Part of our 2008 European Trip. See the explanation and summary entry.
Yesterday here in Cyprus was a pretty quiet one. We pretty much went for a day-trip into the tourist area of Nicosia where there were many strange and exciting things to see. It was quite tiring walking around. Strangely enough I did see a graffiti-stencil of Sam (of Sam & Max fame, pictured) sprayed on a wall there; it was surreal and surprising finding that.
I did spot my first McDonald's though. I have this tradition in which I try to eat a Big Mac in every country I visit. For me it's the best sign of the global community, and i anticipate slight differences of what is the global cuisine in each country ;). I haven't done it here in Cyprus yet, but i'm confident i'll be able to it before we head off to Greece and England.
Today was a little more interesting. We started off by going to a few monasteries near the village that most of my dad's relatives live in. The first monastery that we went to was a small female one; only about 5 nuns. They were really wonderful people, and the nun that I assumed was the abbess spoke fluent English to us, telling us that she had lived in England for 30 years prior to her becoming a nun.
During the day i was wearing my Homestar Runner 'Senior Cardage' t-shirt (pictured), and one of the younger nuns that were showing us around the place, after she had blessed us with oil, remarked that it looked like i was wearing Satan or a demon on my shirt!
A bit taken aback, we tried explaining that it was a cartoon character, but i'm not sure if it carried much weight. In hindsight, i can see the perception from their background and those not familiar with the cartoon or the Mexican wrestling masks in general, and probably should have chosen a more suitable shirt for that day. Though also in hindsight, it is also quite funny.
Next we went to the much larger Machira monastery. Unfortunately the larger part of the monastery was off-limits to visitors as the Cypriot Department of Antiquities were undertaking works in the area for some reason. We did get into seeing the Church, which was quite amazing, and the bookshop there is awesome: multiple languages and plenty of books and wares to buy.
After that, we were shown around my grandfather's and great-grandfather's villages' up in the mountains behind Nicosia. Although I had previously seen them 12 years ago when I was last here, i still found it amazing. Now that i am older I have a much greater appreciation of it.
When we got back to the place that we are staying at, we saw the news from Australia that the Reserve Bank had cut the standard interest rate by a full percent, which is really quite astounding. Although the stupid banks haven't passed on the full cut to us lowly consumers, 0.8 percent is still more than I was expecting they would (which is probably what they wanted us to think as they have tried to condition us to think that way before-hand to make us feel somewhat better when it actually happens).
Although it is great for our home-loan, I can't help but see this huge cut as a bad thing. The Reserve Bank must be seriously worried about the state of the economy to make such a drastic change that no-one else really saw coming.
In looking at the foreign currency exchange rates, in that regard it is quite a bad time for us to be overseas. The Aussie dollar seems to be going all over the place, but generally in a downwards direction. Although it is less so against the Euro and the Pound than against the US dollar, the timing of it still sucks.