By the end of March, the headquarters of 6moons will have relocated to the Mediterranean Republic of Cyprus. A vacation invitation over Christmas by one of our readers had introduced us to the island and a second visit over the last two weeks locked in the new Casa Ebaen. Cyprus? Why?


The reasons are personal, political and business related. On the personal front, the Mediterranean climate, food and life style are highly appealing while the proximity to anywhere in Europe -- London, Frankfurt, Madrid, Paris, Athens, Istanbul, Budapest, Tangiers and Casablanca are all closer than Los Angeles is to New York -- is culturally persuasive. Politically speaking, the current developments in US foreign policy provide urgency and motivation to distance oneself from the lengthening shadow which the White House is casting over how the global community regards America. On the business front and over the last four years, 6moons has established solid coverage of audio products and industry news for the US market. Expanding into European product reviews, show reports and factory tours relies on actually living there to do it effectively. The following photos taken in January and February will document some of the Cyprus allure.


From Limassol in the South and Polis/Pomos in the North, ocean views on Cyprus are naturally as common as they're completely absentee in the high desert of New Mexico, 6moons' current base of operation. The amount of real estate for rent -- vacation lets and long-term leases -- is nearly obscene and pre tourist season is the best time to find something cost-effective, hence our February schedule.

As a former British dependency and current member of the EU, most Cypriots in the Grecian 65% of the island speak English and banking regulations and common law are modeled after the UK. The Cyprus economy is solid, its Cyprus pound stronger even than the British currency to currently trade 1:2 against the US dollar. The population is estimated at somewhere between 700,000 - 800,000 while 2,000,000+ tourists visit every year. The literacy rate is given as 95% and crime and unemployment are low. Cyprus houses the third holiest Muslim shrine after Mecca and Medina, with the second major religion Greek Orthodox. Richard the Lionhearted established a military Cypriote base during the Crusades and legends have it that Aphrodite was born on the North shore where she frolicked with Adonis. With Turkey in the north, the Holy Land in the East, Egypt in the South and Greece in the West, Cyprus is veritably surrounded by living history. It traces backwards in time farther than anything in the US and the island itself retains numerous reminders of Grecian, Roman and Medieval settlements.


Ivette's online research had identified LETCY.com as one of the rare brokers of rental properties who keep their websites updated on a daily basis. Young proprietor George Damalis has lived in the UK and Africa and thus enjoys a rather cosmopolitan perspective. He turned out to be the king of customer service and let's - let's do and, literally, lets (rentals). After a few e-mail exchanges, he called us in the US to inquire about our specific needs. He volunteered to pick us up from the airport, arranged for and delivered us to a very affordable beach flat in Lachi during our house hunt and then spent three full days driving us all over the place, showing us more than 20 homes before we found the one that proved perfect for our current needs. He and his sister Marie were extremely helpful well beyond just finding a house (the three small inserts above are of a traditional stone house rental of the kind very popular with foreigners). They invited us to a Jazz trio performance in Limassol -- brilliant stuff, incidentally -- and George "gave us the keys" to his dad's 700-tree orange grove, inviting us to pick as much of the potent orange stuff as we like. In short, both he and his sister have become fast friends. I look forward to joining George on some of his spear-fishing dives and perhaps even a motorcycle trip around the island. When we expressed to him admiration and surprise about this uncommon level of service, he laughingly waved us off. "We treat everyone this way." If you are visiting Cyprus with any intentions of staying long-term without purchasing property, deal with these folks on my highest possible recommendation. This includes short-term vacation lets as well!


Speaking of relocating to a UK-modelled country of course means right-handed drive for cars and motoring down the wrong side of the street. Antonis Kalogirou in Limassol specializes in low-mileage used car imports direct from Japan where he goes 6 - 8 times a year to attend huge automobile auctions, then ships his carefully tailored selection back to Cyprus. Antonis and his girlfriend Demetria too epitomized extreme island hospitality. Seeing that Ivette wasn't comfortable yet to brave the occasionally heart-attack-inducing Cyprus traffic, we had to be creative to get our new used Mazda Demio from Limassol to Coral Bay in Pafos. "No problem", grinned Antonis. Next thing we knew, his Pafos-based girlfriend picked us up from our house and dropped us off at the dealership one hour away whereupon the two of them spirited us away to a fancy Grecian dinner - incidentally the second meal since we'd first visited Kalogirou Motors; and the second one we weren't allowed to pay for. When was the last time a car dealer you just bought a ride from took you out to dinner afterwards? Must have been that special Cyprus spirit. Gracias, Antonis!

After the bigger-is-better mentality of American roadways, realsizing to a fuel-efficient small car appropriate for the far shorter distances and narrow inner city streets in Cyprus is a welcome change as well (and one that's further mandated by the $1/liter gas prices on the island).