Scary Turkish storms and Turkish Bayram

Did I say Cirali was quiet?  Well, not now.  Turns out this week is a national holiday for a big Muslim festival and the place is absolutely packed with Turkish families. Many small children running around the place.

    Here, the festival is called Kurban Bayrani. We call it Eid Al-Adha, or the Feast of Sacrifice. Derya, our landlord, invited us to go along to the mosque early in the morning, where he was helping to distribute sweets to the children.  Unfortunately I overslept but Philosopher went. He said it was very interesting. The children each got a carrier bag full of goodies. Derya also told us that he had paid for an animal sacrifice – it is done in a slaughterhouse – and the meat should be given to the poor – but he said there were no poor people in Cirali.
     Here are some of Philosopher’s pictures of the sweet-giving ceremony.

Gathering round for the distribution of sweets
That’s Derya in the front in the middle
A sweetie mountain
Going home with the spoils…

     We have lots of opportunity to practice our limited Turkish.  There are no other English people here at all.
     Yesterday we met Derya’s mum, a wrinkled little lady in traditional Turkish clothes. Given the ages of her children, she could well be younger than us. Strange. In the past, it amused us to see three generations of Turkish women going into the sea.  Granny would wade in up to her knees, fully dressed in shawls and baggy trousers.  Daughter would swim in an industrial strength one-piece swimsuit, and grand daughter would follow, wearing a skimpy bikini. Now, the grannies have disappeared and all wear similar swimwear, except that occasionally we see a young woman in an all-over Islamic swim outfit. Fortunately, that is still very rare.

       So, the storms.  We gather we were lucky here, in our old haunt, Bodrum, they had flash floods and cars swept away.  The first thunderstorm night we were quite scared, it was so violent. The thunder was deafening, the lightning continuous, and the rain torrential.  This carried on for over an hour.  I got up and looked out of the door.  Our orange grove had turned into a soggy paddy field.         Cirali is built on a narrow strip of largely reclaimed flat land below towering mountains.  Philosopher and I had scary visions of torrents sweeping down the mountains to wash us out to sea – bit like Boscastle.  I also have bad memories of being trapped in dreadful floods in Stratford-on-Avon in 1998.  However, when we woke up the next morning the water had disappeared and the sun was out.  This pattern carried on for three nights, with roaring wind added to the mix on the last night.  Everything was damp and clammy, and sleep-deprived children wailed fretfully.

        We managed to get every morning on the beach, but by lunchtime the clouds were rolling in again. We had two humid walks, one to revisit the ancient city of Olympos, just up the beach. Fortunately, good weather returned later in the week.

         Following photos are of Cirali animal and bird life – particularly the friendly chicken family that hang round our house, Mr Cockerel and his three wives. Battleaxe would like chickens, but we have so many foxes in Hastings. These Turkish birds have amazingly strong, muscular legs and big feet, reflecting their outdoor lifestyle.


         The nearby pool on the beach is full of frogs – a playground for dogs.

      There are lots of wild tortoises – on the way to Tekirova last week there was one making its ponderous way across the road. I got the driver to stop and jumped out to rescue it before it was run over.  When I picked it up it thrashed its legs trying to claw me, and whirled its head around on a surprisingly long neck trying to bite. Ungrateful.

          Home later today….. And a final scary cat, begging for food in a cafe in the village.

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