Midnight. We got to Karabük. The driver sent us off with ice cream cones, so with boosted morale off we went to look for a place to sleep.
Unfortunately, after walking along a third and fourth housing estate, the city still didn’t plan to grant us a bit of greenery needed to pitch a tent, so we decided to ask for local advice. After as much as two minutes of explaining what it is that we need, we found ourselves having çay with the newly met students, while they were calling a friend and joyfully informing him that he would have guests tonight. And he was genuinely happy about it!
Çay is strong black tea drunk from small cups shaped like an hourglass, usually served on a plastic and flower-patterned table cloth, at kindergarten-sized tables. It is a way to break ice, raise spirit, get better, kill some time or simply enjoy in the company of a cigarette, absolutely. Something like our beer.
Man, it was a heck of a party! I downed seven cups of tea!
A cup should cost you 1 TL – around 30 cents, any other price means that you’re getting close to a tourist attraction. An observation – if someone with a huge backpack approaches the table and sits down heavily wiping the sweat off their forehead, the çay usually turns out to be for free.