At Dr. Elder’s Traders’ Camp 2005, the class hours were time for serious study and the dinner breaks were time for serious fun. With 30 people total, it would have been far easier for Dr. Elder to just turn us loose to eat on our own or have the hotel buffet each night. Instead, he arranged for us to indulge in the best of the local villages, which meant some wonderful meze feasts! We set out in daylight to enjoy the sights on the way.
It helped that the “camp” was at a highly civilized resort, in the cool gentle mountains of the Mediterranean island of Cyprus. The Forest Park Hotel is acclaimed as the place the king of Egypt came to chill out before air conditioning. It became our base-camp for class and for exploring the rest of the island. We had our first night’s dinner there, as well as breakfast and lunch thoughout the week. Here’s a photo by Maria of the casual outdoor dining area. Double-click and you can just glimpse one of the live-in owners behind the trellis.
We saw the charming villages before dinner, but the best photos came from the spouses’ outings during the day. I’m privileged to have a set of pics from Jillian (with the date stamp) and Maria (unsigned) . I’ll share a few of my favorites here.
Tuesday evening our group made an unplanned stop a tiny pub in Viona. We overran the patio where five old men had been playing board games. That was probably the usual clientele. With 30 of us, we quickly devoured the owner’s total inventory of beer and zenasia, henceforth referred to as “firewater”.
The owner/bartender was so happy that he made us an offer (fortunately Xen speaks Greek as we sometimes ran out of English up there). The barkeeper poured us his private reserve, home-brewed whisky, on the house. It would have been rude to refuse. More “pain and suffering” as Alex is fond of saying.
At the group dinners, Alex was the magnanimous host, providing generously laden tables at wonderful little places around the Troodos mountains. Most nights we enjoyed meze – meals of many small dishes shared family style. My favorite was Taki’s Taverna near Paki Pedi for the cozy atmosphere, superb food, flowing wine and rollicking after-dinner discussions. As I recall, Alex led a camp that wasn’t always politically correct but it sure was fun!
What also made the mealtimes so special was the people from around the world: as close as Cyprus, as distant as New Zealand, as familiar as Los Angeles and as new-to-me as Latvia. Many different professions: trader, engineer, doctor, business owner, artist, to name a few. One who taught belly dancing treated us to a show and later shared a few lessons with us. As a group, spent hours together talking trading as well as enjoying ourselves.
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