Sometimes you can’t sleep – or wake early – for no apparent reason. This morning was one of those times, and at 4.30am I decided to get up for a glass of water….just as the call to prayer began.
For me, this is possibly the most evocative sound of life in Turkey, particularly at sunrise or sunset when it signals the start or end of another busy day.
There are some people who complain about the early calls, claiming it wakes them. Everyone is different, I guess, but I can honestly say that the ezan has never disturbed my sleep, even with two mosques in the village that don’t exactly correspond on timings! (The thought also occurs that if you don’t like it, why live in or visit a Muslim country?)
So, as I sat there listening to the muezzin, I reflected on the other sounds that are the backdrop to our new life.
Most seem to be animal-related – dogs barking, of course; the cows mooing in the neighbours’ field; the cockerel that belongs to the family at the other side. And, unfailingly, the backdrop of crickets chirruping in the orchard, the garden and indeed pretty much everywhere.
I’m not so aware of the traffic, though of course it is there. But we are fairly remote so it’s not a constant presence – or doesn’t feel like one.
In Fethiye or the more touristy areas, it’s a different matter. Coaches, dolmus, scooters, quad bikes – they provide a constant backdrop. (Driving is an entirely different subject that I’ll no doubt cover in a separate post!)
Then there are the traders and restaurant owners with their cheerful sales patter. You can’t walk down the strip in places such as Hisarönü or Ölüdeniz without hearing their entreaties to either eat or buy: “Yes please, we have sunglasses – cheap as chips!” “You want Prada handbag? Better than Primark!”
You’ll be offered a good deal on shoes – buy one, get one free – but that is actual shoes, not pairs. Canny, eh? Or the perfume sellers will attempt to draw you in by asking your advice on the popular men’s and women’s fragrances of the moment back in the UK – and of course, they’ll have it right there for you at a fraction of the price.
Anyone who knows and loves Turkey is familiar with the “genuine fake” culture. Again, there are those who complain about it – but it’s part of life here. It’s friendly banter with no animosity – if you’re not interested, smile and say so, or tell them you’ve already made your purchases. It amuses me how many people pretend they haven’t heard, put their heads down and scurry past!
The threads that join together all these sounds, for me, are peace and/or cheerfulness. So far there is no stress, no anger, nothing negative associated with what I hear in my new life.
That may not always be the case, I realise – but, for now, I’ll just enjoy it.