the expected bottom of wall and bedrock failed to materialize where expected. The trench is at least 9 feet deep at the south end and has uncovered a large mud brick wall and very little pottery.
Tomorrow I am driving to Polis to store stuff there for next year and also give Nancy a ride to the airport. This will give us a chance to talk about future work at Polis and make some plans for the next few years – both about work and about publication plans. On Wednesday (and maybe Thursday) I am going to go back to Kourion to see if I can find the pottery Michael asked me to look over. On Friday, I am hoping to go up to Athienou and visit Nick, so it is a busy week of driving around the island. Saturday morning early is when I am flying back to the States, so the days are rapidly counting down on my 2018 Cyprus work.
Last night we went out to dinner at the Maqam Al Sultan, a Lebanese restaurant on the waterfront. We go there every year, and every year the food is fantastic – at least in my view, there are a few too many vegetable dishes for Brandon. I even broke down and made a reservation for the group, which I usually do not do, but since there were seven of us, I figured it was best to be organized about the dinner. We were seven because Dallas, a former PKAP staff member was in town and joined us for the meal. For dinner we ordered the Grand Meze which is a lot of food, but a lot of very good food. The meal included:
Tabbouleh -Parsley salad with tomato, crushed wheat, onion, fresh mint, lemon juice and olive oil dressing
Fattoush – Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onion, radish, pomegranate seeds and toasted pieces of Lebanese bread, served with Al-Sultan sauce dressing
Hummus – Chickpea puree with sesame paste (Tahini) and lemon juice
Falafel – deep-fried balls made from ground chickpeas and broad beans, mixed with fine herbs and spices, served with tahini sauce
Warak Inab B’zeit – Grape leaves filled with rice, tomato, parsley, mint and onion,
cooked in olive oil with lemon juice
Moutabal Baba Ghanouj – Grilled aubergine puree mixed with sesame paste (Tahini) and lemon juice
Shankleesh – Strained yogurt, oregano and dry spices, topped with fresh tomato, onion and olive oil
Muhammara – Grilled sweet red pepper, crushed walnuts, olive oil, paprika and Lebanese herbs
Batata Harra – Mildly spiced cubes of potatoes, sauteed in olive oil with garlic, coriander and sweet red pepper
Falafel Kibbeh Makliyeh – deep-fried traditional Lebanese lamb meat balls filled
with sauteed minced lamb and beef, onion and pine nuts
Sambousek Lahme – deep-fried Lebanese pastries filled with minced lamb and beef and onion
Sambousek Jibne – deep-fried Lebanese pastries filled with anari, halloumi and feta cheese
Kafta Meshwi – skewers of charcoal-grilled seasoned minced lamb and beef mixed with onion and parsley
Fatayer Spinach – deep-fried Lebanese pastries filled with spinach, onion, lemon juice, olive oil, tomato and sumac
So, it has been a few days since my last post. I finished up my work in Polis and have now moved over to Larnaka, where I will be until the 9th. Brandon and Tom L. are excavating a small sounding up on Vigla and I am helping out as needed. I will be making another trip to Polis early next week followed by another trip to Kourion, so my time looks to be pretty busy.
Larnaka looks pretty much the same, Kataklysmos is winding down, but there are still lots of people walking around and I expect this weekend to be pretty busy. The hotel we stay at in Larnaka is undergoing a substantial remodel (both inside and outside), and I expect that when we show up next year the cost of staying here will be much higher. If it goes up too much, we will need to find another place to stay.
Since it is National Doughnut Day, I started my day out with a vanilla glazed doughnut, and that was a great choice since the doughnut was still warm and fresh. We weren’t able to go out to the site today because of activities occurring on the base, so I stayed at the hotel and did some writing. For lunch, Brandon and I went to my favorite souvlaki stand on the island and had a great pork souvlaki sandwich. Looks pretty cloudy outside, but I doubt it will rain. Not much else to say, it has been a quiet day.
