Today (Tuesday) was a typical day here in Polis. We got up and headed out to the apotheke. We finished up looking at various excavation units that we wanted to check on and I turned to cataloging items for publication. I am always surprised at how, once I start cataloging and drawing artifacts, quickly time passes. So, not much to report on the archaeology front. Bill finally made his Franco Harris Matrix joke, so waiting on that is over.
Last evening group members from another project in the area started showing up, as well as another member of our team, so our hotel is becoming a little more crowded. The rumor is that the other project will have 16 more students showing up next week, so it will be a lot more crowded. My obvious selfish concern is how this might impact internet bandwidth in the hotel.
As for chips, the potato chips I decided to review are Replay’s Cheese flavored chips. Replay is a newer player in the snacks world, they seem to have begun producing snack foods in 2016. I was a bit apprehensive after my unhappiness with their Terra Bites, but this concern was unfounded. The Cheese chips were very cheesy, in fact it was surprising how strong the cheese flavor was. It was not a cheddar flavor, but a milder taste like a Romano or very young Parmesan. The crunch was nice, and all the chips were coated with the cheese flavoring. I am giving them a – *******(8).
Today was a typical work day at the apotheke. It was a little hotter today, the temperature has climbed into the low 80s. We actually finished going through the pottery and have moved onto cataloguing some artifacts for the write-up of the area. We plan to continue the cataloguing tomorrow at the apotheke and then work on some artifacts stored at the Polis Museum on Wednesday. The one unusual thing of the day was when I moved my Microsoft Surface over to look up some pottery forms, Bill pushed some sherds under the stand and took a picture of it (see below) that he tweeted out as a “sub-surface assemblage of pottery” – an archaeology joke. He was very excited about doing that, and kept checking his twitter feed to see if people had liked or retweeted the tweet. At 3:00 he informed me that it was “blowing up” on twitter since he now had 14 likes and one retweet.
For dinner we went back to Yialos for another fantastic sunset and a really good pork souvlaki pita. The music was a little different tonite, it is usually typical Cypriot restaurant music, and it started out that way, but then there was Abba’s Dancing Queen and Mama Mia, followed by the Bee Gees’ Stayin’ Alive. Flashback to the 1970s and a reminder that I am old.
For my potato chip review – I chose Replay’s Terra Bites. The look like Sun Chips, which I like and is probably why I chose them. They had a nice shape, and a nice crunch – and are oven baked. They, unfortunately, did not have any real flavor to them – either positively or negatively. The flavor I took away from them was crunch – which isn’t a flavor. I had Bill try them and he agreed that in our opinion they were very bland, much like a plain cracker. I am going to have to give them a – **(2). I have some other Replay flavors to try, and hope they will be a bit more flavorful.
It has been a quiet Sunday in Polis since we cannot visit the apotheke. Basically some reading, some research, a little email, some sleeping, and a little Formula One watching. So, a few odds and ends. First, congrats to Cyprus and Eleni Foureira for finishing second in Eurovision last night with Fuego.
Second, a potato chip review – the first of the season. Today’s chip is Pringles Texas BBQ Sauce chips. I was expecting them to taste the same as barbeque flavored Pringles, but not quite. The BBQ flavor was very strong and much sweeter than other barbeque flavored chips on the island. While I am a big barbeque fan, I thought the sweetness distracted from the flavor, or perhaps overwhelmed it is a better way to describe my thoughts. The chips had a nice crunch and weren’t bad – I would give them a – ******(6).
Finally, Happy Mother’s Day to my mom!
So today was our first real day back at work in the apotheke. We first went by the grocery to buy some snacks so we would not have to stop working for lunch. After we picked up the keys and unlocked the place, we spent some time opening up windows to air out the place, and doing a little cleaning. Saw lots of spiders and walked into a fair number of spider webs. Did not see any rats, but there was one curious mouse who kept wandering out into the opening, at least until a cat walked by.
Soon it was time for the first box of pottery of the season. For my music, which is critical to proper pottery reading, I started the season off with Carry on Wayward Son by Kansas since I have become hooked on Supernatural, and then followed it up with Pour Some Sugar on Me by Def Leppard. I chose this because I saw a new video the band posted for the song with all of the lyrics. Despite the fact that the song is well-known for people not knowing the correct lyrics, I always felt I had most of them correct – after watching this video, I learned that I was incorrect and was singing some wildly inaccurate lyrics.
