Cypriots are paying a high price for the collapse of their banking system. A leading lawyer, a real estate broker and a bar owner have already begun the process of searching for a future — for themselves, their companies and their country.
The sun is rising over Cyprus, the temperature is 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) and the air feels like silk. On a morning like this, Pavlos Loizou, who works with his father in one of the island nation’s largest real estate firms, would normally get into his silver Land Rover, rush over to Limassol or Larnaca, appraise building lots, take happy customers out to lunch and earn a lot of money in the process. At least that’s the way it has been in recent years.
Loizou, 33, is tall, boyish-looking and polite. He studied finance in London and Cambridge, and he seemed to be headed for a magnificent future. Not anymore.
“I do know one thing,” he says. “I’m not giving up.”
On a morning like this Andreas Neocleous, a 73-year-old man and a behind-the-scenes mover and shaker in Cyprus, would normally drive out to the shore in Limassol shortly after sunrise. He would do his yoga exercises on the beach in the early morning light and then drive home again, shower and eat a light breakfast. At about 7:30, he would be sitting in his office, drinking green tea. He would stay there all day, working until late in the evening — as always.