Thursday, September 28, 2006

Fast. Food.

So I've finally made it to Turkey and only two time-zones separate me now from home. Upon crossing the border I had hoped to hitch a ride with a lorry (after having heard from other travellers about the ease with which Turkish drivers pick you up) to Trabzon, but after almost 3 hours had to give up and take the bus instead (apparently there has been some sort of police crackdown lately due to the recent spate of bombings, so drivers are reluctant to take rides). I arrived at dusk and the town seemed deserted, for a minute I thought I had arrived at the wrong place, and then I noticed all the restaurants were full of people sitting and waiting patiently, but not eating. The food was in front of them but they just ignored it. All was deathly silent. Had it been a film tumbleweeds would have been rolling past me as I strode about. Suddenly a cannon broke the silence, pigeons fled to the skies, a mosque started wailing and the city started to gorge itself. Welcome to Ramadan. I'm finding the fasting rather difficult and have to sneak to my room to have a few bites during the day. It's not that fasting is obligatory in strictly secular Turkey, but you feel rather rude eating in front of people who aren't and can't. Although some restaurants have tucked away little corners where you can get a meal during the day (the whole month is great for waiters who lounge around all day reading the papers and shooting the breeze).

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