Tuesday was a pretty good day at the apotheke. We stopped by the bakery on our way in and they had some new doughnuts, including small versions. I grabbed a small vanilla frosted with a boston cream filling, and a plain small vanilla frosting – just so I could compare the taste.
We continued to work on refining our work on EF1 that we started last year. The best moment was when a beetle flew into the apotheke and divebombed us. If you know Bill, you know that he is perturbed by flying insects and I had to get the beetle out of the apotheke. Fortunately it crashed on the shelf near me and was stunned long enough for me to pick it up and let it go outside. The weird thing was how noisy it was all day. There was a rooster who kept crowing every 10 minutes or so, clucking chickens, a barking dog, some guy who kept playing his car radio really loudly, and then a strange animal sound I couldn’t identify. It sounded like a squeaky door. We never saw what it was.
Today when we got to the apotheke (and yes we stopped at the bakery first), we were greeted by two birds who were making the squeaky door noise. They ran off into the bushes before I could take a picture of them. So, when Bill wasn’t looking, I spent some time googling birds of Cyprus to see if I could identify them, but no luck. I finally was able to sneak a picture of one of them through the window, so if you know what it is let me know. Anyway, we made more progress on refining our ceramic identifications for EF1 and are going to start putting it into an article.
So today is the first real work day at the apotheke (storehouse). As we were getting our stuff ready to go, Bill was obsessing over whether he would be warm enough in the apotheke. He ended up wearing long pants, a t-shirt, and a hoodie. Seems strange that the guy from North Dakota is cold in 70 degree weather. Meanwhile, I am wearing shorts, t-shirt, and sandals. We stopped at the bakery, but they did not have a lot of baked goods since it is Monday, and worst of all no doughnuts! This would make Erin Averett happy since I only recently learned that she is a doughnut hater.
When we got to the apotheke we spent some time cleaning up, mainly dusting things off so that we had a clean work space. Bill spent a lot of time remarking on how stuffy it was inside the apotheke – about every 5 minutes or so. We got off to a slow start, but that is typical since it takes a while to get back into the swing of things. If you have ever read any of my posts about reading pottery, you might remember that (for me) it is important to have music to listen to as I look at the pottery. This year I let my Spotify account pick my opening songs for me by shuffling. And it was a double shot of Asia to start the season – “Heat of the Moment” and “Only Time Will Tell.” This was followed by “Ashes” from Deadpool 2 and then some Journey.
The rest of the day flew by, except for lunch. We are pretty excited that the restaurant above the apotheke has reopened under new management, so we can now just hop upstairs for lunch. The food was fine, but for some reason Bill wanted to talk about his new apotheke pants and how stretchy they were. I received a lengthy soliloquy about stretchy pants over lunch – not sure what I did to deserve that – I am holding Susie responsible for this.
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).