“Where did you come from?” he asks quickly and sternly.
“Where the hell do you think? From the Turkish side of course.”
A series of stupid questions and equally witty snapbacks later, he starts to soften his tone. He later explains to me that it is a rather strange border crossing, with a British military base here, a Greek military base there, and a Turkish military base further on. So perhaps that ‘quiet out-of-the-way’ border crossing was not the best choice after all.
Anyway, they are really particular about all my papers and the legality of everything. Unfortunately, one thing I had forgotten to do was to print out my new EU car insurance, which was sent to me only recently by email, so I have to whip out my computer and show them the attached PDF file. They write all the details in their little book, search my truck, and inform me something about some special EU road tax I don’t even know about.
They are even so nice as to mention they could throw me in the slammer right then and there because of the numerous long kitchen knives I have strewn along the dashboard, which doubles as my kitchen counter. I cooperatively snatch those up and hide them in the back.
By now the conversation winds down substantially.
In any case, after it is established that I am not going to take any crap, the tone of the conversation mellows. Still, I find it interesting what questions the cop asks afterwards.
“How about your personal life? Do you not have a woman?”
“I tried for a year before I left, but you know how woman are – they want a hot shower every day, half my closet space for their stupid makeup, and to live nearby their parents.”
“But aren’t you scared by yourself, parking somewhere?”
“Well, you know, I’m a bit of a psycho and can take care of myself.”
The other cop, all this time silent in the background, manifests himself for the first time by a little chuckle.
“Besides, I also ‘feel’ safety. I pursue my safe feelings.”
I can’t remember the question, but I answer, “Well, you know, I’m just a simple tourist, there’s my solar panels, and I wanted to drive around this beautiful island.”
At that point he smiles and his eyes begin to sparkle, “It is beautiful, isn’t it?”
Cop psychology. It’s like disciplining a dog; you must discipline at just the right time, but be quick to feed cookies when their behaviour improves. Saying the words “your beautiful country” almost always wins sympathy and appeals to their national pride. After all, people can often be compared to dogs or worms, reacting to certain stimuli. But it must be administered properly.
Anyway, after this interview, I apologize for getting so sensitive, he explains he was just doing his job, we shake hands, perhaps bond and become friends, and off I am, SOUTHBOUND.
I drive to the other side of the island to Lemassol, the port I assume I would need to ship my truck out of. I get there around 3 pm and am told that I just might be able to catch the ship. I know I do not have enough cash in the bank just yet, so I decide to take the next one.
Which turns out to be the following year, since Christmas was just around the corner. She tells me I will need about 700 Euro for the shipping fees. I drive back to the capital, planning to park on the Greek side next to the border so that I could use the remaining time on my Turkish 3G internet signal.
I end up staying about two months in the capital.
On Sundays I walk across to the Turkish side for some peace of mind. Over my years of living in a Muslim country I realize how generally decadent and selfish people in the capitalist west are. Even the Cypriot Greeks have an added aggressive quality to them. It seems like they are eternally peeved at the fact that the Turks have taken half the island.