A friend of mine started med school in Cyprus this past year. Semester break seemed like the perfect opportunity to go visit her. My friend Chava and I found some reasonably priced tickets and headed off to Cyprus for the weekend.
The flight itself was pretty uneventful. We took off, they came around with a little cart of hot beverages and snacks (non-complimentary of course) and then 20 minutes or so later we began preparing for landing.
The plane landed, we disembarked and clambered onto the little shuttle that was waiting for us. The shuttle took us to passport control where we spent an hour waiting on line to get through.
Next we picked up our suitcases from baggage claim and headed out into Larnaca. Moria (our friend studying in med school) had ordered a shuttle for us so we sat on a bench outside of the airport to patiently wait for it.
Forty minutes went by and we finally saw a shuttle in the distance driving towards us. We stood up to gather our things. The shuttle drove right past us. The driver was seemingly oblivious to our cries and flailing arms as the shuttle disappeared into the distance.
Moments later a man in sunglasses and a hoodie walks over to us and asks us if we're going to Nicosia. Confused, we hesitantly replied "yes".
He nods and says "come, we go now to nicosia. I take you for only 15 euro. It is very good deal.". I look at chava, chava looks at me. I comment that we're waiting for a shuttle to pick us up to which he replies "No, the shuttle is gone. He will not come back. I will take you but we must hurry.".
Its been a long day and the shuttle doesn't appear to be coming to get us. Moria is in the library so her phone is on silent and she isn't answering. The man gestures to a taxi cab and mentions again that we must hurry.
We nod hesitantly. The man grabs our bags and starts heading to the cab. The situation seems less than optimal but the bags are in the trunk and the man is herding us into the car because "we must leave quickly".
We give him the address which he puts into Google maps and our journey begins. I'm pretty sure we're going to die or at least get kidnapped. These are the kinds of situations that your parents warn you about. The sort of situations that you're generally encouraged to avoid.
I'm sitting there staring out the window wondering how I ended up in the back of this strange mans taxi when suddenly the driver breaks the silence. "Girls, I must tell you something. When you are going to do something illegal, you do not think. You must do it very quickly.".
This is how I die. 👌🏻
He then continues to elaborate, "we are not allowed to pick up from the airport. But I must go to nicosia to pick people up and I do not wish to drive with an empty taxi. So I give you a good deal but this is illegal because I am not allowed".
Ah, well, that puts things into perspective....
The rest of the ride was much more pleasant. The driver is actually from Greece and has been living in Larnaca for almost a year. He showed us pictures of his home in Greece and said that he wishes to visit tel aviv some day.
He also told us about the festival that's going on this weekend and said maybe we'll see him there. But he'll be dressed up in a costume so we probably won't recognize him, unless he dresses up as a taxi driver...