Ailsa’s travel theme this week was “tradition”.
Turks on the Bodrum peninsula celebrate the beginning of the new year with camel wrestling in Yalikavak, Turgutreis and Yahshi. The camels are brought in by the truckload from far and wide. A female camel on heat is paraded around the ring to get the male beasts’ testorone up and running. 2 camels wrestle each other at a time and the winner is the camel which manages to get its opponent to kneel on the ground. Beasts that have successfully cowed a number of opponents in past contests are hugely valuable. A day out to watch the camel wrestling is a day out for all the family and they come in their droves, equipped with picnic tables and chairs, food and drink (with particular emphasis on the national aniseed-flavoured drink raki). Souvenir headscarves in honour of some of the contestants are on sale, as is spicy camel sausage. Music in the form of cacaphonous drum-beating and pipe-blowing is provided by wandering groups of musicians. It’s also the occasion for a bit of betting on the side. All in all it’s a great day out.