This morning, when I walked outside, the weather was bright and sunny with clear blue skies. I could smell the fragrant aroma of spring flowers blooming, and birds chirping happily in melodic song. But today was not one of those days as people on the island were not taking notice of the beautiful spring morning. No, today was the day that banks in Cyprus opened their doors again for business.
I wasn’t sure if I would be able to capture photos of people waiting in lines or any protests on the streets since it’s been a busy few weeks in our household. Not because of the financial crisis in Cyprus, but rather our family health has not been well. Prof has been suffering from some painful sprain/bruising on his ankle. The bleeding and swelling looks like it’s subsiding, but from a visual standpoint it looks dreadfully awful. Linus has been suffering from a cold/flu for the last three days. Piano Man and I have been sick as well, but nothing significant to report since we are able to walk and go on during the day.
Back to the Financial Situation in Cyprus
This morning I had to drop off Prof at work since his ankle is still in terrible condition. On our drive, I noticed a security guard at a larger bank outside its doors at 8:30 am, a lady waiting outside at another bank, and another person withdrawing cash from the ATM at a third bank. I thought, “It’s going to be a long day if people are starting to line up at the bank at 8:30 in the morning.”
After Linus’ very long morning nap, Linus and I trekked around our neighborhood to see how everyone was doing on this particular day. We visited Laiki, Allianz, and Hellenic Banks. (Each of the banks was on the same street, one block away from the other.) Starting from Laiki to Allianz, and finally to Hellenic, the lines went from longest to shortest.
From a distance, I noticed one of the ladies, who worked at the local bakery, and she looked more grumpy than usual. I thought it was probably best not to say hi and walk on.
Today’s Take Away
The New York Times posted an article online about people’s perspectives regarding the financial crisis as they waited in lines this morning. Business owners have not been able to pay their bills or their employees. Those without ATM cards haven’t been able to pay for goods or services because businesses, such as petrol (gas) stations, are asking for payments in cash. There are growing concerns that basic goods will become in short supply because Cyprus “imports almost everything.” It’s gotten to the point where the ECB has flown in €1.5 billion of physical cash to a safe location on the island.
The weather is gorgeous outside, but the hearts and minds of the people living in Cyprus are weighing heavy today.