So it was a pretty normal school week, except that partying started on Tuesday instead of Wednesday. On Tuesday night our GLS friend Dana helped to organize a huge international party with the Erasmus students at a club. Since the club was normally not opened until Wednesdays they were able to rent it out for our group of kids with an open bar. They even organized a bus so that we wouldn't need to take a taxi. It was lots of fun! There were a bunch of Americans from our group and a TON of international students from the Erasmus program and everyone had a great time. On Thursday we met up with Nitza, whose brother works in the United States with Mr. P and Kelly's dad. It turns out she lives within waking distance of our apartment and she's super nice! She picked us up from outside of our apartment building and drove us to her apartment where we met her young grandkids who were learning to count in English. She bought us some baked goods from Zorba's and made us American (filtered) coffee which was wonderful. She told us about herself, about how she was in her 20s when Turkey invaded her hometown of Famagusta and forced her to abandon her home and move to the unoccupied side of the country. Famagusta is still a ghost town-all of the homes that were abandoned remain that way, untouched since the invasion. We told her about how we had travelled to the Turkish side twice already and she said she could never go back because she refused to show a passport to go home. She was very hospitable and told us about museums and things downtown that she could take us to on her days off, and how she wanted to take us bowling. She also told us that if there was anything else that we needed she would gladly help us out. She dropped us back off at home around 7 when Dez had Greek class. Meeting her was a wonderful experience, and it was so nice to be a guest in her home. That night Dez and I went out to Fusion, a club we had never been to before. Martin went home to Paphos for the weekend and Kel and Lauren didn't want to come out. It was neat-there was house/techno, international, R&B, and 80s music. We met our Erasmus friends there and then when the place closed went to Antonio and Carlos' place for an "afterparty"-we basically sat around and talked for a while, while Carlos criticized our Spanish. At the crack of dawn Carlos walked us home (which wasn't far) and we made him his first-ever grilled cheese. He also told us about how the Americans he met last semester made him try peanut butter and he absolutely hated it.
When we woke up around 12 on Friday we all packed for our weekend adventure to Paphos. We originally planned to take a bus, but when we called Nitza for directions to the bus station she said that it would be better for us to call a service taxi. We called a service taxi, which ended up being a big van, and it came to pick us up around 3ish. It picked up a few other kids around Nicosia and then we headed south. We rode in the taxi for about an hour to Limassol, where we got out and picked up another taxi that took us to Paphos. It was about another hour or so until we arrived at Paphos, where the taxi dropped us off at the beach so Martin could pick us up and take us to our hotel (thanks Martin!). We arrived at a completely empty hotel, where we had to call the owners to come and let us in. I guess it's the off-season, so it was pretty empty. The owners let us in to our 4 person hotel room which was super nice and super clean. After settling in, we (along with Martin's British friend Rochelle, who is FANTASTIC) went to get food at a tavern next door. When we arrived the owner (who was Greek and had a very thick accent) told us that since it was the off-season there wasn't much of a variety of food-specifically 4 lamb dishes, 2 chicken and 2 pork kabobs. We took everything and it was great. As we were eating some live entertainment showed up-a singer/guitarist. He was very nice and very good. When the owner discovered that we were American he got SO excited that he gave us rounds and rounds of drinks, starting with 2 shots of brandy. We graciously accepted them all (it would have been rude to turn them away!). After a few rounds, we were all up singing and dancing and getting everyone else in the tavern up singing and dancing. At the table next to us was a family from Ireland who was happy to help us entertain. Of course my friends encouraged me to Irish Dance for them, and they were super excited and asking me where in Ireland I was from haha (I guess I didn't look Greek). We continued to dance and sing all night, and the bartender contnued to make us fancy drinks and amaze us with his mixing skills. It turned out that the owner's 17 year old son was a traditional Greek dancer, so we showed us some moves and we all danced together. At around 3 am we decided to call it a night and we headed back to our hotel. We decided that we needed some eats for the next morning, so Martin drove Rochelle, Kell and I to the nearest kiosk that was 3 km away. Rochelle actually drove us there, but Martin was nervous letting her drive his car so on the way back he drove. We ended up getting pulled over by the fuzz at a checkpoint, where Martin had to blow into a breathalizer. It was very strange being in the backseat listening to him and the cop speak Greek to eachother and not knowing what was going on. Everything was fine though, and they let us go on our way.
The next morning we woke around 1130 to a cloudless sky and headed down to the beach, which we could see from our fantastic balcony. We laid in the sun for a little while before swimming in the lagoon. The water was cold, but probably about as cold as the Jersey shore in the middle of the summer. The water was super clear, and even though there wasn't a lot of sand there were lots of rocks to jump off of. There was only one other person in the water, and he must have been on vacation from somewhere because all of the Cypriots we saw were walking around dressed in black with their winter coats on. Anyway we all made it in successfully and were just so happy to finally be in the sea. We got out not too much later and dried off in the sun, and hungout on the beach until the sun set. Since it was Valentine's Day we made dinner together and got some champagne, and Dezi picked a mini bouquet of flowers for our dinner table. Martin showed up a while later with his traveling hairdresser who came over to cut Dezi's hair for 5 euros (and it looked good!) and then we drank a bit of cheap rum and headed out to bar street. Martin drove us around and showed us some bars in Paphos, many of which were closed, and we decided to head to a place called Robin Hood's which was shaped like a CASTLE! Inside it was very medieval too, and drinks weren't expensive. We stayed there and drank and requested songs for a while, and then headed over to a karaoke bar. Turns out I LOVE karaoke. We stayed there for a while and our friend Stephanos (the traditional Greek dancer) bought us some drinks while we sang Pretty Fly (for a White Guy) and I Want You Back. Dezi did the Devil Went Down to Georgia solo and Martin and Lauren did a duet of Summernights from Grease. All in all it was a very fun filled evening. We went back and Dez and I jumped in the pool at our hotel (much colder than the ocean) and showered.
Yesterday morning we woke up and checked out, and got lunch at a brick oven pizza place (which was awesome and inexpensive). We carted all of our luggage down to the beach again and ended up hanging out in a resort lobby with hot chocolate and chocolate cake waiting for Martin to arrive with his mom so that we could discuss our trip to Egypt. She was very nice and very informative, and said she would be finalizing the details of the trip today. We packed Martin's car nice and tight with all of our bags and headed home to our Intercollege Apartment, stopping at good old McDonald's on the way home.