The world is big. The world is very, very big. But somewhere exactly in the middle of this big world there is one bright point. It is absolutely unique. And I know that I will unmistakably find a way to this place from anywhere on the planet.
This special code is stitched up in my heart, like in a navigator. And if I close my eyes and put my hand on my chest, I can mentally go on my favourite journey – along the road that leads to My Odessa.
In general, it doesn’t matter that at this moment a gloomy and grey alien country is around me – in My Odessa it’s summer. Oh, do you know what summer is in Odessa? This is the sun. So much sun that the roads melt. The air rings and trembles, weaving hundreds of smells – flowering acacia, fried goby fish, sea, stuffed peppers or hot asphalt… And now you find yourself in this splendour, in the midst of the happiest summer day. And instantly you go crazy with this delight. You need EVERYTHING! And right away! So where to go first? To the sea? To the town? Or maybe first to the Privoz market?
Well, of course you can first go to friend’s and eat there, like Arthurchik from the old Odessa anecdote. Well, the one where the Jewish mother shouts from the balcony: “Arthurchik! Arthurchik! Go to dinner!” ‘But I already have eaten at Pavlik’s!” “God! This is not a child! This is a golden child!”
But what about the aesthetic pleasure you get seeing Odessa vegetables, fruits and traders. And our Odessa sport “bargaining”? Privoz wins. Summer means Odessa. And where in the world there is even more summer than at the Privoz? You walk the Ekaterininskaya Street, passing the Uzbeks by: “Come here, beauty, and try apricots-dates-raisins – pure honey!” Then you fall into the oceans of greenery: “Are you taking only this bunch of dill? Have you forgotten to take one for your mom? This is not just dill, this is pure health!” And finally, you come to the “fruit rows”, where you completely lose control. Cherries, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, peaches … But hands aren’t enough to carry it all! And you should also go in the fish row.
Being at the Privoz and not visiting the fish row? No tell me, why then even go to the Privoz! Small crustaceans, sprats, plaice, flounder – you should take everything. For you, for mother-in-law, for friends, more – more! Still, you regret that you did not get a cargo taxi. When something is out of stock – “You don’t need it today. Come tomorrow,” says mysteriously woman, in a lace apron, named Sofochka. But if you really need it today, then she shouts through the whole row with a voice from which the bazaar freezes and fat bazaar cats come off
– ‘Zina, do you still have it?
– There it is!
– Go to Zina or come tomorrow.”
The sellers you know well – this is a great luck! They are inherited, sometimes from grandmother to granddaughter. And then, hungry, but happy, with hands full of edible happiness, you move to Preobrazhenskaya street, leaving Privoz.
So, now quickly rush home, throw in the refrigerator everything that you can’t eat right away.
Take the rest with you, and go… to the Sea. Warm. Odessa Sea.
Well, some call it Black. But that is different. This summer sea is definitely Odessa sea. It is the same – a little crazy, a little stupefied by heat and people. But in the evening the sea is changing, languishing from the sunset. Shakes off burnt holidaymakers from the beaches and again spreads to the horizon, reflecting the sky and spreading like pink marshmallow right at the feet.
Do you know how the evening Odessa Sea smells? I really like the smell of the sea. It is so refreshing; brackish…Who ever breathed this wonderful air would never forget it! This special smell relaxes and helps to forget about everything bad… The sea smells like freedom and power. The sea smells like a mystery, and we, children, are willing to find out what is overseas. The sea feeds and the sea heals. You can just stand beside it and feel happy. And you can sit on the ground sheet or directly on the sand, closer to the water. So that the lazy waves kiss your fingers tenderly. And with quiet trepidation, get a bag with crustaceans or stock fish. And one more with a tomato and a sweet cucumber. And with still warm pita bread, or what else did you find at the Privoz? It is advisable to do all this without taking your eyes off the horizon – where the ships are on the raids between heaven and earth. And swallow your zen directly from this watermelon air.
You know, at this moment you will understand that nobody will fry the sprats today. And you should eat raspberries first, or it will drain. Cherries will be for tomorrow. And also strawberries!
Where else did you want to get today? See Odessa in one day? This won’t happen. Odessa is a boundless summer universe. You should live this holiday without rushing – day after day, letting it deeper and deeper into the heart.