Below the road along the cliff between La Marsa and Sidi Bou Said (Tunisia), one finds the villas of La Marsa Corniche. Quiet is the beach because of rocky sea bottom and in the warm red-green underwater world of algae and seagrass, we spend lazy summer afternoons. when not sunbathing on hot sand or shade-reading against the cool wall along this Mediterranean sea-shore. Remembering the last vacation with my father, the beach is empty apart from fishermen returning home, certainly because of the early morning hour and maybe also a bit because of the Arab spring that brought refreshing wind with some uncertainty and a whiff of fear.
The question is, now that I am slowly petrifying, do I get closer to heaven or hell? As a young geologist it seemed simpler, when heaven was walking unknown wilderness, cooking on campfire and sleeping in a tent. Growing older meant moving to a room above a bar in a god-forsaken village, followed by a run-down three-star hotel from a glorious past in some provincial town. And now that I am Key Expert in Turkey chasing ministerial office tigers, I lay low along infinite buffets, wallow in four star luxury and while bathing in hot hydro-thermal fluids rising-up from deep realms, I really wonder whether I am getting closer to heaven or hell.
Already in the times of Pericles, man started excavating a heavy burden near the town of Balya (Balikesir, Turkey). Later, there would be holed out one of the the largest lead mines of the world with the establishment in 1892 of the French-Turkish “Societé des Mines de Balya Karaydın”. The company may have produced some 400.000 tons of pig lead before it closed in 1940, leaving millions of tons of strongly contaminated mineral waste, together with barren land and some century old ruins from mining and ore-processing activities; finally transferred by Turkish Etibank State Mining company, into the hands of the impoverished town of Balya, about a decade and a half ago. Continue reading