We were not reading any new pottery today, we were going back and reexamining some areas in EF1 to see if we could refine any of my earlier readings. I always hate doing this because I feel like I have to defend the accuracy of my earlier work. Bill doesn’t help matters because he says things like, “Well, in that pass you CLAIMED that there was….” Anyway, I felt like we accomplished a fair bit today and made some good progress. For those that know Bill, you know that he likes to use the same jokes over and over and over again. If I had bet on it, I would have though the first recycled joke would have been his Franco Harris Matrix joke, but it actually was a variation on his how do you date a church joke re-purposed as how do you date Cypriot Red Slip. This was followed by a Rashard Mending hole joke. So, everything is the same in Polis, even the jokes.
Finally, I have received some questions on my potato chip research which has been going on for a few years. Richard has questioned whether I can find any new flavors to test and suggested branching out into other snack food groups. I am a bit of a purist on the subject and will be sticking to potato chips, and in fact found five new flavors at the store. Before reviewing them, I thought it was important to recap the 46 varieties I have sampled so far. They are summarized below.
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)
- Cheese and Onion — *** (3)
- English Cheese on Toast — ***** (6)
- Frit Ravich Onduladas Jamon Chips (Ham Flavoured) – ** (2)
- Frit Ravich Mediterraneo Chips – **(2)
- Goldies Bacon Extreme. Bacon – *(1)
- Goldies Extreme – *****(5)
- Greek Salsa — **** (4)
- Handy Snacks Cyprus Potato Chips Vinegar and Oregano – *** (3)
- Lay’s Baked Barbecue potato chips – ***** (5)
- Lay’s Cream Cheese and Bacon – ******(6)
- Lays Greek Salad Flavor – ****(4)
- Lay’s Heinz Ketchup flavored – **(2)
- Lay’s Scoops Chili Flavoured – ***(3)
- Lays Cider Vinegar – **** (4)
- Lays Lasagna Flavored chips – ****** (6)
- Lays Maxx Deep Ridged Chicken Wing Flavour – ** (2)
- Lays Maxx Deep Ridged Salt & Vinegar Flavour chips – ******* (7)
- Lays Mozzarella and Pesto flavored — ******** (8)
- Lays Mushrooms in Cream – ***(3)
- Lays Sensations – Japanese Teriyaki – *****(5)
- Lays Smokey Bacon – ****(4)
- Lays Sour Cream and Black Pepper – ****(4)
- Mama’s sundried tomato and basil chips -***(3)
- Mediterranean Herb — ****** (6)
- Mexican Peppers and Cream — ******** (8)
- Oregano — ******** (8)
- Oven Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme — **** (4)
- Prawn Cocktail — ********** (10)
- Quavers with Cheese — ******* (7)
- Salt and Vinegar — ******* (7)
- Thai Sweet Chile — ** (2)
- Tsakiris Bacon and Cheese Flavoured Chips – * (1)
- Tsakiris Chips with Florina Peppers Flavor – ** (2)
- Tsakiris Chips with Graviera Cheese Flavour – ******* (7)
- Tsakiris Chips with Ketchup and Mustard – ** (2)
- Tsakiris Chips with Mytilene Sea Salt Flavour – ******* (7)
- Tsakiris Chips with Oregano – ****** (6)
- Tsakiris Chips with Vinegar Flavour – ****** (6)
- Tsakiris Chips with Santorini Tomato Flavor – ******** (8)
- Tsakiris Chips Sweet Barbeque – **** (4).
- Tzatziki — * (1)
So, I arrived back on Cyprus yesterday afternoon. Bill and I arrived on the same flight from Athens, so we were able to pick up our rental car, load up our gear, and make it out to Polis by 5:30. We had our usual room waiting for us at Renos, so it wasn’t long before we were settled in, and even made a trip to the grocery store to pick up some supplies, including the requisite potato chips. We are the first from Polis to arrive for the summer field season – Amy arrives next early next week. We found out when we checked in that Renos, which is usually pretty quiet, will be quite busy since another archaeology project is arriving next week and renting 17 rooms for a month. We then drove down to Latchi and had dinner at Yialos which has a fantastic marinated chicken and halloumi pita and a great sunset. I tried to stay up as late as I could to help get onto Cypriot time, but didn’t make it past 9.
