On May 9, the reception and official welcome to all the members of BGI and the opening of Balms Group lnternational IV World Conference, Cyprus, took place, Pavlina, Dinos and the members of Costas Tsirides & Co honouring all the assistants with a cocktail and a buffet-dinner.
The reception and the buffet gave the members, partners and guests the opportunity to know each other and to exchange ideas and opinions from the very first moment, in the friendly and familiar atmosphere that characterises the BGI meetings.
The conferences program started the following day, most of them about international tax system and the ethic problems in the practice of our profession, being both matters, among others, objects of debates which awoke a great interest. At this point, please note that the conferences have been compiled and translated into Spanish-English, and English-Spanish in the Conference Book of all BGI Congress 2001, as it is usual in our organisation.
After a relaxed and nice lunch, we all, headed by Pavlina and Dinos, were guided to the city centre of Limassol, starting the visit by the Medieval Castle, where the legend says that Richard Lion Heart married Berengaria of Navarre, giving her the title of Queen of England.
We walked by its basements, by the old chapel and tunnels, going up to the top of the castle, where we could appreciate a general view of the city, the mixing of its minarets with orthodox churches, as triumphant salient from the roofs of the city, creating this sensation being at the of occidental and oriental cultures and religions, truly reflection of the past and present of the island.
We had a dinner in a typical tavern, where the dancers surprised us with their incredible agility and skill juggling with glasses, bottles and dances, and we also had great fun with the amusing participation of some of the assistants and members of BGI.
This same night, Julio Aguado celebrated his birthday, as usually happens within the BGI Conferences, having the unique and unforgettable experience of blowing out the candles, (some of them), in Cyprus.
The following working day, May 11, was dedicated to our asociation's General Meeting, being approved by unanimity the accounts and budgets for 2000 and 2001; being also presented the new brochure, and the updated CD-rom and Web Page, receiving great praise from the assistants.
After the presentation, the re-election of Mr. Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada as the President of BGI for the next 5 years, took place (from October 2001 to October 2006); also the re-election of the Executive Committee, and most important, the election of Dr. Alberto lndij as a new member of the mentioned Executive Committee. whose nomination was warmly received by all the members. Dr. lndij set out the guidelines of the BGI 2002 Conference, which would take place in Buenos Aires.
The General Meeting was closed with the magnificent intervention of Mr Sophocles Michaelides, from the Central Bank of Cyprus.
All of us dressed as tourists, we took a bus towards Omodhos, a picturesque village outskirts of Limassol. Unexpectedly, our bus stopped in the middle of a hill; our driver tried to start it unsuccessfully; we quickly got out of the bus and tried to push it to the top of the slope to start it going down the hill. The town was only 2 Km. away, but we could not move the bus. Suddenly, a pretty much older bus of the forties appeared, Dinos stopped it and convinced the driver to take all of us on lt. We all were astonished, one of the reasons being the bus was much smaller than the first one, and we could hardly get into the bus. Then, we stopped again and a man wearing the traditional black baggy trousers, white shirt and a cap, started distributing little glasses of wine and almonds. That's when two forgotten hens demonstrated their presence in the bus, while it took us slowly to our destination. Still amazed, most of us made pictures of every detail, puzzled by such typical, peculiar and surrealistic affair. lt was a luck to have an experience like that indeed.
Reaching Omodhos, we were informed that all was a prepared joke; but in spite of that all was, some of the participants did not believe it and still thought the adventure really happened. Anyhow, everybody thanked Pavlina, Dinos and their team for this wonderful journey, and asked for "not being awaken from such dream?".
We celebrated our adventure in a magnificent harmony with delicious meze and a never ended wine, in a typical tavern.
Omodhos showed us all its charm, made of quite paved streets. The visit of the church and monastery, miraculously preserved from the several sacking that have destroyed most of them, was an exceptional and exciting moment.
The Pope showed us, as especial guests, the relic of the Saint Cross kept into the church, and our invited colleague Dmitry Lazar deciphered texts written in old Russian language of icons offered to the Church of Omodhos centuries ago.
We kept on discovering Cyprus visiting a wine cellar, where it was explained to us how the wine is made, coming back to the hotel with a lot of bottles, given to us as a present.
The dinner in a traditional tavern, was brightened up by traditional songs, and the participation of the whole BGI Group, which ended dancing on the top of the tables.
Our third Conference day, on May 12, begun with a new event for the BGI Annual Congress program that will be, without any doubt, repeated the next years: The workshops.
The last work session was closed by Pavlina Tsirides presenting the fiscal advantages of Cyprus for the clients of the BGI partners.
We dedicated this afternoon of May 12 to the visit of the wonderful mosaics of Paphos, witnessing the diverse periods of the Romanic presence at this place. They tell us, with poetry and truthfulness at the same time, the daily life of the contemporaries of the authors of these works of art.
At 8.30 p.m., friends and clients of Costas Tsirides & Co, BGI partners and companions enjoyed the cocktail served before the Gala Dinner, on the exceptional frame of the terrace of the hotel, having as backdrop the port illuminated by the lightning of a sudden summer storm. We had a wonderful and peaceful dinner, under a marquise installed in the garden.
The speeches of gratitude pronounced by the President of Balms Group lnternational, perfectly stated the feeling of deep eagerness and gratitude for the welcome and friendship of our hosts. We were honoured by the presence at this ceremony of the Major of Limassol, the Ministry of Transport and Public Works, Mr. Neophytos Neophytou, and the Chairman of the Cyprus National Broadcast Corporation, Mr. Antonis Dracos among other personalities.
Thanks to the participation of everybody, we left this Conference trusting that BGI will keep on growing on a consolidated basis, and that the results of this work and friendship will be ratified, even more if possible, next year in Buenos Aires.
Pavlina, Dinos, Alexandros and all the members of Costas Tsirides & Co, AGAIN THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR EVERYTHING!