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Ramadan Festival & The First Car! - 21 August 2010
            
  Well I have a new PC and I have finished loading all my files from my last one on to it. You don't realise how much gumpf you collect on computer until you have to reload it all.

The Ramadan Festival 11 August - 9 September

My village is currently celebrating the month of Ramadan, which is also a treat for the not so devout, as Huassain the 'Hodja' (Imam) belts out everynight to call to an end the period of fasting. I don't understand a word he is saying, but his voice makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. This is all done with out the use of a microphone and I think in his day could have given any one of the 'three tenors' a run for there money.

My local pub is closed for refurbishment, so Hikmet has moved the bar outside, which in August is actually a lot more pleasant, I am hoping the refurbishment is finished before the cold weather moves in.

There are few absentees to the fasting this year as the tobacco harvest has coincided with Ramadan, and working in the fields in 38 C without taking on any water would be dangerous for anyone.

At the end of the fasting month, which will be the first viewing of the next new moon, 'Sugar' Bairam starts. Which in my village takes on the form of all the children calling in asking for sweets. I will be fully loaded and armed with sweets ready to dish out.

Buying a Car

Bulgaria is still largely a cash society, and the main shopping is done at markets which to my mind is a lot nicer than the sterile, cloned shopping centres we have in the UK, thankfully the word 'franchise' has yet to take root in Bulgaria - yet. Each town has its particular market day and each seems to specialise in a certain way. This weekend I will be travelling with Hikmet and his son Bekir to Dimitigrad which every Sunday has a huge selection of second hand cars as well as the normal stuff for sale.

I am not sure if the practice is similar to other areas of Bulgaria but in the Turkish dominated area of Kardjali and certainly in my village, the first car is almost a right of passage in to adulthood, and is normally paid for by father. I explained to my friends up the pub that when if I had asked my father to buy me a car he would have told me to get off my arse and pay for one. Which probably explains why I left home at 16 and didn't get my first car until I was 22!





 
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