Well, it is halfway through the first full week in Cyprus and we are still trying to get things sorted out. Yesterday I went grocery shopping with our cook for the season, Chester, to show him how we have done it in the past and to impart what limited wisdom we have accumulated over the years. It was very busy at Carrefour, since all the stores had been closed on Monday. It was quite hectic, but a good training session for him since it was chaotic, crowded, and people were shoving to get in line or grab stuff from the shelves. After about 45 minutes of shopping, we finished up at Carrefour and then went over to the Lakanagora (Fruit Market) and grabbed some vegetables. The fruit market is a great place since it is one of the few places on the island where you can buy in bulk. In the US you can gigantic boxes of stuff, while at most stores like Carreforre the largest size they carry would be a medium in the States. Since we are always on a tight budget, buying in bulk is great and the fruit market sells large bags of vegetables that are nearing the end of their shelf life for a flat rate of 1.70 Euros. The downside is that they go bad very quickly, but when you are cooking for 20 people it is an acceptable risk. The story that best illustrates how foreign the concept of buying in bulk is two years we noticed that a local restaurant would sell you a whole chicken for 7 Euros. We talked to the gentleman behind the counter and told him that we were wondering how much he would sell us 10 chickens for. Since he did not understand us, he called the owner and asked him and then handed us the phone. After explaining our question to him, the owner without hesitation said he would sell us one chicken for 7 Euros, or 10 chickens for 70 Euros. Not exactly a significant savings.
Yesterday morning, David and I also met with the director of the Department of Antiquities and discussed our plans for the upcoming season. The meeting went well, and we even were given a very nice tour of the site of Idalion where she is excavating. In the afternoon, after lunch, we took the students out to see the site of Hala Sultan Tekke. It is usually a very quiet and peaceful site, but there was a busload of tourists there at the same time, so it was more crowded than usual.
Today, we went to the museum and spent the morning locating our supplies and artifacts and getting ready for a full day at the museum Thursday. After taking a quick inventory of our supplies, Bill and I ran out and picked up a few things we still needed, like a new laser printer, some paper, and some graph paper. While we were doing this, David and Dimitri went out and talked to the authorities at the British base to start the process of filling out the paperwork we need to file to conduct archaeology on the base. We have been fortunate that both the Department of Antiquities and the personnel at the British base have been so helpful in allowing us to continue our work.