Finally, another potato chip review. Today I tried Lay’s Pesto and Mozzarella with Cool Effect. I have tried other chips that were pesto flavored before, but these are supposed to have a COOL effect. I have no idea what that means and was excited to try these out. Unfortunately, I have to admit that I did not notice the cool effect, nor could I taste the mozzarella flavor. The only thing I could taste was the pesto, which was pretty good, but then again I like pesto. The chips had a nice crunch, and there was no strange aftertaste, so as pesto chips they are good. As mozzarella and pesto, not so much. And where was the COOL effect? Since I am reviewing the chips based on how much I like the taste, not how accurate the name is, I am giving these chips a – ******(6).
The last few days have been fairly busy and so I haven’t had a chance to post. On Friday, I went back to Kourion and looked at some more pottery there. It didn’t go as well as planned. I had some trouble locating what I needed to be looking at, and after a few phone calls to people in other countries, I gave up for the day. Since Bill had come with me to help, and I felt bad for wasting his time in a way, he suggested we stop at Agios Georgios and have lunch at this nice seafood restaurant overlooking Coral Bay – a relaxing view, and great grilled octopus. The problem with the suggestion is that for some reason I have the hardest time driving through Polis from Lemesos and heading to Pegeia where the restaurant is located – I can get there with no problem starting from Polis, and I can get there if I start at the mosaics in Paphos. So, as you can expect, I got lost in Paphos. We saw one sign for Pegeia which we followed, and then no further directions. I wound up going down to the water, and then managed to work my way back to basically where we had started. Then Bill suggested we follow the white car in front of us when they turned to the left, which is the general direction we needed to head. After 10 minutes of driving, I noticed that had we wound up right where we had started, we had driven in a complete circle. After a good half hour of driving through various neighborhoods, we actually found the correct road and were soon at Agios Georgios – and the view and meal was worth it.
We took the back route from Pegeia to Polis and spent the afternoon taking care of odds and ends. For dinner we went to Fly Again, an Irish pub and grill located one village over in Argaka– a place we go to get pizza and watch the sunset. It was pretty crowded, but it was Friday night. The pizza was good and the sunset was very picturesque.
On Saturday we went back to the apotheke in Polis and I worked on cataloging and illustrating a collection of artifacts for our work on EF1 – a small site that has turned out to be pretty interesting to analyze. For dinner, we went to what is my favorite restaurant on the island – The Old Time Restaurant. We always mean to get a reservation, but then forget and when we show up and they ask us if we have a reservation and we have to say no, I fell bad. I always feel like they are disappointed in us for not securing a reservation. Even though the restaurant was packed, they were able to work us in after about a twenty minute wait. I was able to convince Bill to order the Old Town Gourmet Meze – which came with dips, bread, salad, halloumi with fig sauce, duck spring rolls, partridge ravioli, crispy potatoes, lamb, and duck. Everyone of the dishes was done just right – it was fabulous. A very good meal to end the day on…even though I stopped for ice cream on the way back to the hotel.
So Bill and I got up early this morning and drove down to Kourion. I had been asked to take a look at some Roman pottery that had been excavated a while back and is now moving into publication stage. It was actually a fairly quick and pleasant trip down, and just like the Larnaka and Polis Museums, the staff there was super helpful and super nice. The view of Akrotiri from the museum was fantastic. Unfortunately, there was more material and we had a couple start and stop moments as we began, so we got about halfway through the material we had hoped to process today. We will be going back tomorrow to finish it up, and then I will go back in early June to do some cataloging of the more interesting pieces. Since we felt like we were a bit behind, we worked through lunch and didn’t eat until the museum closed at 3:30. We did stop at a nice cafe underneath the site of Kourion right at the water’s edge and had some Calamari and fries. The trip back to Polis was not as fast or relaxing as the trip down this morning since there was a lot of traffic, and it was very slow on the hilly stretches between Paphos and Polis. But, it is what it is.
For today’s potato chip review, I chose Replay’s Ketchup Flavored Potato Chips and after the pleasant experience of their Cheese Flavored Potato Chips, I was hoping for a repeat experience, despite never really trying a ketchup flavor chip that I really liked. As expected, I did not like them, and after tricking Bill and Amy into trying them, they agreed that they did not like them either. Just as their Cheese Flavored Chips were very strong, the ketchup flavor was also very strong, and unfortunately was all I could taste when eating a chip. It really was a bit overwhelming. So, I give them a – *(1).