my Cyprus, my Κύπρος, my Kıbrıs

A second first time

Submerged in Nicosia traffic, check after check at non-existent checkpoints, and an hour and a half later I arrive at my destination, our choir rehearsal.

This was the first time I’d crossed to the north since the start of the covid pandemic in Cyprus in March, 2020.

As I was simply going from point A to B i.e from my home (to my mother’s home) and then to our choir rehearsal, I didn’t have much of a chance to notice any changes aside from a few swish new buildings that had popped up along the main road from Dereboyu to the crossing point.

However, the extra check that took place at the crossing point/checkpoint by the Greek Cypriot police on the way to the north was impossible to miss.

I asked, “Is this a new procedure (checking us on the way to the north too)?”

He said, “No it’s been in place for ages.”

Given that I hadn’t crossed in a year and a half, I guess I wouldn’t know about any new procedures.

However, there’s an irony to the situation: whenever you may imply or say outright that there is a border in place across the island, you’ll be reprimanded and told that there is no border, but that the other side is occupied.

These days though the crossing points are looking very much like checkpoints. Are they not?

How will we continue to impress this point upon visitors to the island?

A round trip to Trahonas and back (30km) from Strovolos required the following:

  • ID shown four times
  • Vaccination card shown once
  • Insurance bought (separate insurance for the north) and shown once
  • Rapid test shown once (you need a rapid test for indoor spaces in the north)

And by the way, the following week on the way back, a Greek Cypriot official simply waved us through.

Notes

  • It was necessary for me to obtain my insurance at the crossing point and not from the usual company in the north that I get it from. As a result, insurance is much more expensive.
  • Due to the increase in covid infections on both sides, we now require a rapid test (printed out and in English) to cross to the north.

 

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