The heat was bearing down upon us on the road to Ducze, and after some poorly-oiled (not fried) bread the night before our bodies were rather malfunctioning on poor quality fuel. We veered off the highway to find cay and some shade. We asked our host-to-be if he kindly had any cay, this rather threw the man since he was accustomed to heckling any passerby with the offer, not the other way around.
Our host's name was Ramazan, and as he would wish his character and accouterments necessitate significant description. His roadside theatre (house) was cornered on the junction of the highway and a local town road ensuring maximum tire-fall, it was of dark-wooden construction, the ever-open doors concealing an all-in-one saloon bar, scrabbled workshop, museum for his military memorabilia, and a gallery displaying his ever-emergent film career.
And now to the man himself, he was the perfect height for a woman, his admittedly handsome face and rugged jaw lead up to the coup-de-grace of his wonderful moustache two fingers deep under the nose, curling up to well-tousled wings. Little did we know, this was but an elegant remnant of the heroic beard he had sported in his countless photos with Turkish film stars, no doubt when he was auditioning for a role as a Chechynan strongman or such similar. His shirt was like obsideon, black and shining with a mix of PVC and perspiration, his pistol holster on the belt was accompanied by not one but two leather pouches of magazines and ammunition, in case of an intense firefight breaking out in the quiet rural lay-by.
His show had a well-stocked prop department, throughout the tea performance we explored his '1957 Big Black Baddie Merc' parked outside, we delved through his bullet collection ordered according to height and potential to inflict damage on a human body, his guestbook was a genuine highlight: it had records of world travelers (maybe half of which were cycle-tourists) dating back from start of the millennium - the glowing references were persuasive in the length of our stay, as was his rather paradoxical tea equipment - which seemed far more design to delay guests from leaving than ever producing a cup of tea. Either way the show had a wiling audience.
So his centre-stage was the ancient wood burner, the chimney of which resembled a Victorian top hat that had seen better days, the well-worn duo of steamer-kettle and teapot rested on the hat's brim. A Turkish rewrite of the mad-hatter's tea party resplendent with likely equally bemusing guests. And the host almost managed to entertain himself and his guests in equal measure, his hobbies and jobs seemed to range from almost acting in several films, amateur radio host, and singing in a local choir. If this man had been born in LA...
I don't know if we went off-script, but the conversation definitively skipped the take-off stages of health and the weather, and was piloted by our host towards storm-clouds questions over circumcision (which was later cemented by an axe being wielded), WWI, what my Turkish (and therefore certainly islamic) fiancee did during Christmas, and a deep delving into our religious beliefs. The finale was our director of ceremonies showing videos of him conducting russian and french tourists through an islamic conversion ceremony - backed up by his copies of their certificates. It was at that moment that the act got old and tea cold, and we pulled a hasty curtain on the show.