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Visiting the Karpas Donkeys

Yesterday I awoke early ready for my journey to Karpas to revisit Dolores the donkey and to introduce her to my sister, who I have to say raises her eyebrow a little at the thought of a talking, dancing donkey; would I lie to my sister?

You will recall when I visited the Karpas in October of last year that Dolores was heavily pregnant so I was really excited at the prospect of seeing her and the new edition to her family. I had already met her number one son Del and she had told me then of her intention to name her baby Rio regardless of the sex. With her husband being Donkeyote she thought Rio would complete the symmetry; Dolores-Del-Rio. As you know she has a penchant for Spanish dancing but had a yen to learn South American dancing too, she felt that the hip movement might just help her regain her figure after the birth of Rio. She also thought that her audience might then throw exotic fruit at her, rather the usual carrots which are, she admits, a bit boring.

I am, getting ahead of myself. The journey had changed somewhat, the new roads now take you past the lovely winding coastal road and though we managed to get onto the old road a couple of times, the winter months had taken their toll and our poor little Mitsubishi Colt was rocking and rolling and rattling along on them. The abundance of half finished, almost finished or never started properties along the way was exactly the same as in last October with barely a sight of that now almost extinct species, a workman/builder. As we passed Kulaksiz Construction Site in Tatlisu, I closed my eyes but Agile assured me that there was no sign of life there and that it was exactly the same as when we passed last year.

The biggest change came as we came closer to the Donkey sanctuary. There in the road that runs alongside the Blue Sea Hotel is a newly erected pay station. It does not have windows yet but I expect that constitutes completion in TRNC builder speak. We paid 6 TL for entrance but I was really confused because we were given two tickets, one showing 2TL as the entrance fee and one showing 4TL as the entrance fee, there were three of us. My sister then asked me if we had to pay to get back out as well. Bless.

Just before entering the sanctuary proper, where you drive over the cattle grid, the donkeys of course walk around it to get out, we stopped at a bar/restaurant which looks over the beautiful beaches there. It is so sad that with this beautiful coastline, magnificent views and of course the donkeys; we were the only ones enjoying it. It is sad for the Turkish Cypriots, sad for the TRNC Government and sad for the economy.

We then proceeded into the sanctuary and who should we see almost immediately, young Del, number one son of Dolores. Imagine my disappointment when he told me the sad, sad tale. Dolores had given birth to a beautiful daughter but Donkeyote had not even bothered to return from Spain to attend the birth. Dolores was really angry about this and was at present on her way to Spain to confront him; men! Del told me he was about to become the child of a one parent family and that Dolores intended to divorce Donkeyot and return a free woman? Jenny? Take your pick.

Del did explain that his status as a child of a broken home would be short lived, that our Dolores, who never lets the grass grow under her feet (she eats it) has found herself a new love interest; Don(key)Juan – oh dear, will you tell her or shall I? Out of the frying pan into the fire. By now I was becoming really concerned about the baby, ‘where is she!’ I demanded of Del. He assured me she was fine and being cared for by her Aunt Margot until her mother returned. What a relief!

We drove further into the sanctuary and there, near the Monastery, was Aunt Margot keeping a very concerned eye on young Rio. I gave the usual oohs and aahs, as you do when admiring a baby. Margot it seems lives by a stricter moral code. In the absence of Dolores, Margot had been teaching her niece rudimentary ballet steps. She told me that Rio was a natural and that perhaps by teaching her classical dancing she might save her from becoming like Dolores, who Margot described as ‘no better than she ought to be;’ harsh, I thought. One would expect a little more loyalty from a sister. Whilst I can see Spanish dancing and even Rumba might be possible for a donkey; ballet? How on earth would they find ballet shoes big enough and then standing on points on four feet would be very difficult and whilst I did not actually say it, a donkey in a tutu would look a bit silly? After taking a few snaps to share with you we parted company.

We proceeded to the last watering hole in the sanctuary where we were the only customers. Refreshed and invigorated we started the long journey home. The new road is extremely good and cuts down on the travelling time, that is until you find a detour taking you off the road, along a dirt track, taking you heaven knows where.

We decided to stop at an interesting little cafe/bar on the dirt track and we were please we did. As we sat idly watching the sea, a sailing boat came into view. Imagine our joy to be told that is was a ‘dolphin watch’ and that in fact the stretch of sea we were looking at was famous locally for the number of dolphins seen there. We were unfortunate, we were told, not to see any there and then. A little disappointed, but oh so pleased to know they do visit there, we left.

We arrived home, tired, a little sad because a broken marriage is not something to be happy about, but very satisfied. During our eleven hour day we had seen so much, learned so much and had had a really wonderful day out.

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