June 14, 2012
In the summer there are regular boats that go directly to Cinarcik, a summer town where many Istanbulites have their homes. I went out there on Thursday, spending time on the rocky beach and swimming in the water.
For lunch I went to a cafe and ordered a beer. At first he was startled that a girl would order a beer, then when he realized I was serious he went to get an Efes. Only he brought back alcohol-free Efes. Now Efes is already quite similar to water, if you're going to get alcohol-free, you'd be better off just ordering plain water.
I looked at him a little confused and asked if he could bring me regular Efes.
"Oh, you want it with alcohol? Ok, look, I'll do something special for you."
"Wait, what?" But he had already run inside, returning a few minutes later with a beer glass and a shot of what looked and smelled like grain alcohol. I looked confused again.
"You can have alcohol in your beer now!" I started laughing. Stopped and stared at the scene in front of me, and then started laughing again. I wanted a regular beer, not alcohol specifically. Then I realized that he meant for me to mix the shot of alcohol with the beer, producing a "regular" beer. I laughed again and then sent the alcohol and beer back and got an iced tea instead...
It was explained to me later that this particular cafe was owned by a religious man and as a result they were prohibited from selling alcohol. The server wanted to get me what I wanted but since he lacked actual beer, he thought he could solve the problem by offering a shot of alcohol to throw in the beer! Creative but simply not what I was going for that afternoon...
The "alcoholic" non-alcoholic beer
The boat trip back to Istanbul