Marquette Theatre Dept Goes to Cyprus

By Deb Krajec

The following post is written by Marquette University Theatre Arts Faculty member Debra Krajec about her first trip to Cyprus to plan for a 3 week Summer Abroad Experience for Theatre students to study and observe ancient Greek drama in performance.  She is traveling with friend, colleague, and former student James Thomas Bailey (Artistic Director of ComedySportz L.A.). Read her entire trip blog online at http://marquettetheatregoestocyprus.wordpress.com.

Krajec and Bailey before their flight to Cyprus.

Krajec and Bailey before their flight to Cyprus.

We started with a bus from Milwaukee to O’Hare airport in Chicago.  Look how excited and relaxed we look.

Hour an a half to airport. We checked in at Lufthansa, and MY huge suitcase that I was sure was going to be overweight due to all the extra packets and gifts I was bringing went thru fine, but James’s second case  they said was too big and heavy to carry on, so we had to pay $50 to check it.  Grrr… had to have it, full of gifts and materials for meetings.

Had almost 3 hours until flight so we found an Italian restaurant where we sat and had a calamari appetizer (James said – “you like calamari and octopus? you’re going to do fine on Cyprus.”) and a salad, and boarded the plane we tried to get our seats changed – no go, a full flight. Sigh. Leaving @3:40 PM was different for James – he usually goes really early in AM or late at night and gets to Cyprus in the dark.  This flight might be the way we want to go in future, because we get there after lunch and can see the country.

Flight went well UNTIL little boy ad girl started playing video games really loud when everyone was trying to sleep, and kept kicking out seats and crashing the tray tables down.  James talked to the kids 4 times, nicely asking them to stop. then finally he woke the father up, who was totally oblivious to all of this, and asked him to please take control of the kids.  father said..”they’re juts kids, that’s what they do..” and James said, “Yes and you’re an adult, you need to control them. That’s what adults do.”…brilliant.  loved it…but of course it didn’t work.

So we didn’t get any sleep… Got to Frankfurt, had some breakfast about 7 AM…Frankfurt airport is HUGE – long walk from one terminal to the other…McDonald’s there was the most mod I’ve ever seen… had cappuccinos and pastries, and a croissant breakfast sandwich called McCroissant.  No,we did  not eat there.  We went to a real restaurant and shared scrambled eggs, bacon, ham, cheese…and we could have had a beer with breakfast, lots of people were.  they have reclining chairs to rest in in Frankfurt airport, and there were hundreds (HUNDREDS!) of army type cots set up everywhere…no clue what for; they were roped off.

I made it!

Got to gate for flight to Larnaca, Cyprus (Coastline city where international airport is located) when  I realized I had left my iPod on the other plane.  I asked about it – they said I should fill out a form when I got to Cyprus (I was so excited and groggy when I got there, I forgot to..never did it. Darn it). James & I sat across each other this time, got another nice hot breakfast (scrambled eggs w/chives and hot spinach) and you could also have free beer, wine or champagne!  These Europeans – so civilized! I wanted to sleep SO BADLY, but every time I dozed off, something woke me.

So we arrived an hour late in Larnaca at 2:45 Cyprus time Saturday afternoon, which was 6:45 AM Milwaukee time, w/ no sleep. I felt awful. We get off plane into a brand new really nice little airport. I went and splashed some water on my face and felt better. We got thru customs fast, because James lead me thru Diplomatic line (since we are guests of the US Embassy, we thought we’d get away with it, and we did, no questions asked – COOL). Got our luggage with no issues, and found our driver waiting for us.  THOC had arranged for a taxi driver that they use to pick us up and drive us to Nicosia – really nice guy named Michalis Lazarou, and he owns a beautiful black Mercedes-Benz – so we drive to Nicosia in air-conditioned splendor. And air-conditioning is really important because it is HOT here.  Yep, very warm in late June, so make a note of that. Upper 80’s & 90′s, with evening  more cool and pleasant. By the ocean it is cooler in daytime, but more muggy, due to water.

Drive to Nicosia is about 30 minutes, because these folks drive FAST!  Left-sided driving here, left over from Brits, I imagine, as is the common use of English (which is SO helpful!!). The countryside is nothing like I imagined. I thought, island in Mediterranean?  Tropical and green. Nope – it’s very desert-like – looks like southern Arizona without the red rocks.  Sand and rock, scrubby trees, evergreens, cactus, mountains and hills with lots of patches of white limestone showing… much more a desert-looking place than I expected.  There are palms trees as well as olive trees, fig trees, vineyards and even carob trees.

Nicosia as far as I have seen it is a dichotomy…OLD things, ruins from ancient times, alongside with modern architecture, beautiful alongside the crappy and beat up.  There is no zoning here – at all.  And you really can’t get a measure of what is there by just the outside of buildings either, because often it is nicer on the inside.

Our hotel, the Royaitiko, is in the old Town, an older section of town in the middle, surrounded by a Venetian wall, left over from the Renaissance times when the Venetians ruled here. This place has been conquered by so many civilizations, and they all have left their mark.  The streets are more like narrow alleys, sidewalks are about 10 inches wide at times. There is a pedestrian high street (main drag) a half block from here, which is really cool, because this street is full of shops and restaurants, coffee shops, ice cream, etc. There are several streets like that close by.

James & I both have large modern rooms (they are actually the handicap rooms) with a balcony and french doors with shutters. Nice and comfy, a breakfast each morning downstairs, Internet and an European shower. It’s a small boutique hotel, does have a lap pool and a gym. VERY tiny elevator. But nice.

Deb Krajec is an Artistic Associate Professor of Theatre at Marquette University. See more posts and photos from her trip to Cyprus with students from the Marquette Theatre Department at: http://marquettetheatregoestocyprus.wordpress.com.

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