The ramblings of a shorter than average cockney girl who now lives in the beautiful city of Bristol

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

When I Say Ayia, You Say....

Napa. Europe's capital of hedonism. Not the most cultured destination, but I lived there for 2 months last summer, so I deem it worthy of a mention!

Ayia Napa is a resort on the South Coast of Cyprus. Well, geographically at least; Ayia Napa is not Cyprus. Everybody speaks English, the majority of people are English or Western European, the local cuisine is Mr Jacket's cheesy chips, normally eaten at 5am. It is acceptable to run down Nissi Avenue absolutely trashed at 3pm and it is not abnormal to have a headfucker (tequilla, vodka, gin, rum, malibu, red bull and grenadine) within an hour of waking up. It is tacky and sometimes completely disgusting.

But I loved it.

Its not travelling, I know. Its not embracing another culture and experiencing a different way of life (although I can safely say that the life I experienced out there was nothing like i've ever encountered in England). But it is gaining some independance, encountering new situations and making new friends. For a 19 year old at the end of fresher year, it was perfect for me at the time.

I worked at Bedrock Bar, the biggest and probably busiest bar in Ayia Napa that hosts a silent disco from 1am every night. My job was to walk around selling shots to whoever looked like they needed them. Most of the time it was a fun job, I got free drinks and got to dance around to my hearts content. However all jobs have their downsides, and I encountered several sleazy men, many people pushing/ punching me and extreme sweatiness from running around in 30+ degree heat all night. I worked typically from 9pm-4am every night, which is probably controversially the most exhausting and demanding job i've ever had.

Still it was lots of fun, I met some amazing people, I got free drinks and always got a bit of partying in. Napa nightclubs stay open until about 7 so there was always time to go out afterwards! I had a few nights off, and had the days free to do what I wanted and had a bit of a holiday at the beginning and another at the end of my 2 month stay.

Particular highlights of my trip include:

The Fantasy Boat Party, where we danced and drunk on a 5 hour boat trip and even jumped into the crystal clear sea.

Days at Nissi, again worshipping the bright blue water, sunbathing and enjoying a visit from the 'sexy juice' man who roams around Nissi Beach with a cooler which inside has 'sexy juice' (which is just a cold juice drink but is very refreshing) and shouts 'sexy juice for sexy ladies'

Holding a giant snake

Spending my last night at a chilled and amazing late night party venue, River Reggae

Crazy Pool Parties

However, what started out to be a really good day in which we rented quads and took them out for a spin to Cape Greco, turned into a disaster. 2 months in Ayia Napa had convinced me I was invincible, and I had just gone on the slingshot the night before, so I decided to take the plunge (literally) and try my hand at cliff jumping. Turns out I didn't only try my hand but my back too.

Just before the fall
We were debating whether to do the jump, when suddenly inside me I got an urge to do it. I ran and jumped. The drop was so quick, I didn't really know what to do with myself, and I ended up entering the water.... back first. I almost felt my back ripping as I entered the water and for a minute I floated, unable to move. Luckily, after the initial shock I regained feeling in the rest of my body and managed to drag myself over to the side. I had to climb back up to the top of the cliff which was undoubtedly one of things i've ever done, and once I was there I just sat in agony. A taxi got called for me and my day was cut short with a trip to the doctor. I remember sitting in the waiting room in the worst pain of my life, doubling up and trembling, still in my bikini as it hurt too much to move, and some boy looked at me and asked 'how drunk are YOU?'. Its kinda funny now, I must have looked such a state. But I wasn't really in a laughing mood! Anyway, the kind doctor felt my back, gave me some form of injection (I wasn't sure what it was and I don't really want to know) and a load of strong painkillers and muscle relaxants. And then I went home and slept for 18 hours.

A year later, I still struggle with my back problems, and it goes to show that actions do have consequences. Not the brightest point of my life, but a lesson learned nonetheless.

Unfortunately my last few days in Ayia Napa were somewhat tarnished by my bruised and injured back, but it didn't blight my Cyprus experience on the whole. I still look at those two months as a fun, educational (would you believe) and unforgettable part of my life. 

While Ayia Napa is hardly top of a keen traveller's list, for my 19 year old self, it was perfect as a first step outside my comfort zone. It made me realize that the world is only so big, and that anything you want to do really is possible if you just do it.