19 June 2007

How to waste a day

Marble Arch, at one end of Hyde Park, London

Spent a part of today watching pigeons and tourists entertain each other in Hyde Park, killing time whilst some serial buffoonery was being rolled out at the Cypriot Embassy. In recent months, I have had three unfortunate reasons to visit representatives of the non-Turkish bit of that island in the Mediterranean, and each time they have changed their rules.

I don't think I saw a single non-Greek speaking person walk away without having been told something was wrong or missing with their visa application. The chain-smoking fellow behind the counter was an expert in ignoring people even when they stood right in front of him, and the actual consular officer, the one with all those enormous powers to peel off a visa and carefully stick it in your passport, was beside himself with importance as he told me I would be very lucky to get my passport back today.

For a tourist-needing nation, and a country desperately trying to come to terms with being in the EU, their attitude and approach to foreigners is quite extraordinary. Or perhaps it isn't? What a bunch of Wally's, but I don't suppose they will lose any Ouzo over it all.

Oh well, I managed to squeeze out another single-entry visa and head out to Larnaca and Limassol tomorrow, for a quick three day trip. One thing I think is clear is that the way Cyprus treats her visitors is probably a contributing reason for why the country has never quite made it to first-world or super-power status in the past several thousand years.

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