3 August 2013

Karmelino’s aphrodisiac

The two bottles of Karmelino's Aphrodisiac

The two bottles of Karmelino’s Aphrodisiac

The air is dense, suffocating, we can almost not breathe. The gust of this oxygen mass strangulates you. At the end of Zastražyšće, a small village in the Centre of the island of Hvar, Croatia, two grandmas sit, talking, in the shade of the terrace of the bar Karmelino while one of them separates and choose the good Lavender in a large green bucket and another blue small within the big one. The smell of this calming and aromatic plant used for many different things like infusions and oils fills the covered patio. There is also a man, with naked upper body, greasy hair and a dark colour swim suit covering his bellybutton. He wears flip-flops. We walk slowly towards them and say: “Karmelino?”-they nod their heads-. “Is he here?” –I add-. They don’t react. I think and reformulate the sentence gesticulating and pointing everywhere: “I am Jordi, I am coming from Sveta Nedelja, Karmelino?”. One of the grannies, who happens to be his mother, says a few words in Croatian and the man with greasy hair, with a face that looks like he doesn’t have many friends, like thinking: “What do those two want, do I have to stand up now?”, gets up and disappears behind us to the left, he’s back in a minute  -is very hot- with closed eyes, slow gait, making a sign with the hand and the index finger moving it in  horizontal circles without saying anything. We wait.

“Hallo Karmelino”. “Hallo” -he says-, just waking up from a nap; better said, we have awakened him up. “Sie ist Ruth” -I say-. Karmelino looks at Ruth, greets her and offers us a drink. We say water and gives us a look… “Okay, okay, two beers.” Opens them in a fatigued, debilitated state, tired, sleepy, slow. We talk about everything, how’s my work, his, how many olives trees does he has, about the heat, the water, ah! Yes! The water. He has to fill the cistern that has on his car. Stands and goes to put the water hose in the big black tank and tells us that in about thirty minutes we’ll go to see his lagoon, all his land, that we’ll look at the island from the top of a mountain, go to see his cousin or the sister of his cousin or some cousin of his; all this including the word “girl” or “women” whenever he things is the right moment and trying to kill a wasp with forced and sudden movements that makes him sit up from his relaxed position on the chair. At the end he succeeds but, with the second one desists.

“Die Zisterne ist voll, gehen mal” – says walking towards the car – Ruth and I stay still; we haven’t understood him, is he talking to his mother – who still selecting the lavender-? We turn ourselves towards her and with a quick and natural gesture with the hand expresses us to go with him. Karmelino’s tour starts.