11/21  Marmaris, Turkey

21 Nov 1985, Posted by Scott An Chora in Travelogue, No Comments.

11/21 Marmaris, Turkey


I was up early, grabbed a table and a few chairs and set them up on the sand.  I sat and gazed out on the empty bay writing until the others woke.  A pot of coffee soon followed and then breakfast. The girls were taking about exploring the city’s bizarre, a female shopping ritual.  I on the other hand I was invited to go with the men.  Bear hunting was on the agenda.  We all loaded onto a friend’s boat and headed along the coast to a location that supposedly had a recent bear sighting.  I’m not one who’s into killing animals but I told myself that it was for food and wasn’t actually handed a gun.  We didn’t locate any bears anyway.  Everyone just got real winded.  They decided to change plans and hunt octopus instead.  We divvied up what was caught between the locals.  Refrigeration was limited so the extra octopus was taken door to door and offered to the neighborhood.  Each took what they needed and nothing more.  I needed a shower so when we returned to the homestead I began boiling pots of water.  It was quiet and very relaxing and we didn’t mind the company, so when it was time to do some grocery shopping Jenni and I paid for an additional four days of lodging and added enough money to stock the place with food.  Jenni began a new project of painting post cards and picked up some additional art supplies.  Our host and his young lady friend seemed to have very little in common.  I sensed that she was afraid of him at times.  Late at night I could hear them yelling at one another.  Their screaming was only interrupted by the sound of things breaking.  I wasn’t sure if he hit her and began listening for my clue to involve myself.  I believe you define yourself by the actions you take and could be just as guilty by doing nothing and not standing up to be counted.  If confronted I would intervene and if I learned of it while were staying with them, I would confront both of them and then decide on what actions I would take.  Luckily it never came to that.

That day we just hung around, enjoyed the sun and listened to music.  Just before dinner some neighbors wandered up offering fish they had caught that day.  It was nice to see a community actually sharing with one another.  During dinner somehow we had gotten onto the subject of “hot” food.  I grew up in Los Angeles and lived with a lot of cultures that had migrated up from the equator and brought their cuisine with them.  Indian, Mexican and Taiwanese, were what I considered “hot” food.  A smile came across his face, “You don’t know hot” he stated.  He got up from his chair and went into the back yard.  He returned with medium sized potted plant covered with little purple flowers.  He pulled off a bud and gestured for me to try it.  I can admit when I’m wrong.  That stuff was as hot as hell and was probably some kind of poison.  Our host laughed and laughed as if that was the funniest thing he had ever seen.  His girl friend then grabbed a second bud off that plant and forced it into his mouth.  He then spent easily twenty minutes over the sink rinsing out his eyes and mouth while his girl friend laughed.

We got word that a storm was approaching.  At about nine or ten o’clock a group of men approached the front door.  They were recruiting all the men in the city to assist in pulling all the boats from the harbor and securing them on land.  Some of those boats where large three masts sail boats and it took a great deal of effort to move them with ropes and elbow grease.  It was a poetic scene of a community that came right from the pages of building pyramids.  Yea I know on a much, much smaller scale.  I was disappointed in myself for leaving my camera behind but on the other hand it was likely too dark for a successful picture.  We could see the clouds gathering in the distance approaching the open mouth of the bay.  When we had finished bringing the last boat ashore we followed the crowd into town and hid from the wind in a local bar.  The bottles of Raki passed freely and the mood started taking on the colors of a ritual.  Then a water pipe much like the one I smoked in Jerusalem was placed in the middle of the room.  It was a large pipe with five hoses and a bowl about five inches in diameter.  They would mix hash in with tobacco and place hot coals on top of the mixture.  I took my turn in their ceremony.

Smoldering incense, perfumes the darkness, murmured chanting, ripples across the silence
where offerings, of the faithful spread the roots, which actually hold the stones in place

Shadows dance, to the rhythms of the candles, living today’s memories, of yesterday’s prayer
Merit, for the lives yet to come

I was told and understood it to be true, that hash was illegal in Turkey and the punishment was harsh.  If anybody was caught with hash in their possession the Federales or whatever they were called there would take away the possessor with no questions asked.  But that night the city was isolated.  The City Council had met earlier and agreed.  They placed local law enforcement at every conceivable entrance to ensure nobody outside the city’s authority could enter without warning.  They sent the “Old man”, which I interpreted as somebody everyone trusted to fetch the chest.  I understood that he would hide a chest out in the bay somewhere and that he was the only one that knew where.  In bed under the blankets we listened to the wind rage and watched the shadows cast by the terrorized trees dance against the barren walls.  We didn’t get much sleep.  Trees were pulled out of the ground and thrown every which way.  The sea advanced and came in about half way into the front house.  Their bed would take days out in the sun to dry.

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    Usually behind a cup of coffee waiting for the world around me to wake up I entered today’s thoughts about yesterday’s activities into my travel journal. I’m not a writer, so I’ll apologize in advance if I jump around or seem confused. These are just the thoughts of a young man who left his possessions behind and who believes that getting lost is how one finds oneself.

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