When I was a little kid my Dad traveled a lot. He was a businessman and he had his small trading company. Every two month he had a business trip and every time he tried to bring my Mom and me some unique gifts.
One time, when I was about 6-year-old, my Dad went to Cairo and brought me a doumbek drum. I asked him where he got it from. He said that was from a local market where they have many doumbeks for sale. He had said that was a special traveler drum, and it would bring me to any place I wanted, I just had to learn how to play it and grow up a little bit.
For many years I have been playing my drum in my room, creating rhythms and imagining myself among the Bedouins in a hot African desert or on a ship in the middle of a peaceful Red Sea waters. I was dreaming of the Middle East, the smells of spices at the busy open markets, hundreds of colorful carpets, men, drinking tea from the small glasses under the summer heat, and beautiful half-naked dancers, belly dancing right on the city square.
Thus the next day I finished my high school, I departed to Cairo. What is young American boy doing in the poor slums? I was asked this question all the time, catching the curious gazes of the locals and trying to stay on the safe side. Are you lost, son? Did you come from that hotel at the coast? Do you want to see the pyramids? I will make you a special tour, just 5 dollars!
I found accommodation in a cheap hotel, from where I could watch the nightly laser show on the pyramids, and every morning I went to the bazaar – the best place to meet common people. I even made a few local friends, young students, who kept calling me a crazy Yankee. I stayed there for one month – despite all, it was interesting and beautiful, but I just couldn’t find that feeling I was looking for.
Back to Turkey
After Egypt, I moved to Turkey. The gorgeous beaches of Antalya were not of my particular interest. I was in search of the traditional local culture, so I went to a tiny fisherman village. It was just a few kilometers to that village, so I decided to walk. But the weather was hotter than I expected, and I was almost fainting when deep in the subconscious I heard the familiar sound of doumbek. A little boy was sitting on the cliff under a big tree, playing my favorite drum. The time stopped for me. I came closer and laid down under the tree. Finally, I had got the ideal picture of what I was looking for, and what I had in my imagination – a boy, like me many years ago, the magic sound of the sea and the tunes of music.
Returning home was not easy. It felt like coming back to the world, where I didn’t belong anymore. But one thing remained unchanged – my own doumbek was waiting for me in my closet. Where will you send me next, my friend?