After traveling for over 9 hours from Georgia, Courtney and I finally arrived to Cyprus’ Ercan airport. First travel mistake: even if you think everything will be okay, don’t land in a foreign country at 1am. Yikes.
We waited in line at customs and were successfully admitted into the country around 1:30am. Our Airbnb hosts were so gracious and decided to stay up late to greet us, they just wanted us to call them as soon as we landed. So, I went to a counter to purchase a SIM card. The man at the counter was nice enough to also hail us a taxi and convinced them to take us to our host’s house so late. He haggled with the cabbie and finally settled on 200 Turkish lira if we wanted to ride with two other people going in the same direction. The price was steep but we knew this was our only option so late at night. Besides, it was also the last taxi available.
We dropped off the two other passengers and it’s just Courtney and me left in the car. The taxi driver asks me to move up next to him so I can give him directions. I hesitantly moved to the front seat and opened Google Maps to my host’s home. Second travel mistake: always make sure you have a full phone battery upon landing in a foreign country. Of course, my phone dies as we are beginning to approach the host’s home. Thank goodness the cabbie had a USB plug so I was able to turn on my phone.
The funny part about Cyprus (really just horrible) is that it’s split between a Turkish side and Greek side. We crossed over the border with the cabbie and then my worst nightmare happens, my phone has no service. Those assholes! They never told me the SIM card wouldn’t work on the Greek side. Third travel mistake: always do research about which SIM card company is best and how far service extends in the country.
I had a bad feeling as we approached what we thought was our host’s home. The taxi driver dropped us off, refusing to allow us to call our host with his cell phone. He also began arguing that we owed him 220 Turkish lira when he had already agreed on 200.
Stranded without cellular service, we walked around for a few minutes frantically looking for house number 59 on Stadiou Street. It was 3am at this point and all I wanted to do was sleep or break down crying. Thank goodness a man was walking down the street who gave us advice to walk a few meters to a 24-hour taxi stand and ask for better directions.
We entered the taxi stand looking quite distressed. We asked two men sitting at a table puffing on cigarettes if they could help us find 59 Stadiou Street. The man looks at us and shakes his head while saying, “Ohh no. That’s on the other side of town.” I threw my bags down and plopped on the disgusting, ripped couch holding my head in my hands. What the hell were we supposed to do now? We already spent the majority of our money on a taxi and now we were on the other side of town. Just our luck.
Courtney asked the man how long it would take to walk. He chuckled and told us a few hours. Tears began welling up in Courtney’s eyes and then the man graciously offered to take us to our host’s home for free since he was already going that way. Was this real life? The man was a godsend. On top of that, he told us to relax and bought us two Sprites. We waited for him to get off work and then he called our hosts to tell them we were on the way.
We finally arrived to our host’s home at 3:30am. I felt like a teenager getting home past curfew. Hanging my head low, I told the man we were so sorry and attempted to tell him everything that happened. He told us it would be fine and showed us to our room, which was filled with a lovely bowl of apples, grapes and a pomegranate.
After such a long day of travel and everything not going our way, all we wanted to do was sleep. Then, we took one look at the bed and were in shock. Was this bed seriously going to fit Courtney and me? We spent the evening with our limbs hanging off the bed but regardless, had a nice slumber after such a horrible day.
Thankfully, the next day renewed our faith in humanity. The hosts are absolutely incredible and cooked us a delicious Cypriot meal of ttava, salad and sugar melon. For dessert we tried apple pie, chocolate cake and olive pie. The hosts even showed us around Nicosia and took us to a sandy beach at Lanarca.
While I watched the sun go down over the Mediterranean Sea, I thought about the night before. Although we could have been better prepared travelers, I still think the majority of people in this world are good, like the man who drove us at 3am for free and our hosts who cooked us an incredible lunch. When you see someone in distress, make an effort to help them out because likely, they’ll pay in forward.