A couple hours before dawn drummers march through the streets waking everyone up so that they can eat breakfast before sunrise. No doubt this was very helpful prior to the advent of the alarm clock, but now its just annoying. Who needs two hours to eat breakfast? Apparently I am not alone in holding this attitude because it turns out that in my neighborhood there is actually an ordinance outlawing the drumming. Yay! Actually, in Istanbul it now only happens in the more religious neighborhoods.
One friend estimated that only about 50% of people in Istanbul fast. But many others pretend to fast. They eat and drink discretely, when no one is looking. Of course, part of this is probably just politeness, after all a great way to make enemies is to eat in front of someone who can’t even take a sip of water. If you work in a company that is known to be religiously observant, its also just good office politics to seem devout. Ramadan is also the grumpiest month of the year. Even people who are not fasting use it as an excuse to be disagreeable and unproductive, kind of like when people are so stressed out by Christmas that they trample other shoppers. The world is a funny place.