Politics, religion, and culture where East meets West

Death warmed up

with 2 comments

Dangerously refreshing (thehealthblog.net)

“Wait,” said İpek, as the stranger handed my water bottle back to me, “it might make you sick.”

To an outsider, this may have seemed an odd situation. My bottle had just been taken by a concerned stranger at the park, who proceeded to pour my water into his half-full bottle, and back into mine. He repeated the process several times before handing it back to me. I wasn’t quite sure what to say.

In Turkey, though, this is an act of kindness. Though I was quite pleased with the icy, refreshing temperature of my water, the Turks generally consider an icy drink an invitation for sickness—even in 34°C weather. By mixing my cold water with his tepid water, the stranger was preserving my health.

So what my friend İpek meant, of course, was to warn me that my water was still too cold to safely drink—not that the unknown contents of a stranger’s water bottle might be hazardous to my health. My chance of illness would, in fact, decrease as a function of however many strangers I mixed water with.

For fear of further kindness, I have stopped imbibing icy drinks in public places.


Written by M. James

July 8, 2012 at 8:49 am

Posted in Culture, Turkey

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2 Responses

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  1. Noticed this in some of continental Europe as well. Not the mixing water thing, just the fear of cold water. This is a bit weirder, though.


    July 8, 2012 at 8:53 am

  2. Yeah, it seems pretty pervasive (the ice-cold water thing). I’ve heard the same from folks in China and Peru.

    But yes, it’s the mixing-of-the-water that really got me.

    M. James

    July 8, 2012 at 8:58 am

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