This morning, it hit me—my stay in Cyprus is drawing to a close! So, I decided to make the most of my remaining time by waking up early to visit the Shacolas Museum and Observatory with Chris. The Shacolas tower (first pointed out to us by Georgia) is the tallest building in the Old City, as building codes implemented subsequently had to comply with maximum height regulations.
The Shacolas observatory is not a particularly tall building by any means (roughly 12 floors), but it gives a striking view of the city from all directions. Up there, Nicosia felt far larger and more sprawling than it did on the ground. The city spread out in all directions with buildings, streets, and shops. We could even see mountains in the distance. One mountain on the north side has a large flag of the Turkish Republic of Notthern Cyprus painted on it. The Turkish side of Nicosia seemed quite impressive from the tower, so I decided to venture over the line after our company meeting with PWC (more on this later).
We set out for PwC (PriceWaterhouse Coopers) at around 11:00 AM. The drive was only about five minutes. We arrived at one of the taller buildings in the Nicosia skyline, and we took an elevator up to the 11th floor. Immediately, my friends and I concluded that PwC makes too much money doing whatever consulting and tax services it does. The presentation room (called the “Experience Lounge” or something like that) was, in a word, boujee. We all got capuchinos at the bar, took pictures through the glass windows, and sat down at small tables with big chairs.
For the opening presentation, we turned our attention to a hologram of a high-ranking official in the company, who spoke about PwC and the services it provides. The 3D nature of the hologram was extremely impressive. Then, we heard from a German employee over video conference about the value of digitizing supply chains to enhance end-to-end planning and transparency. After the German speaker, a gentleman from SuperHome Center (not PwC) spoke about the supply chain challenges and opportunities for growth. We then had a break for lunch.
Lunch was also stunning: salmon and chicken kabobs, small burgers, and shrimp. While we ate, we were encouraged to walk around to three stations presenting about various supply chain issues. Naturally, I gravitated to the two gentlemen talking about blockchain. People behind me came and went, but I largely stayed in one place the entire time, asking questions about the challenges of implementing blockchain and the utility of NFTs. I found this one-on-one Q&A setting immensely valuable, as I was able to ask nagging questions about blockchain that I never quite got answered elsewhere. I even connected with the two men on LinkedIn after the talk (networking!).
After PwC, a few friends and I decided to explore North Nicosia. The passport control was relatively easy. First, the Cyprus police looked at my passport and cleared me; then, I walked down the street to the Turkish police station; and once the Turkish police cleared me, I was through to the other side. I found it quite stirring that “One Cyprus” was graffitied on a garage in the buffer zone—in view of the Turkish flag, no less.
Upon crossing, I immediately noticed that North Nicosia had a more Middle Eastern feel—lots of hookahs, open air markets selling souvenirs, and mosques everywhere. The streets were a bit more difficult to navigate, and we often found ourselves in square plazas. We eventually got to the biggest mosque in Nicosia, called Selimiye— but it was entirely under construction, so we could not enter or get an unobstructed view. On the way back, I ended up buying some Turkish delights in a corner shop after the owner insisted I try a piece. I am looking forward to taking them home for my family to try!