This morning we got up and headed out to the museum. Along the way we stopped at the local Cyta store and Bill bought a new sim card for his phone – an annual event for Bill. Then we walked over to the museum and talked to the staff about our planned work at the apotheke. It was a pleasant visit even though there was some talk about the possibility of rats in the store room and a “strange smell.” We’ll know more tomorrow when we head over there. On the way back to the hotel we took a detour to the site and were pleasantly surprised to find that they had cleared off all the grass and weeds. This gave us a chance to look at EF2 (this [picture above] is where the material we have been working on for the last few seasons has come from) and then at EF1 (this [picture below] is where the material we will be working on this summer comes from).
After looking at the sites, we headed back to the hotel instead of visiting the apotheke. We used the rest of the morning to take some time to organize our data and make sure our databases are ready to go when we start looking at the pottery. tomorrow. We had noticed on our walking trip through part of the village that one of our favorite restaurants that had been closed for the last two summers had reopened. We decided to to eat lunch there and see if the food was still as good and inexpensive as it used to be. Fortunately it was, even though it now advertises that it features Cypriot and Romanian food – an unusual combination. Not much else to say, the weather has been sunny and in the 70s, so it is very pleasant.
Today was the last day in Cyprus for almost everyone working on PKAP. I took Bill to the airport at 8, while David and his students put up the last crates of artifacts. Bill is off to Greece to work on WARP (Try not to break him Dimitri, he is getting old). Then I went and picked up some scanning I had done of the artifact illustrations for this year. David and I then went out for a quick lunch and I helped him take his students to the airport so they can go to Greece for several days before heading back to Pennsylvania. Once they left, I started packing, charging my electronics, downloading books for my Kindle, and movies/shows for my iPad. I even did a little cleaning up of the room. Once I finished all of this, I realized that I only had 12 hours before my 3:40 AM flight early Friday morning. Things really slowed up at that point. Eventually, it was dinner time so I do what I always do when I am the last one to leave the island – I go and have dinner at one of the American restaurants on the waterfront – McDonalds, Pizza Hut, TGI Fridays, or Burger King. [Don’t judge me]. I took my Kindle and was able to sit outside and watch people walking around the waterfront enjoying Kataklysmos and even listened to Bon Jovi on the restaurant’s speakers. Now I am back in the room recharging my devices and killing time until I give up and leave for the airport way too soon. And so ends season 19 in Cyprus for me.
Today was the last real work day for me on Cyprus for the summer. Bill and I spent the morning in the museum, illustrating artifacts, trying to reconcile any issues, and preparing artifacts (stone tools, sculpture, etc.) for other specialists to analyze later this year. It was not as hectic as in past years where our last days involved frantic work that saw us trying desperately to finish everything up and running out of time. This year we seemed to be operating on schedule so to speak. It is a little strange though, because this is the end of the project – and this is a topic we talked about a bit this summer. Even though we probably will be back in Larnaca next summer, it will only be to finish up any odds and ends that emerge as we complete the manuscript for PKAP II. In essence, PKAP is now over after 14 seasons of survey, excavation, and study. It is very strange to think about that – for me, it is a project I started trying to organize the summer before I was hired at IUP, so it has been an important part of my academic life. On the other hand, there are a number of other projects on Cyprus that I am involved with so it is not like I am leaving the island behind. Still, strange to think about. The work this morning was a little humorous. A large number of technicians/workmen were at the museum this morning and they periodically moved near us and carried on a fairly loud conversation that made it hard for me and Bill to carry on a conversation. Then, a large bee flew into the room and if you know Bill, you know that this involved an immediate freakout and a lot of yelling at the bee.
As for potato chips, my goal was to make it to 50 this year, but it looks like that is not going to happen. Today’s chip, Tsakiris Chips Sweet Barbeque is #46. I am obviously a barbeque flavor fan, so this sounded like a great chip to try. It was…unusual. The barbeque flavor was good but faint. There was some other flavor though. I think it was a smoke flavor, and I noticed on the ingredient list it included smoke flavoring. I did not really like it, it left a strange aftertaste – and Bill agreed with me. So, I give it a – **** (4).