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In Turkey - Türkiye'de

Turkish movies, Türk filmleri

Turkish Delights
True stories of travellers to Turkey

The personal Turkish experiences of visitors to the
Learning Practical Turkish
web site...

Nice and Necessary

Learn Turkish Language from delightful Turkish stories -- wax candle power, decorative and necessary
and necessary...

I lived in Izmir for over a year from late 1997 until the beginning of 1999.
I would occasionally eat at a small vegetarian restaurant that didn't really have a menu. You'd choose what you'd like for dinner by visiting the kitchen for a first-hand look of what was on offer.

There was usually a 'daily special'
scrawled on the blackboard on the outside, too.
But, since my Turkish was limited
it was easier to just take a peek in the kitchen.
Sometimes, though, I'd still have to guess,
as no one could explain any of the food choices to me in English anyway.
I suppose that was part of the fun and adventure
of being in a foreign land...

On my very first visit to the restaurant, it struck me as nice that each table had a candle on it. I imagined how a young couple might enjoy a romantic candle-lit meal and then go for a bay-side walk along Izmir's Birinci Kordon, a block away. But that particular night, none of the candles were lit. Why, I wondered? I knew that they had all been lit at sometime because the candle wicks were all burnt. Then my dinner came and, as I finished, the mystery of the unlit candles passed from my mind.

It resurfaced again, however, on my next visit. I went to the kitchen as usual, and chose what I'd have for dinner. The waiter brought me my meal, and after I had half-finished it, the bustling little restaurant was suddenly plunged into complete darkness (and silence). Conversations broke off in mid-sentence. Nothing stirred. You could hear a pin drop. Then, from the hallway I saw an eerie figure approaching slowly with a cigarette lighter -- and 'it' began lighting the candles at each table...

Flash! It finally dawned on me that the candles weren't there for ambience at all -- but for necessity. There had been an electrical power-cut. Once the candles were lit, everyone resumed their meals (and their animated conversations) as if nothing had happened. The mystery of the unlit candles was solved.

I had only been in Turkey a short time when this happened,
and it surprised me.
In America, we take so much for granted that
we wouldn't think of having candles in a restaurant for
the sole-purpose of defending against electrical outages.
Of course, this wasn't the first or the only time that
I experienced an electrical outage in Izmir.
So, I soon bought candles for my own apartment --
candles that I used on quite a few occasions.
even now...
when I see candles in restaurants in America,
I always think with fondness
of my little vegetarian restaurant in Izmir.

AW (Sept '02)

Editor's note:
'Temporary' power outages are very common to Turkey and
they have been... at least during the 30 years we've 'known' her.
To learn how we combat them,
continue reading "Our Honda Generator -- A Member of the Family...»

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