But the resort's traditional mainstay - families and couples - simply aren't booking. No Mediterranean resort has gone out of its way to become the most popular place in Europe to get high on contaminated Ecstasy. By August, after a dozen drug arrests and a stabbing or two, the paper had changed its editorial tone. "If that is the price to pay for placing Ayia Napa at the top of the Med clubbers' board, then let's dig it all up and start again," said the Cyprus Mail. Last year the number of drug arrests doubled, complaints about noise rose by 30 per cent and traffic offences (mostly scooter-related) rocketed.A result, says Mathilde Robert, managing director of Argo Holidays, of what she calls "the Ayia Napa syndrome". Besides the casual, inevitable violence that accompanies large groups of young people and heavy drinking, there were other incidents: a spate of "indecency" arrests for streaking in the street, skinny-dipping in hotel pools, sex in public places.They know all about this on the old Ibiza, where after a decade of excess the islanders have started to wonder whether the price of their new tourist wealth has been worth the cost - environmental, social and pyschological.

IT is the official start of the summer season in "the new Ibiza". Before it was hailed in the British press as "the hippest holiday on earth", before it became the star of its very own docusoap (Ayia Napa: Fantasy Island) and before it made the old Ibiza look passe (although that could have had something to do with Anthea Turner being snapped on the dance floor).

Or, perhaps you remember the island by its former name: Ayia Napa, a humdrum resort on the eastern edge of Cyprus that, until recently, used to be pretty much like every other resort in the Mediterranean. This weekend sees the opening parties of two of the dozen or so British nightclubs that are moving out en masse for the season; for the next four months there will be no let-up.

As the two regions are nearly completely separate from a traveller's point of view, this article will concentrate on the northern territory governed by the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus.

This is not a political endorsement of claims by either side in the dispute.

Nowadays, we can especially feel the speed - and at the same time - the lack of time in our lives.

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The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC, Turkish Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti) is a self-proclaimed republic on the northern and eastern side of the island of Cyprus.

Turkey is the only state which recognizes the TRNC.

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