People and stories,  Round the world,  Turkey

Kilometer 3257: on chatting, touching, singing

People talk to each other. They have vivid conversations on the bus, like old friends. Rahman, our host, asks the bus driver to stop by a bakery, they both get off, chitchat for a few minutes with the baker and then the bus starts again. We are walking around a city – the younger and the older locals approach us to ask where we’re from, how we like it in Turkey and whether we need any help.

People touch each other. A grown up daughter is walking arm in arm with her dad and then, before running away to catch her bus, kisses him on the cheek. A boy presses his temples against his friend’s to greet him, then removes a fluff from his beard. A young man examines closely the swollen ankle of his future mother-in-law. A strange (for the time being) woman sees me climbing up a hill, joins me, grabs my hand and from now we keep climbing together. We are sitting in four in a car seat that had been originally recognized as a three-person one for a reason. The gearbox lever is exactly between Piotrek’s thighs, the driver reaches for it regularly. In Poland this level of intimacy would be rather awkward for a man…

People sing. Just after breakfast, Caner reaches for his saz – a Turkish 4-string guitar – and brags about a song that he had just learned. A truck driver starts to whistle along while listening to the radio, then he turns the music off and keeps singing by himself. We are spending the evening on Rahman’s patio, discussing Turkish and Polish customs. When the room falls silent for a while, the father of the family enters – confidently, strongly, in full voice. It takes seconds before the whole patio starts to sing along. In the morning we all go to pick hazelnuts. By the second tree, a merry song is already accompanying the work. Without thinking too much, I intone a Polish melody and the hazelnuts start filling the basket much quicker.

The merrymen on the quest for hazelnut.
The merrymen on the quest for hazelnut.

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