My first Sunday in Cyprus was special. Although I’m here to work and hopefully find a way to earn a sustainable income, and work my butt off on some projects I have in mind, you can’t help but say yes when a friend asks if you want to head to a Cypriot BBQ at his friend’s place next to the sea.
So we headed out in the afternoon to my friend’s friend’s place and hung out for a while. We ate mostly junk food in the beginning and talked. It was nice, but then we went to the grocery store.
It was kind of strange, actually. The grocery store was full of British people. Many British people have bought homes, whether full-time retirement homes or winter homes, in the North Cyprus city of Kyrenia. Hearing English all around was strange when I’ve been surrounded by Turkish for a little while now.
We bought all kinds of things – meat, chicken, fat, ribs, Cyprus’s own halloumi cheese, Turkish pita bread, salad stuff, drinks, etc. I could tell just from what we bought that this was going to be a feast. And a feast it was!
First, the place was amazing. The house was beautiful, from the yard you could see the Mediterranean Sea, and there was a pool. The pool didn’t have any water though, and it wasn’t warm enough to swim anyway. It was maybe 21C/70F, but it was very windy. In the sun it was nice, but in the shade it was quite cool. The smell in the air was amazing. It was a mix between the sea, jasmine, and other flowers I’ve yet to identify.
There was a detached bar and grilling station, complete with a shower (for the pool) and bathroom. Ingenious!
While the coals were being heated we prepared the skewers (skewer is shish in Turkish, which is where shish kebab comes from in English). I was surprised how simple it was. No spices or anything were added. We just put two pieces of meat, then a cube of fat, then two more pieces of meat, then a cube of fat, and then two more pieces of meat. The chicken ones were put on directly with no fat.
The skewers ready, the coals heated, there no other option but to cook all that goodness and have some fun in the meantime!
The results were spectacular. The food was amazing, the company fun, and the day perfect. The guys there all consider each other brothers from another mother. They’ve been friends for years and years and I really felt like I was taking part in a family event.
Some of the guys there currently work in Turkey. All of them went to universities in different countries after high school. But they all get together when they’re in town. It’s not something uniquely Mediterranean, per se, but I think the spirit of it all is. It’s hard to put spirit or intent into words, but trust me when I say that it was a family occasion with all of the good stuff and none of the drama. I couldn’t imagine spending a better Sunday in Cyprus, but this was just my first one. Maybe there are even better ways to spend a Sunday here!