Turkey – Roasting chestnuts

I’m sleeping on a medical settee and there are two coffins behind the wall. They say that the doctor receives here only on Fridays but even this isn’t certain as everything is dusty as if nobody came here in a while.

The doctor’s office is between a shop and a bar so in the centre of the village. The shop is closed and there are local men in front of the bar. They are chopping wood, drinking tea and talking in groups. Inside some elderly men are watching TV, warming themselves by a blazing stove. There’s a music programme on TV so every now and then one of them sings along with the artists from the screen. All of the locals are a little bit dirty, a little aging, a little neglected. Old jackets, unshaven beards, workaday rubber boots fit perfectly distorted chairs, cupboards that can’t be close shut and old, yellowish calendars hanging on the walls of the bar. Engines of old cars rattle when their owners try to breathe life into them. Everything here went by long before. Only the past remains.

I left behind the road along the West coast, the cloud of smog around Izmir and the world flashing neon lights. Some 20 km from here, on the other side of the valley, lights of some bigger towns shine, lorries speed and young people live. But here you won’t feel any of it.

Here black olives fall silently on gravestones without inscriptions on the local cemetery. The tombstones leaned and overgrew with moss long time ago. Nobody comes here, only stray dog run around.

Here lanterns of ripe oranges shine in orchards by the road. Tea kettles fume in olive groves at lunchtime and families sit on the ground refreshing themselves during break.

Here you roast chestnuts on blazing stoves. Sometimes they bounce and burst unexpectedly. You throw them hot on the ground to later, blowing on your hands, peel the overheated skin and get into their pulp.

Quarter past midnight a rooster starts crowing. I roll over trying not to fall down from my narrow bed. In the morning the owner of the bar puts old newspapers on the table cloth and shares his breakfast with me. Soon we’ll speckle colourful articles with bread crumbles and eggshells and make the newspaper protagonists some freckles with honey and tea drops. After that, I’ll go towards the Turkish Babadag.

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