Sunday, 13 November 2016 18:40

How far is it?

Last week I went on another one of my (in)famous bus trips out of town – this time to Larnaca.  Somehow these trips always end up more adventurous than my much more distant journeys.  And funnily enough, their duration is usually exactly the same as that to my favourite ‘nearby’ city Cairo – 1 hour and 20 minutes.

The trip this time went smoothly though, the bus driver was cheerful and polite and the passengers mostly dozing peacefully. It is when I arrived in Larnaca that the adventure started. I discovered that, unlike in Limassol, there are no taxis cruising the town and no taxi ranks along the main roads, no matter how touristy.  Luckily, I had plenty of time to get to my appointment and I like to walk.

The trouble was finding out how long it might take me to cover that distance. On my map it looked like a couple of kilometres – half an hour maximum. In people’s minds, it looked different. The first person suggested it was “very far”.  He insisted I better walk back to the taxi office and get a cab. The second person seemed rather annoyed at such an unusual question, replying: “I don’t know, maybe half an hour, just go!” The third person was more jovial: “Go on, be a tourist, walk!”

And I did. Not sure about how fast I should actually walk to be at my appointment on time, I made it sort of a game of asking  people, of what I thought were different nationalities, how long my walk would take me. It was fascinating. I basically went from concerns over if I could manage such a distance on foot, to a laughing “Oh, that’s just down the road, you can see it from here!”

I made it to my appointment on time in the period which I had initially estimated myself, but my morning did have me musing about how the exact same distance can seem from anything like “a short walk down the block” to a major pilgrimage that may not be doable without finding a taxi.

It’s not physical fitness, it’s not knowledge of the area, it’s not familiarity with measurements, it’s not even laziness… it’s some fascinating perception of distance that really is ‘worlds apart’.

Article as published in The Cyprus Weekly of November 11th 2016 

Mary Anglberger

I’ve been travelling the world for over 20 years teaching English and am now taking time to follow my passion for photography and writing. I want to share all the things, events and people that have inspired and inspire me and spread those positive vibes all around.

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