It occurred to me in replying to a recent email from co-host Ed Pacht that I had never got round to announcing that I did not get the job in Warsaw. That was a great disappointment, but we must roll with punches.
As a result of that, and of other considerations of a more personal nature, I have pretty much decided to stay on in Nicosia for the duration of my career.
One of the reasons for that is that AFP is providing me with new opportunities for short-term travel. More of that below, but let me tell you first of some travel that is going to come out of my pocket.
A week from Sunday, I will fly to Varna, a resort on the Black Sea coast of Bulgaria. I'm not going for sun, sand and sea. I checked the weather forecast for today -- it was raining, and a low of 8 degrees centigrade was expected!
No, I'm going to get my teeth fixed. As tends to happen with people my age, things start falling apart. A bridge needs replacing, as do several crowns, along with heaven knows what other work. The cost of dental care in Cyprus is exorbitant, and I have found a Swiss-owned clinic in Varna, called Dentaprime, that will do the work for less than half the price '' flight and accommodation included.
Street scene in Varna
Hot on the heels of my "dental" holiday I will be heading to Pristina, Kosovo. That´s where AFP comes in. The agency recently launched the AFP Foundation, dedicated to journalism training in the Third World. I will be part of a team spending a month in Pristina working with the future staff of the nascent Kosovo Media Institute.
I will only be there the first two weeks, but that should give me all the taste of wintry weather I´m likely to want for the year, as there is a real prospect of snow there.
During the one weekend I hope to have to myself, I plan to visit the Visoki Decani Serbian Orthodox monastery in western Kosovo.
As it turns out, the prior of the monastery is the brother of a Serbian friend of mine here in Nicosia, and I hope to do a feature on him and his community while having a brief retreat. Sadly, as the result of the ethnic conflict in Kosovo, the monastery has become isolated, and is protected by Italian troops from the UN peacekeeping force. From what I understand, the only safe way in and out, at least for the monks, is in one of those armoured cars.
But what a joy it must be to be able to worship in a church as beautiful as they have.
May our Good God protect them all!
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