Cyprus Mail
A minute with Life & Style

A minute with Dr Aristos Aristotelous Greek Cypriot Representative on the Committee of Missing Persons

Where do you live?

I live in Nicosia, in the heart of old Strovolos, with my wife Soulla and my children Athina and Petros. Occasionally I spend some time staying in Limassol as well, where we come from.

Best childhood memory?
Christmas at a very young age. I woke up in the morning, a week before Christmas, and saw my room decorated with balloons and other decoration by my parents. God bless them. This created such a tremendous feeling of joy, I was overwhelmed with happiness and love, which was repeated the following year and which I treasure

Most frequented restaurant and absolute favourite dish?
Frequent restaurants: ordinary simple restaurants with Cypriot dishes – souvlakia and fish included. Spaghetti with seafood is for me a favourite dish. Also Bougatsa – a Greek sweet with cream and pastry – is not something I am easily resistible to.

What did you have for breakfast?
I had coffee with a slice of brown bread and a piece of light cheese. Occasionally I have cereal instead, or just coffee.

Would you class yourself as a day or night person? What’s your idea of the perfect night/day out?
I would mainly class myself as morning person. I like to get up early in the morning but sometimes I can stay up working until very late in the evening to the next day 3 – 4am depending on the load and type of the work I have to do.
My idea of a perfect night or day out is to go to some place with the family at the seaside, preferably in Limassol, or elsewhere and enjoy our meal, conversation and jokes in a relax atmosphere – sometimes even share our company with good friends or relatives.

Best book ever read?
I have read many books, classical or contemporary, by Greek, British, Russian and other writers. Many of them have left an impression on me and I still like them. For instance Menelaos Loundemis’ Ena Paidi Metraei T’Astra, a very inspiring novel about a poor child under difficult circumstances, with his thirst to study and his struggle to achieve his target in life.

Favourite film of all time?
Cromwell. Apart of the excellent acting of Alec Guiness, as King Charles I and Richard Harris, as Cromwell, I generally like the quality of the film. It’s a classic and educational too. The story as such underlines the power struggle between the king and the House of Commons. Leading to a civil war in England between the Royalist and the Parliamentarians, and a coup d’état. It is a very interesting film for student and practitioners of constitutional, law, of political and public affairs.

Favourite holiday destination (or best holiday ever taken)? What’s your dream trip?
Crete and its beautiful landscape, beaches and people. Iracelion, Chania, Rethimno and the mountain Psiloritis form a unique holiday destination for me – an island which I also like because of its history, ancient and contemporary, as well as for its similarities with Cyprus. It’s a place I can relax and where Cretan music is heard everywhere – a constant reminder that you are in the land of Venizelos, Kazantzakis and Xylouris. My dream trip is to visit Kitchener and Waterloo in Ontario, Canada – a place I stayed for a few months when I first left Cyprus and have some good and bad memories.

What music are you listening to in the car at the moment?
A recent CD by a friend of mine, Lollos Georgalletos, entitled Tis kyprou Enthymimata – an enjoyable and pleasant orchestrated Greek and Cypriot music, involving the best names of instrumentalists from Greece and Cyprus.

What is always in your fridge?
Ordinary things like milk, cheese of different types, eggs, fruits, drinks, greens, meat, fish and some white wine and certainly ice cubes.

Dream house: rural retreat or urban dwelling? Where would it be, what would it be like and why?
A traditional small house in Platres or a remote village of Troodos, with a garden surrounded by trees, facilities to receive friends, a fireplace in winter and of course access to internet.

If you could pick anyone at all (alive or dead) to go out for the evening with, who would it be?
One person I really miss very much to go out with is my cousin’s son, Memnos. We spent some wonderful times together when we happened to go out for the evening in London, but he passed away. He was such a good company – a positive thinker, very conversant and pleasant personality eclectic about his taste of music, entertainment, food and restaurant.

If the world is ending in 24 hours what would you do?
If this is unavoidable, I will encourage everybody to be calm and forgive each other. Hold my family and other beloved persons tightly together, have a nice coffee or a drink and listen to music. Then salute the world and depart…

What is your greatest fear?
I have no fears as such, but concerns. My greatest concern is about the future of our people on this beautiful island and the turbulent years ahead. History repeats itself, although in a different context. If we – Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots – have not learned our lessons from the past and we fail to act wisely and together, we shall continue to be the object of exploitation of foreign powers, which serve only their own interest to the detriment of our county and our people.

Tell me a joke…
It’s a personal story: When in London for studies, I had to work to support myself and got work in a restaurant at Sreathmam Common, as a waiter. Being unfamiliar with the “British cuisine” I had to learn in detail and by heart the entire menu and the prices of course. It was my first day at the job and a lady customer enters the restaurant, and there was me with my white jacket on and a bow tie, ready to execute my duties, take the order etc. And there she goes. She asks politely – with me taking notes – “pork chops, two slices of bread and butter, a cup of tea and… the loo please?” The order was okay up to the point I wrote down the tea, but this loo – I thought – what is it? I never heard of it. I started recalling all the items on the menu I read the previous night but it couldn’t click. So I take the brave decision and in a very polite and gentle tone in my voice, I asked: Excuse me is that loo on the menu? The lady couldn’t stop laughing. She didn’t think I was ignorant of the word but rather that I had a very good sense of humour! Thank God Charalambos, our Chef from Cyprus was there, who gave an immediate answer to my query, without me seeking rescue to the Cambridge Dictionary which I always had with me at the beginning.

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