Carnival!

Trip Start Jan 20, 2010
1
9
40
Trip End May 15, 2010


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Flag of Cyprus  , Limassol,
Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Valentines day! Today we went to the carnival in Lemesos. The carnival is a weeklong celebration that on the last day (Sunday) there is a huge parade in the streets to kick off the start of lent on Monday. Monday is Green Monday, a religious holiday, where you go out into fields and have a picnic lunch; literally translated means to clean or to cleanse the body for the start of lent. We (Johanah, Becca, Anna, Paige and myself) took a service taxi down to Lemesos because there was not enough room on the bus provided by the school. Because we left earlier than the school bus, we were able to eat lunch at a little café right on the water. As we sat and eat outside, we watched hundreds of people walk by in costume. I had mussels cooked in garlic butter and garlic bread (good thing I didn't have to kiss anyone!) After eating lunch we made out way to the parade to meet up with our friends that had come down by bus (Randi, Mitch, Isaac and Andi). The parade was so different than any parade in the United States because there were literally thousands of people that participated and there was no order or theme to it. For example, we saw people dressed as little mermaids, Oreos, polar bears, tennis players, clowns, a euro coin and raindrops. We were told by one of our teachers that people dress up either to make fun of someone or something or as something they admire. The parade lasted almost two hours.

After the parade was over we walked down toward the beach and saw thousands of Chinese people all over this one lawn, as we walked through them, we realized it was a "farmers market" however they sold everything from oranges to bras to mix masters. We sat on the rocks and watched the sunset. A few times we had people come up to us and ask if they could take our picture, we are not sure if they wanted to because we were in costume or because we were American. After the sunset we walked down along the water on a walking path with the water on our left and the most interesting artwork on our right. After walking to the end we found a restaurant across from a castle, (we had heard there were fireworks at 9:30 above the castle). They sat us upstairs (we are often seated away from everyone because it is a common misconception they think Americans are loud). For dinner I had a pepper burger, the burgers here are very different than the burgers in the United States. The meat is often mixed with all sorts of herbs, almost like a meatball. While they are good, they do not satisfy my craving for a nice juicy burger. When we first arrived at the restaurant there were not many people around, however when we were leaving, there were about three thousand people dancing in the streets. There was live music, a conga line, venders selling beer and balloons and everyone was dancing. While it was a little difficult to dance it was fun. The firework show was a little disappointing, it was not as grand as in the United States, it lasted about five minutes and there was no grand finally. After the fireworks ended, we and three thousand other people tried to knock each other down leaving. While one would think that you would just follow the flow of everyone, there were about 500 people trying to walk in the opposite direction as us. It was a rather scary ten minutes getting out, and Paige and I got yelled at in Greek by some older woman for getting too close to her stand (she was selling soccer balls and stuffed bears.)

After making it out alive, we walked back down to the water and sat on the rocks detoxing and reclaiming our personal space killing time before it was time to go home. All in all it was an amazing day!
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