Crossing into the Buffer Zone

We drove to the Turkish-Cypriot side of the island on a brisk Saturday morning (December 8th). It had been raining the past couple of days, and the night before was particularly rainy.

Prof drove us to the buffer zone, where he got us visas (basically papers allowing us to cross over), auto “insurance” to drive your car, and some tourist maps.

When you cross through the buffer zone, passport personnel do not stamp your passports, since you are going through occupied territory.  This is why they give you a piece of paper that states you are allowed to cross over to the other side of the island. And foreigners buy “insurance” on their vehicle, even though they have insurance from the Greek-Cypriot side.  You can choose to not buy insurance, but I don’t know if that is such a wise thing to do, since you never know what repercussions you may face for not buying added insurance.

Once we got situated with everything, Prof drove on.  We saw a sign on the opposite side of lane that said, “How Happy I Am to Say I’m a Turk.” I can’t remember what it said on our side, but it reminded me of a recent episode of “Parks and Recreation” (episode titled, “Pawnee Commons” – watch starting from 5:20 seconds).

If you know the background of the show, there is a rivalry between two neighboring towns, Pawnee (where Leslie Knope, Amy Pohler’s character, is from) and the town of Eagleton.

When you leave the town of Pawnee, the sign says:

“City of Pawnee, Now Leaving Pawnee, Come Back Soon!”

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(Source)

And when you leave the town of Eagleton, the sign says:

“City of Eagleton, Now Entering Pawnee, Good Luck with That.”

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(Source)

I wonder if there are any lessons that can be learned from a thirty-minute sitcom?

Stay tuned tomorrow for photos of our day trip to another very beautiful side of Cyprus. It’s all about castles and medieval stuff! So get your princes’ and princesses’ hats on!

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2 thoughts on “Crossing into the Buffer Zone

  1. Wow, I knew nothing about Cypriot history until I started reading your blog, and just now, reading about it in Wikipedia. I had no idea the island was split like that. From what I gather the island is an independent nation, recognized by the EU, so why then is the northern half (the Turkish-Cypriot side) considered occupied territory? Are Greek-Cypriots and Turkish-Cypriots openly hostile towards one another? I know the two countries have quite the history and when we visited Turkey people didn’t speak very kindly of the Greeks. Isn’t it amazing how historical conflict continues to carry into the present day? Oh! Love the “Parks and Recreation” comparison!

    • Yes, Cyprus is an independent country and now part of the EU. The occupied territory issue is one I do not fully understand, but it stems from the Turkish invasion in 1974. I also don’t know the level of hostility between the Turkish-Cypriots and Greek-Cypriots. I can only share my experiences with the Cypriots in relation to me, and so far, they have all been very kind.

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