Notes from Lapta, Cyprus – People 2 by Ken Dunn

With a long holiday season in the TRNC, about seven months, March to November, more or less, tourist numbers grow as the temperature rises. I know there are serious concerns over numbers being lower in the near and distant future, the confusion over flights and the cost doesn’t help, but they still arrive. As the thermometer rises their numbers grow but there is an aspect of this which can ‘lower the tone’.

I’m not referring to bad behaviour or ‘oikish’ attitudes but, more particularly, the way some of them dress, or, more often than not, seem to have ‘undressed’ for the hot weather. Am I getting old or too fussy when I say there are certain individuals who really should not be allowed out from the hotels or rented villas into the summer sun? Well, I don’t think so.

Some folk have no idea about the alarming effect they have on the rest of us by wearing ‘clothes’ which ‘bare all’. These visions of sartorial disasters can scare the hell out of children and animals as well as providing visual comedy for the rest of us. Ladies of ample proportions insist on pulling on second skins of that dreadful stuff called ‘lycra’ below with minimal tops above.

Walking towards or following behind these ‘jelly-like’ creatures can be distinctly mesmerising to say the least. And then there are gentlemen of equal girth who invariably don the ‘t’ shirt or vest which only proves to emphasize their bulk together with the baggy shorts displaying their pink wobbly legs. There really should be large warnings at all airports to discourage this.

It can get worse on the beaches where more flesh than fabric is to the fore. Not a pleasant sight. I might be accused of being a tad ‘crabby’ about this but I would like to bet that I’m not the only one who has similar notions. The only way to ‘blank’ these nightmarish visions out would be to wear very dark sunglasses but then there’s the problem of bumping into to some of them with all the problems that would give.

To be fair, they are not the ‘oiks’ of the ‘speech impediment’ variety. They are the vague and unassuming sunseekers, bless ‘em all, whose spending patterns can only help the TRNC. Long may they arrive! But not near me. There is only one solution to prevent these levels of ‘exposure’. The onset of winter!

As these characters have milled around Girne, Lefkoşa and elsewhere in the spring, summer and autumn I have noticed, several times, how another, and equally fascinating phenomenon, can be seen. The ‘look-a-likes’. Beyond the spectator sport of being amazed by the vast differences in size, height, girth, colouring, gait, clothes, age and gender there are other folk who cannot be missed for their remarkable similarity to all things, human, organic and inorganic.

Walking past the Dome Hotel recently I was almost bowled over by the sudden exit from a shop of a woman who looked exactly like Ann Widdecombe. Frightening! A few days later, flouncing up the main street towards me came a surprising sight and I was quite certain it was Gary Glitter (remember him?) except ‘it’ was female! The hair and the face were identical. I wonder if she knows? And there is someone wandering around, I have seen several times, who could double for the actor, the late Richard Harris. But he has ‘gone on’, as they say. Scary!

But it’s not just the folk who look remarkably like a well known celebrity of some sort. There are a few, if you’re observant, who have the distinct disadvantage of having a similarity to inanimate objects. A few of the male tourist youth have been seen, late at night, staggering out from the various clubs with haircuts which give them a striking resemblance to a coconut.

I have seen a woman of mature age who had obviously dyed her hair and that, together with a false carrot-like tan and the pointed shape of her head, made her look like a badly sharpened red pencil. Then there was the chap who could have doubled as an Easter egg. Young women wearing the latest trendy gear who could have been taken as a pile of cloth ready for recycling and two others, of both sexes, were, to all intents and purposes, masquerading first as a washing machine – female, all in white, short and squat – and the male, short, squat, ruddy complexion, thick horizontal red striped trousers – a small brick wall! Quite remarkable really.

So, the next time you promenade around just take a gentle ‘gander’ at the folk around you. You never know who you might see and there is always the chance that they will actually be who they look like!

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