Some call it an addiction. Others frown upon it as if it’s a curse. But for others in this part of the world, it’s called a past-time.
We’re talking about coffee here. And specifically, strong, thin yet superbly aromatic coffee. Along the Balkans, from Macedonia to Montenegro (and I suspect even further north and east), the humble inhabitants of these lands drink over-powering Turkish coffee (sometime disguised under a different name…such as cafe montenegro in this instance. But this writer knows Turkish coffee when she sees/smells/drinks it.).
It’s more than just about the drink, or the the much needed caffeine boost; people in the Balkans (even in Istanbul) drink coffee, tea, salep and so on, as a means to catch up, gossip or simply just watch the world go past. There is probably nowhere else in the modern world that one sees so many (pretty, cute, even shady) cafes along the sidestreets, that are bound to be bustling away no matter what time of the day it is (did I get the grammar right?! The caffeine is getting to my writing.).
I relish just watching the old grannies and gramps sip their chai or coffee and chatting away, with no sight of a smart-phone or any sign of modern technology in sight (except perhaps, that hearing aid. Okay, I kid.). It’s a sight I am going to miss when I head back to cosmopolitan S-land, so while I’m here, I’m going to make sure I drink as much coffee/chai as I can, as slowly and nonchalantly as I can, while secretly peeking at the old folks at the next table (who are so sometimes so cute I wish they were my real grandparents. I kid you not this time.)