A par­adise with­out an­gels?

Financial Mirror (Cyprus) - - FRONT PAGE -

“We should con­sider our­selves very for­tu­nate that God and fate brought us to live in this coun­try,” a Bri­tish prop­erty buyer in Paphos told us, who af­ter a year of per­ma­nent res­i­dence, is de­lighted with both the place, and the friend­li­ness of the lo­cals and his neigh­bours. Be­cause, if we don’t praise our own home it will fall and crush us, as the old say­ing goes, writ­ten by this gen­tle­man in a lengthy let­ter oto our of­fice.

That is good to know, but we should also re­alise how for­eign­ers view us, since the real es­tate mar­ket de­pends to a large ex­tent on for­eign buy­ers (2013: 27%, 2014: 26%, 2015: 27%). Let’s see what these com­ments are: • “The weather says it all. Do you know what it means to have nine months of sum­mer weather and wake up ev­ery day watch­ing the sea? It makes your day.”

• Safety, ac­cord­ing to for­eign buy­ers, is the sec­ond ma­jor ben­e­fit for Cyprus af­ter the weather. Even though the rate of theft is grow­ing, how­ever se­ri­ous crimes are few, lim­ited mainly in tourist ar­eas and at in­ap­pro­pri­ate hours, while thefts may be pre­vented by some ba­sic pre­cau­tions by ten­ants.

• The cost of liv­ing, that has a slightly up­ward trend, is not so tragic once you learn where to shop and what com­mer­cial cen­tres you visit (es­pe­cially out­side of the tourist ar­eas), al­beit more ex­pen­sive than in the UK and Greece

• Roads are at ac­cept­able level and trans­port is rel­a­tively easy, even though lo­cal driv­ers need to learn bet­ter driv­ing skills and the use of the traf­fic code, in­clud­ing park­ing.

• There are some for­eign schools in all towns of an ac­cept­able to high level, while lo­cal univer­si­ties have yet to en­joy in­ter­na­tional rep­u­ta­tion, with a mix­ture of EnglishGreek teach­ing, while the qual­ity of teach­ers, mainly in public schools, is not the best.

• Cyprus does not have ex­treme nat­u­ral or weather phe­nom­ena with flooded roads and boats crash­ing un­der huge waves, while the rate of for­est fires has seen a down­ward trend.

• Lo­cals are friendly to the point that some­times you might be ex­hausted from their hos­pi­tal­ity and their un­in­vited vis­its, even though they of­ten bring gifts with them.

• “Neigh­bours are an im­por­tant part of the ‘qual­ity of life’ and of­fer us any help we may ask, even if sev­eral times they might be noisy.”

• The health and al­most free med­i­cal care of­fered in the gov­ern­ment hos­pi­tals is of a sat­is­fac­tory level, de­spite all the “fail­ures” pub­lished in the lo­cal press from time to time. “But, the same also hap­pens in the UK.”

• “Bu­reau­cracy can lead you to de­spair,” with unan­swered letters and in­dif­fer­ence to your prob­lem that ir­ri­tates peo­ple more, even though this af­fects to a greater ex­tent mostly for­eign res­i­dents, which is an un­ac­cept­able dis­crim­i­na­tion.

• Lo­cal events, con­certs, fes­ti­vals, in­volve­ment in char­i­ties, join­ing var­i­ous as­so­ci­a­tions, fill the time very pleas­antly for for­eign res­i­dents with many of them gain­ing new friends. “Your dif­fi­cult lan­guage, how­ever, does not help, since the lo­cal di­alect is quite dif­fer­ent from the Greek lan­guage and the lo­cals in an ef­fort to help us an­swer in pi­geon-Greek or Grenglish. How are we ex­pected to learn the lan­guage, at our ad­vanced age, even though we may have a teacher on a weekly ba­sis?”

• “Po­lice, although not the best, de­pends, in our ex­pe­ri­ence on in­di­vid­u­als you might meet and this varies from one of­fi­cer to the other, rather than a gen­eral stan­dard.”

• “Lo­cal English-lan­guage news­pa­pers, the var­i­ous English-speak­ing ra­dio sta­tions in­clud­ing that of the Bases, lo­cal chan­nels with English films keep us well in­formed about lo­cal news and more.”

• Praise also comes in the form of trans­parency. “Be­cause you your­selves have raised the is­sue of cor­rup­tion as seen in a num­ber of re­cent cases, this is the best for the fu­ture, and do not think that we Bri­tish are any bet­ter. We too have sim­i­lar prob­lems.”

• Af­ter the clo­sure of Cyprus Air­ways, although some said there would be a de­cline in tourism, the num­bers have ac­tu­ally risen. This is an ex­am­ple of pri­vati­sa­tion that will help em­ploy­ment of the new gen­er­a­tion and in­crease lo­cal com­merce and qual­ity of life.

• The taxes are tol­er­a­ble although for­eign res­i­dents of­ten protest that they pay for public ser­vices they have not seen - such as charg­ing for sew­er­age (not avail­able), clean­li­ness (in­com­plete), street light­ing (great de­lay in re­pairs), etc.

• Courts is the worst, ac­cord­ing to for­eign res­i­dents and ex­pats, not so much for the de­ci­sions taken, but the long time it takes to try cases and im­ple­ment de­ci­sions, which defeats the whole pur­pose of ‘swift’ jus­tice. What is needed is great care and vig­i­lance.

Another re­tired lawyer from Bri­tain wrote to us say­ing “in love with Cyprus” an in com­par­i­son with other ex­pat des­ti­na­tions, such as France, Spain and Italy, he con­cludes “as a place Cyprus is par­adise, but there may be fewer an­gels than we would ex­pect.”

We listed them in or­der to feel a lit­tle bit bet­ter and en­cour­aged, de­spite the sad­ness and trou­bles we see ev­ery­day.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cyprus

© PressReader. All rights reserved.