Cutest darn thief I’ve ever seen
Turkey would not be a good place for a celiac, the thought occurred to me (for the twentieth time this trip) when the waiter brought my sandwich, chicken and peppers hidden somewhere in half a loaf of French bread. I recently resolved to try a gluten-free month (to see if it helps with the sensation that my nasal passages have closed in the last few years), but my experiment will not begin in this country, where the day moves from one heaped basket of bread to another.
In the meantime, the bread is just one of the many things I love about Turkey. I love the ubiquitous tea and how the tulip glasses feel in my hand, the stunning landscape and tangible history. I love the incredible generosity and kindness of the people (which require separate posts). I love the architecture, the music, and the Call to Prayer. I love the language, with its inscrutable structure and affricate crunches. I love the old women in headscarves who smile with crinkled eyes, and the startled pleasure when I trot out my few fumbling Turkish phrases. I love the non-numerous and universally peaceful dogs…and I love the cats.
The cats. Turkey has cats. Lots and lots of cats.
Islam seems a little torn about dogs, some jurists declaring them “unclean” while Koranic teachings explicitly instruct kindness and compassion for dogs (as all animals). Cats on the other hand, get a meticulously clean rap sheet; Mohammed (PBUH) loved his cat, and Turks seem happy to do likewise. As I type this on the bed, just prior to checkout, one of the neighborhood’s semi-stray cats has wandered in and made a nest for herself.
When the waiter delivered that mega-sandwich, we were sitting on a riverside deck, sun in the air, ducks in the water, and cats all around. They watched the waterfowl, they watched each other, they watched the waiter. They snuzzled any hand and squinted their pleasure in every direction. I was hefting my loaf/sandwich for a photo when one jumped in my lap, and my brother has excellent timing.