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« Christmas is Just Around the Corner! | Main | Know Your Neighborhood Drummer »

10 October 2007



Excellent post! And the closing picture is great. But - are we to believe that you actually got out of bed at 4am to photograph that davulcusu? Or did you pay one to pose for you at a more aggreeable hour?

A couple of our wildest nights ever were spent in Istanbul during Ramazan -- a long Saturday night in a meyhane with live music right in the middle of the holy month, and the night right after Ramazan ended (same meyhane). That visit to Istanbul left us saying, 'Man, those Turks really know how to party!' (The same cannot be said for Malay Muslims post-Ramadan, unfortunately.)


The sacrifices I make for art! I did get up to take that dude's photograph. I tried half-heartedly to learn more about them. How much do they get paid? What qualifies them to be drummers? Is there some sort of union that provides training and health benefits? what do they do during the day and the rest of the year? Do they particularly enjoy waking yabancis and non-believers?

Meyhane life in Turkey is awesome.


Its nigella seeds on the pide, not black sesame. I think you're missing a "not in the last sentence, am I right?

Bulent Murtezaoglu

"How much do they get paid?"

You'll get a sense soon enough. He'll go door to door asking for money tomorrow. At least you know what yours looks like. It used to be not that uncommon for several to show up, each claiming he's the real one and the others are fake. The joke below is actually based on real pamphlets you'd occasionally see:


Ok, Bulent, how much will they want? I want a yabanci non-believer indirim too!

Eren, Nigella seeds or black sesame, I don't know. But Binnur is my source on all things related to Turkish food and if she says black sesame, that's what I use!

Bulent Murtezaoglu

Heh, you can just choose to be absent. If you were Turkish you'd run the risk of geting some lip if you just pay him 1YTL. I think they hope for five minimum if they manage to get to a door. On the other hand, he knows you are a yabanci and not fasting (and cannot be guilted into paying for the sin) so I wouldn't worry about it.

We didn't get a drummer this year, because I don't think he got paid enough last year. I know for sure he couldn't even get into some buildings. (I watched, because I was curious about the same thing.) These people will disappear eventually, so you are experiencing a dying tradition.

mind the gap

Gosh that all sounds so interesting - although I'm not sure I could cope with broken sleep for too many nights in a row. For now, I might just prefer the drunken lot spilling out the Georgian restaurant below us supposedly 'singing'.


You would be shocked to learn that Ramadan is just a copy of the Crhistian Quaresima, a short period of semi-fast, whose rules have been dictated by the Pope of Rome during centuries. (How many things did we, the Italians, invent, duh?). As far as I remember in its last version the faithful could not eat anything but vegs for one week in February. The trespasser would repent and confess his sin.
Maybe in some Catholic munastery the nuns still perform Quaresima.

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