My driver Charis is also a wonderful companion. There’s so much to know about Cyprus and once I confessed my ignorance beyond knowing there’s a Greek side (where I’m staying) and a Turkish side (where I landed), Charis happily shared his perspective on the unique situation of the island.
In 1974, when Turkey invaded, only 50,000 of the 700,000 island residents were Turkish Cypriots.
Today the Turkish population continues to grow, fed by migration from Turkey, but the island is still about 65% on the Greek side. Things are much cheaper on the Turkish side and it’s common for drivers like Charis to make shopping runs . The checkpoints are an interesting experience, made a little unnerving by the fact that fir some reason the Turkish side did not register my arrribsl during the immigration process at the airport, and so the checkpoint guard nearly detained me. All is well now and checkpoint on the Greek side was a breeze, without customs.
Charis gave me great recommendations of places to eat but I’m chained to my hotel room desk for now with upcoming work calls. I hope to have a few hours to explore the old city.