August 5, 2014

Why one shouldn't blog while on the bus...

I'd like to begin this post with a few observations about the Turkish bus transport system.

The Turkish Otogar (bus terminal) is distinctly foreign. In the US, I don't really do bus travel, so I don't have a point of comparison, but I won't let that stop me from passing a few judgments. The foreignness comes from what appears to be a complete chaos of people, luggage, busses, mini busses, ticket counters, food stands, pay bathrooms, beggars, and inescapable buzz of noise. There must be a system, as people get where they're going, though I don't know what it is.

On our Servis minibus, the free shuttle to the Otogar, I noticed something distinctly Turkish. The passenger call button common to airplanes, had merely a cup of tea as the symbol on the red button. As Turkish tea, Çay, is omnipresent here in Turkey, I read this button as "Help! Çay emergency in seat 30! Bring some Çay ASAP!" In my world, this is a hilarious joke. I realize that readers may not have the same experience.

Another observation that I made to Alan this morning was that our previous bus ride to İzmir had set the bar so incredibly low, that this trip would have a hard time being worse. I know that these are famous last words for jinxing oneself to a hellish trip, yet, you'll remember that Alan and I barely survived a 15 hour redeye bus ride from Kayseri to İzmir with food poisoning. So far, our extra 5 lira for the "comfort" bus is TOTALLY worth it. The bus is not only well air conditioned, but the seats literally have nearly a foot of extra leg room. For my femur bones, this extra space makes a huge difference in my experience, as I ...

So, I'm opting to keep this partial entry authentic, as I was typing it on the bus, just after we left the Otogar. Let's just say that winding roads at high speeds, a nearly empty stomach, and typing while moving were a bad combination for me and my queasiness. I was super nauseated for about two hours until Alan and I were able to grab some food, a couple of gözleme (fried-ish lavash bread with meat or cheese filling), at a rest stop. The rest of the *10-hour* (how do these things get so long?) bus journey wasn't that interesting, except for the part where our bus drove onto a ferry boat and cruised across the harbour to İstanbul--the biggest city ever.