It's Ramazan again! It seems like just yesterday the Ramazan Davulcusu passed through the neighborhood beating their drums and chanting their 4 am prayers, disturbing the rest of believers and infidels alike (described and photographed here, here, here and here). Last year, we thought it was an opportunity to experience a charming dying cultural tradition. This year, it's 30 days of being woken up by drums beneath our open bedroom windows every.single.morning at 3 am, and more than a mild irritant.
Astute readers know that Ramazan is the month-long fast celebrated by Muslims around the world. There are two important things to know about Ramazan: it moves about one month earlier every year and people fast from sunrise to sunset. That means that Ramazan in December is much more popular among Turks than, say, Ramazan in August or September because the days are a lot shorter and the fast is less demanding. Summertime Ramazans result in extra crankiness and diminished activity among people who break no productivity records fully nourished.
Ramazan in September is not at all popular with Carpetblogger because it gets light around 5:30 am. That means the drums start pounding the streets at 3 am, waking people up so they can eat the morning meal before the sun comes up. It's still hot out and closing the windows at night isn't practical. This morning's drummer probably knew we'd kept our neighbors awake until 3 am with all manner of haraam foolishness Saturday night at The Producer's 40th Birthday party, so stood extra long beneath our windows as payback.
So, you say, "Carpetblogger! Quit bitching! It could be worse! Few restaurants close during Ramazan in Turkey and lots of people don't fast. You could be in Saudi Arabia or Yemen, where even hotel restaurants shut down and eating is strictly forbidden. Not only that, it's 5000 degrees in Saudi this time of year, you aren't even allowed to drink water and you have to dress like a pre-Vatican nun. Now that would be 1000 kinds of suck."
Well, as it turns out, our oft-postponed trip to Saudi, Pakistan and Yemen is almost certain to fall during the holy month (we are intensely curious about whether Yemenis stop chewing Qat during the day). So, while we will escape the drums (which I believe are uniquely Turkish), we'll be in countries are not quite as laid back about one of the pillars of Islam as the Turks. We plan to bring our own food.
Since last year, we spent most of Ramazan in Kyiv which is pretty much the opposite of a Muslim country in all the important ways (ample pork, booze and scantily clad devushkas), Allah must be punishing us this year.