In Izmir, Turkey, walking the Kordon at sunset, you see all the world has gathered at the tables. It’s a golden, breezy mix of cay (tea) in tulip-shaped glasses, Efes pilsner, cigarettes, sunglasses, raki and backgammon. Oh and there’s conversation … constant conversation … in a tongue that conveys equal parts Mediterranean fire and Slavic strength, fortified with the open emotions of both. What would you ever wish to hide on this or any other day?
As the sun drops, the waiters bring out the shawls, draping them across the shoulders of men and women alike. Though it’s a standard practice throughout Turkey, there is something about this generous and kind gesture that touches and warms you even before the fabric does.