Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A bit under the weather...

Dear readers,

One of the most important things when you start a blog - as far as I'm concerned - is to keep up with it and post every day, if not every other day, so that readers keep on coming back and also recommend you to others!

Unfortunately, I have not been able to follow my own rule since my last post because I have a miserable cold that just won't go away!!!

I returned to Istanbul on Friday night and woke up with this cold on Saturday morning...even so, I posted my last post on Çeşme and was hoping to write to you about stuff from Istanbul - but I haven't been able to leave the house!

If it wasn't for the fact that I have to take out Luka for his morning and evening "walks", I have literally been stuck at home for the past 4 days!

I have been very lucky and haven't gotten a cold or flu in years - I guess I am now making up for it and summer colds are the worst!

Now, I will end my sob story and share some general info with you in this post.

Ramadan or Ramazan ... the month of fasting in the Muslim world began on August 1st and will end on August 28. Then, the 3 1/2 day Ramadan Holiday will begin (August 29, 30-31, September 1). Since the holiday begins on Monday and ends on Thursday, most Turks will wind up taking off from work on Friday and turning it into a 10-day holiday. The majority of the population in Turkey is Muslim and observing Muslims usually fast throughout the entire time. As the calendar for Ramazan is based on the lunar calendar, it changes every year and for the next few years, will be observed during the summer months - moving back 11 days each year. As the sun sets at a much later time, the breaking of the fast started at about 8:30pm in Istanbul on August 1st and the time will gradually change a couple of minutes each day. The breaking of the fast changes from city to city depending on when the sun sets.

The nightlife and social activities in Istanbul do slow down a bit during Ramazan, but they do not come to a total stop, like they do in some of the very strict religious Muslim countries. As a "general" rule, Muslims are not supposed to consume alcoholic beverages, but Turks do like to drink (our "national" drink is rakı - similar to arak and ozou) and some - even though not fasting - decide to at least observe the holy month of fasting by not drinking throughout Ramazan... In the rural cities throughout the country, Ramazan is more strictly observed than in the major cosmopolitan cities.

This is also a month of giving and all Muslims are required to help the needy and poor - based on their earnings. You can do this in many ways... by making donations to charitable organization, buying food packages from the supermarkets and giving them to the poor directly, etc.

As part of these efforts, the Ministry of Religious Affairs in cooperation with the Turkish Religious Foundation (www.diyanetvakfi.org.tr) has started a campaign to help the needy in Africa as they are now in dire straits experiencing the worst draught in over 60 years. If you are interested in making a donation to the needy in Africa, you can go to their website and make your donation online. There are also several bank accounts to wire transfer money, but this is too much information to share here. However, if you live in Turkey and have a cell phone, you can send a SMS/text by writing AFRIKA to 5601 (each SMS is 5 TL).

Some trivia and nightlife news...

Compared to Çeşme, the weather in Istanbul is mild and not that humid. It is in the low 30s (centigrade) during the day and in the mid 20s in the evenings. Rain is expected on Thursday and for the next few days after that, the temps during the day fall to the upper 20s - which is great!

If you are planning a night out tonight, you might want to swing by Anjelique on the waterfront in Ortaköy. El Beso Restaurant & Bar's DJ Indhi will be performing tonight starting at 11:00pm. If you decide to go, make sure to dress "smart" - sneakers and shorts are a no-no...You can also make reservations for dinner. (Tel: (0212) 327 28 44)

I'm signing off now readers and need to sleep for a while! I hate sounding like a cry baby - but I hate being sick and I hope to be 100% better the next time I write a post...


No comments:

Post a Comment