Wednesday, 9 January 2019

Larnaca, Cyprus (Nicolaides Sea View City) 

Before leaving London I enjoyed a good-bye breakfast with Prean and Viktor at a restaurant at Sloane Square. I had my choice of two restaurants (per Prean) and selected the second of the two, just because it was slightly less crowded. It wasn’t until after we were seated that Prean informed me that Eddie Redmayne (the actor) was at the first restaurant with his daughter. Regardless, we had a great breakfast (Viktor and I each ordered Eggs Benedict) with our usual lively conversation. Our waiter, we discovered, was from Egypt and could speak some Russian. Very impressive! Outside we said our good-byes, knowing that it will be late May when I return. 

The day before I left London, Airbnb informed me that I will receive a 30% refund for what I paid for the flat, as a result of the lack of resolution for repairing the thermostat to restore the heat. I was floored. I didn’t quite expect this much of a refund but they were frustrated because they couldn’t get the host to respond as well. I accepted their offer!

Soon after I was informed of the refund, I went online to check-in for my flight the following day. I discovered, when I saw the seating assignment, that I was given a middle seat. This is for a 4+ hour flight. I called British Air and asked if there was another seat available, even though I saw that all of the other seats were taken. No, was their answer. I had seen during check-in that for around $250 I could upgrade to first class and asked if this offer was still available. The British Air representative said that I could still upgrade but it would be $900 more for my ticket. I thanked him, thinking that was that. As it turned out it wasn’t. I went back to the online check-in and started the process again. I then again saw the upgrade offer for $250 extra, and with my refund for the flat in place, I took the lower-priced upgrade offer and my flight was booked with me in first class. Almost for “free”. 

The following morning, the 8th, I was up early to finish my packing and cleaning the flat. I could have left it as-is, but I have my standards and made sure that it was in good condition. As an extra precaution, I took pictures of how the flat looked when I left. Given the hefty discount, perhaps the host would say that the flat was in poor condition. When I was out of the flat I sent a text to the host’s management team and let them know I was out and that I had taken pictures of how I left the flat. 

I left myself plenty of time to reach Heathrow and arrived well before check-in was available. Was a good time to have a cup of coffee and relax. As a result of my upgrade, I joined a very short line for check-in then was directed to the British Air lounge and enjoyed a little nourishment before boarding my flight. 

Was nice to have extra room to enjoy the flight. Though, since I was in the last row of first class, I happened to be in front of a family of four traveling to Larnaca. They were very restless, taking care of two young children, who insisted on kicking the back of my seat. Between me and the flight attendant, we put a stop to that. The father was actually wrestling with his son behind me.  

Very uneventful trip otherwise and we arrived in Larnaca ahead of schedule. After a quick passing through Passport Control I picked up my luggage and was outside looking for a taxi to take me to the flat within 10 minutes. 

When I arrived at the flat I was surprised that Marcel, the Airbnb host, was there to greet me. He is usually in Limassol where he lives and I use the lockbox to fetch the key. I guess he wanted to show me how he and his cleaning crew had prepared the flat for my 30-day stay. Was good to see him again and we make plans to meet up in a couple of weeks for coffee in Limassol. He said there was snow in the mountains so I made a mental note to visit the mountains within this next week.

Everything was the same as my previous three stays. There will be no learning curve to settle in. I went to the local corner market to pick up a little bit of food to carry me through until the following morning then unpacked. I slept very well my first night.

I also slept in late the following morning but was up early enough to watch the sun rise, and take a few pictures, before going back to bed again. By the time I got myself organized to leave for the store, it was time to watch the sunset. I took a few pictures of that event as well. 

Marcel recommended a market that was located closer to the flat, which I didn’t know about. When I arrived at the market, it was like a medium-sized shop that carried groceries and household goods. No meat or produce to be found. After I returned to the flat with a few items I visited the nearby Pizza Hut and ordered a medium Hawaiian pizza for dinner. Later I had a great phone call with a friend from the U.S. Good to catch up and share updates. We talked a lot about health and Medicare. Given that we’re about the same age, that is what us old folk talk about I guess. 

Seems that friends who I have not heard from in years have reached out to contact me over the past few weeks. Someone who I worked with at U.S. Bank in the 70’s, a high school friend, and someone who I worked with for a few years in Portland. Earlier in 2018 I connected with a grade school friend who I hadn’t seen in over 40 years. So many trips down Memory Lane. Was wondering what is attracting this interest to connect. In any case, I’ve enjoyed connecting and remembering the good times we had together.

Tomorrow I’ll visit my usual grocery store to pick up my traditional chicken to roast and some other food items. The place were I get my pedicures is across the street so will make an appointment on my way to buy groceries. 

Time to relax in Larnaca and enjoy my long stay here. It is stil a bit cold here, but there will be more days of sunshine to enjoy and the beautiful sunrises and sunsets. 

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