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Cyprus Consumer | Ripped Off in Paphos

Cyprus Consumer | Ripped Off in PaphosWITHOUT PREJUDICE

Agile and I decided to take a holiday in south Cyprus….Paphos to be exact. We needed a break and we know from experience that the weather is usually good in mid September.

For those who wonder at Agile’s name, it comes from the vehicular attack made on him by Bank personnel/owners in commission of the crime of breaking and entering and stealing my villa in north Cyprus on the 30th July 2010. A commentator on the forum Cyprus 44 observed that Chris must be agile to have jumped out of the way in time…thus his nickname Agile was born. The vehicular attack took place when they were fleeing the scene of the crime.

I digress, since the purpose of this blog is to tell you about my visit to Paphos.

On the first night and because Agile now has trouble walking, we wandered across the road to a restaurant in a small side street.

I ordered kleftiko (lamb) and Agile had a pork kebab. My lamb was okay, not wonderful, but okay. Agile’s pork was inedible due to the strong taste of lighter fluid on it. I can only conclude that whatever they cooked it on had been encouraged to ignite using some sort of accelerant, probably lighter fluid or something similar. We pointed this out, but the lady doing the waiting was not prepared to admit it. We ordered two Carlsberg lagers and received a poor copy of it….possibly Bulgarian because the lady doing the waiting told us she was Bulgarian. The bill came to 31.20 euros, Agile handed over 40 euros and it was obvious from the way the waitress hung on to the money and shepherded us out that no change would be forthcoming. So in one fell swoop, the waitress awarded herself almost 9 euros as a tip. Needless to say, that was the one and only time we ate at that establishment.

The next day we decided to hire a car. The hotel where we were staying had a car hire company right next door but unfortunately there was no one in there when we went. We talked to reception at the hotel and another company a short walk away was recommended. So off we went to Viva Car Hire Limited, a bit of a jaunt for Agile with his walking problems.

When the young lady quoted the prices, I would have left, but Agile was by now getting antsy and although he knew
they were ripping us off, he agreed to pay the ridiculous 33 euros a day they were demanding. I did ask the lady how much commission was being paid to the person who sent us to them and she said she did not know.

The car category we were paying for was not available until 20th so they let us have a car of a higher category for the first three days and would take it away from the car-park of the hotel and leave the other one in its place. We were to leave the keys at reception for them and they were to leave the keys to the replacement car there too. Imagine then our surprise to find that they had taken the first car from the car park the previous evening using their spare keys, the reception still had the keys we handed in, BUT no replacement car had been left. After a phone call eventually the replacement car was delivered. Well what a lemon. A very old Honda Jazz with foam protruding from the seats, but this was the least of our problems. A very odd sound emanated when braking, the engine light stayed on all the time and one of the front tyres was bald.

We took the car back to the rental company a couple of days later, this note tells you why:

It says they fitted new tyres, they did they fitted two new front tyres. It says new brake pads were fitted, I doubt this because the noise when braking was still there. It says not to worry about the engine light…oh really?

I had been online to look at prices for car hire and bitterly regret I did not book before we went. Even now the prices online are so much cheaper than that which we paid.

fiesta_5dr_nologoFord Fiesta or similar
Economy
5 Passengers 2 Bags 5 Doors
Air conditioning
Manual transmission
Meet and greet
Fuel: Pick up half full and return empty.
Included for free
Breakdown assistance
Tax
Unlimited mileage
Collision damage waiver (CDW)
£ 152.79 Total

We paid 429 euros for a lemon which compared with the above is £330 approximately. A car that in the UK would be un-roadworthy in my opinion.

IMG_1307So what else did we do. Well we took a ride up to Kamares village where we used to live. When I first bought in Kamares there were less than 200 properties on the development and only three in our road. Now there are thousands. I hardly recognised my old property.

It is the villa towards the back on the left hand side, the one you can see most of.

I have to say, I would not want to live in Kamares now but it was nice to see it one last time.

We also took a ride up to Troodos, the highest point on the island. We were chatting away, recalling the many times we had been on this journey in the past. We were recalling some of the places we had stopped on the way there and determined that if a bar called the Plane Tree was still there, we would stop and have a beverage. It was, and we stopped. However when we entered the garden, it became evident it was closed for the winter.

IMG_1312Yaya (grandmother) was sitting in the garden taking the green covering off a bucket full of walnuts. We were going to leave but she seemed pleased to see us and when we asked for two Carlsberg, she went to fetch it. She did however bring only one Carlsberg and two glasses. Fine we thought, lost in translation.

She proceeded to shell a walnut and gave me the very under-ripe nut. How sweet, I thought and being British, I pushed out the old stiff upper lip and ate it….yukkkk. We drank our lager and then I went over to her to pay, I produced the 2.50 euros the going price for the lager and she looked at me askance…oh I thought I have insulted her, she doesn’t want me to pay…..no, no, no. Yaya wanted 4 euros and she was very adamant she was going to get it. She wasn’t wearing a mask, but she did have plastic bags on her hands. Silly me I thought it was to stop the discolouration from the walnuts. We paid of course, you never know in duelling banjo country just who might be around the corner. So be warned, if you go to Cyprus, go to Troodos, pass the Plane Tree on your way….keep going, do not stop. Yaya is waiting for the unwary.

IMG_1310On the plus side, the Damon Apartments are clean, good value for money and the staff very attentive. They have this growing on the hedge there. The leaves remind me of morning glory and it is similar in the way it grows, but I have never seen the flower before and have no idea what it is called.

I have to say following the recent bad times Cyprus has suffered and the bad press it has received regarding its property problems, I had expected there to be an improvement in the way tourists are treated by some in the tourist industry. If my experience is anything to go by, they have learned very little.

After the first night, I decided to be Paphos’s very own secret shopper and sorry Paphos, you failed my test.

Paphos is due to be the European City of Culture in 2017. They will need to do a lot between now and then if they are to project the image the title implies. In September 2015 Paphos is a mess, especially the Tomb of the Kings Road which is dug up from one end to the other. It is tired looking, dirty and needs a face lift.

Pauline Read

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5 comments to Cyprus Consumer | Ripped Off in Paphos

  • Polly Marples

    Pauline does have a copy of the car hire agreement corroborating all I have said.

    She also has a copy of the note referred to in this blog but unfortunately it did not copy well. She does have the list of work, said to have been done in the hand writing of Christos and dated 25/09/2015

    She has sent a copy of this to the Cyprus Tourist Office.

  • fluter

    Good for you! The first time I holidayed in TRNC I arranged car hire through the Tour Operator.

    When nobody turned up at the Doom Hotel with our car, I contacted the local rep, who apologised and said he would have a “beautiful” car for us the next morning.

    He turned up with a beaten-up old Renault, which we took over. It turned out to be in a terrible state, so I handed it back to them, having decided to claim money back from the Tour Operator.

    Guess what? The Tour Operator went bust before the end of the holiday!

  • Polly Marples

    Oh no fluter…..sounds about right for the Turkish Republic of Nationalised Corruption TRNC

    or in Pauline’s case

    Republic of Corruption….ROC

  • Polly Marples

  • Polly Marples