Tuesday, July 22, 2014

yoghurt and sour plums

The heat hits its peak at around one in the afternoon and everything goes silent, save for the buzzing of insects. The few birds who brave the intensity flit from shadow to shadow, their beaks wide open in an attempt to cool themselves. The only ones who seem to revel in the sun are the lizards, who bask with their heads high, on toasty rocks.

We patrolled Akseki for lunch, which was a little bit of a challenge as it is Ramadan (Ramazan, to Turks), a holy month of fasting for Muslims, and most eateries are closed. Fasting for Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam upon which the faith is built— the other four being: testimony of faith, prayer, giving alms to the needy, and making the pilgrimage to Mecca if possible. The fasting begins at sunrise and ends with the call of the azan at sunset, when iftar is held; the meal that breaks the fast. Luckily for us, a small pide shop was open for business, with two other customers quietly munching away.

After lunch we headed back to the hotel, where Yusuf bey insisted we sit with him for a while with a çay. This lead to stories about the past, about how Yusuf bey coincidentally lived in Büyükçekmece for a time, and about the Dutch birders who had previously passed through his doors. Eventually I ended up sketching him for a very patient hour, and even more çay.

He offered us yoghurt, and sour plums.

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