Bloom gets much of his conception of the Middle East from romantic novels and Christmas pantomimes like Turko the Terrible, and he acknowledges that the real thing is "Probably not a bit like it really," but many of the details of his reverie in Calypso would seem familiar to a native of the region. Cold nonalcoholic drinks with fruit and herbal flavors are indeed sold as "sherbet" in Turkey, Iran, and Arab countries, as well as some lands farther east.

John Hunt 2017

Two Iranian sharbats, photographed byدانقولا in 2010. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

A Turkish serbetci, or street seller of serbet, photographed by Antidiskriminator in 2012. Source: Wikimedia Commons.