€uro Update

Dear Mum,

Not much has happened this week. I’ve been taking it easy due to a bad back. Plus it’s been very cold this week and I’m continuing to hibernate.

The transition from Cyprus Pounds to the Euro seems to have gone fairly smoothly, although I haven’t yet adjusted mentally to the value of things. Everything seems so much more expensive just because the numbers are bigger.

Actually, I’ve just made a gross assumption there. I’ve no idea if it’s gone smoothly or not. I don’t usually put on the deerstalker more than once a month, if that, but I suppose I’d better see how the island is taking to the euro.
So! What does the Cyprus Mail have to say about it?

The first working day of euro circulation brought to light several teething problems as people emerged from their New Year torpor…

No idea what the connection is between the euro and dentistry. Maybe there’s been much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

And what about ‘torpor’? That’s not a word you see every day. Especially not in a newspaper.


1 Lack of activity

2 The state of reduced activity that some animals experience during the winter

That’s me! The second one. I told you I was hibernating. My torpor is well under way and not restricted purely to the New Year break. I’m utterly torpedoed at the moment.

Andreas Charalambous, the Director of Finance, said the Ministry had received complaints from people who had got the wrong change after handing in Cyprus pounds. But these complaints were not serious, he said.

Frivolous complaints eh? Whatever next?

We will have some incidents no doubt, but people should complain to the observatories, he said.

Observatories? A queue of people complaining about euro profiteers is just what you need when you’re studying the stars, trying to boldly focus on the Milky Way or a distant Galaxy, or even a Mars bar during a short torpor!

The strongest weapon for consumers is to vote with their feet.

I did try typing with my big toe a while back and I can tell you, it wasn’t easy. But marking the right box on the voting slip and posting it with my feet will require a whole new set of skills.

One man complained that his parking charges had gone up from £1.00 (€1.71) to €2 overnight. An increase of 17%. But the punter said he had already planned his revenge…

So what does he plan to do? Sue them? Set fire to the car park? Send them a letter bomb?

I stocked up on single Cyprus pounds just in case, and I will use them until the end of the month, he said.


Ok. Moving swiftly on…

Apparently this car park wasn’t an isolated incident. Several of them were at it.

We are collecting all of the names of these parking places…

Good idea! What will they get? A hefty fine? 28 days in the slammer? Both?

…and we are going to publish them.

They don’t mess around, do they?

For those of you who haven’t come into contact with the euro before, euro notes are identical for every country, but each country that has adopted the euro has individually minted coins. I’ve no idea why  –  presumably a concession to allow countries to hang on to some sort of identity. It’s quite unnecessary, but…

But what? No idea. I’ve lost my train of thought. Never mind. I’m sure there’ll be another one along in a minute!

Where was I? Oh yes! Coins. The education by the authorities of one particular retailer hasn’t been all it could. I gave him the right coins for a purchase (it was a Mars bar funnily enough) which he inspected judiciously.

Ah, we have a problem here”, he said clicking his teeth.

I see what they mean by teething problems now!

We do?”, was the best I could muster by way of a response.

This is going to be big problem for so many people.

It turned out that he wouldn’t accept a 50 cent coin from me because it wasn’t a Cypriot one! It was an old French one that I still had from ages ago. He spotted it because it was very dull compared to the nice new, shiny Cypriot ones.

I tried to explain that a euro was a euro was a euro and acceptable in any country that uses euros, but he wouldn’t have it. It had to be a Cypriot euro coin as far as he was concerned.

Best of luck to him with that one! Definitely one finger short of a KitKat.


The head of the Nicosia Euro Observatory, Argyris Papanastasiou, visited Ledra Street yesterday morning, carried out a few transactions in euros and declared everything was running smoothly.

So that’s ok then. We can all rest easy in our winter torpor, free from worry about euro profiteers, safe in the knowledge that Argyris Papanastasiou spent a few quid in Ledra Street and didn’t get stitched up.

Still no idea what they mean by an observatory though. Maybe they have strategically placed observation towers where they watch shop-keepers through high-powered telescopes to make sure they give the right change…

…and then publish the names of offenders!


©MPB 11/January/2008

Cyprus Mail


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