a Turkish tea house

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It’s two in the afternoon when I see my first pine tree in as long as I can remember. Actually, it’s a bunch of them on both sides of the road. Their fragrance fills the air, and just looking at them makes me feel as if I was on the shores of the Mediterranean.

That’s until I notice the bunnies. They are everywhere, and they are as black as they are fat and lazy. Even when I come within a close distance of them they don’t move – they just look at me. And they keep nibbling.

They remind me of a place in Azerbaijan.

I have lunch at Aihan’s tea house. The only thing he serves is tea, but he tells me to just go get some food from a shop next door and have it at his place. Aihan is almost seventy, and he used to be a driver. He drove all kinds of vehicles, from a taxi in Istanbul to a truck crossing the Caucasus. Twenty years ago he stopped driving and opened this tea house.

He did all of the decorating by himself: the abundance of plants, the fish tanks, the photos on the walls, the Atatürk pictures, the model cars, the disco ball in one of the corners. I can’t help but think that if this was in Germany, it would surely be a bar.

I ask him if the new highway has been good for business, to which he nods. “People from all over the place stop here to have tea – women and men…” he points at a gentleman accompanied by two little kids: “…and children!”

And what is it with all those other tea houses on the road, the places where I could see only male patrons? I ask him.

“Oh, those!” he says, making a gesture as if to throw something away: “those guys like to play games and be among themselves.”

I end up staying at Aihan’s tea house for a long time. Later, as I am walking into the sunset, I find myself wondering if there might be a problem with one of the basic premises of my thinking.

The thing is that I tend to assume it’s mostly the young who will bring about progress in a society.

But maybe I’m wrong?

scooter dude

water fountain

pine trees

black fat lazy bunnies

road with mosque

Aihan

inside Aihan's teahouse

Atatürk pictures

patrons at Aihan's teahouse

road to Carsibasi at sunset

underpass at night



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