So, I’m in Cyprus. OLLO!! ~ or whatever the word Hello is in Cypriot. (P.s. It’s actually “Yassas!!”)
22 hours and a missing-luggage later (thanks, Heathrow), I arrived in Lanarca, and was met by a rather burly, no, obese, chauffeur, who I really thought wouldn’t make the 150m walk to the car with all his wheezing and spluttering. Great, I thought, just what I need after a long flight – a driver who’s ready to die on me. But Peter didn’t die, thankfully, and he got me safely to my hotel in Limassol in one piece about 45 minutes later, having spilled out his entire life story as I feigned wide-eyed alertness. Don’t get me wrong, his stories were interesting, and I was amazed at his worldly knowledge and that he knew Brunei; but after my exhausting journey I just lost the will to live.
I managed only due to my excitement of arriving in Cyprus and absorbing its beautiful landscape and seascape in the fast disappearing daylight.
So I checked in, minus luggage and the obligatory roti-paun inti kacang itam I had packed (just in case, but not quite in this case). Famished, I walked looking for something to eat, but this being Sunday, not many shops were open. I finally found a small cornershop. I thought, well, if I’m gonna eat something, it’s gotta be something local.
I was spoilt for choice really, rasanya kan dibali semua makanan atu, juleng mato. I think the shopkeeper was a little suspicious watching me staying perhaps rather too long in the food section than most right-minded customers would. In the end I got these (amongst other things not shown here):
This one’s coconut candy coated in chocolate. I’ve had some other versions of this candy elsewhere, but this was a product of Cyprus from what I could tell from the Cypriot tulisan jawi. I suppose you can’t go wrong with coconut and chocolate, in Australia my favourite was the Lamingtons, cake coated in choc and coconut, which looks a bit like kuih kusui kitani, except kusui is made of caramelized palm sugar.
While I threw in a few chunks of these into my gob, I prepared myself for this ‘Pie with honey’. This doesn’t really look like any other pie I know, but it does remind me of Roti Bom. Sweet kaya and melted butter in folded prata.
And this was perhaps the most uninteresting of the lot – Cypriot version Danish pastry. First of all it’s not pastry, it’s bread, and secondly, there was nothing special about it.
The coconut candy really made me think: why don’t we produce those stuff in Brunei? We’ve got coconut, don’t we? The closest thing I’ve had like it in Brunei was years ago as a kid, and that was Pilipino sweet made by our Pilipino amah, which she called “kakanat kandee”. The other thing is, where the hell are the coconut trees in Cyprus? Nada pun ku teliat batang pokoknya langsung!
No doubt, in the last two days I’ve sampled a lot of other local delicacies, the haloumi, the feta, the many kinds of olives, the grilled foods, the seafood and the desserts, obviously. One I haven’t but must try is the octopus in vinegar. And demi negara, I shall foray into this beautiful island and eat as if I were representing Brunei at the Food Olympics and do it proud. At the rate I’m going, I might soon become Peter’s body double.