Saturday, September 08, 2007

The joys of travel 

So, it seems the time came for us to pay the bill on all the luck and karma we have used up by traveling sans plans. Two nıghts ago we walked down to the bus depot to catch our 6:45pm bus from Goreme to Antakya. After standing around for an hour or so, the guy running the office of the bus company through whom we got our tickets came out and asked to see the tickets. He took them inside and came back out after 15 minutes or so to tell us, sorry, the bus had been cancelled. But they would give us a hostel room for the night for free and we could take the morning bus the next day. Discussions ensued, and we tried all we could to get on a bus out that night, to almost anywhere, so as to not lose all of the next day to travel. We tried all the bus companies in the row and tried to get tickets to almost any town east of here, but all buses were full. We were told.

As I ran between bus offices for about 30 minutes negotiating first with one company then another and another with occasional jaunts back to the original company to complain, our "cancelled" bus showed up, loaded on a bunch of people and took off. Huh? The guy who told us the bus was cancelled made some lame excuse that only "worked" because our turkish is worse than his english, and then wandered away midsentence. During all this Steph had to stand on the sidelines watching and shouting encouragement because no one would discuss with her due to her femality. Another dimension to the frustration.

Finally, we made arrangements to head out the next morning with a different company, through a guy who had been calling around for us for almost 30 minutes and who had also served as the original interpreter between us and the first company and claimed to be the brother of the girl in the office that screwed us. When I went back in to the original place to ask about our free hostel, they had the gall to laugh at me and mock me for asking for a free hostel after getting tix with a different company. With diminishing patience (read: none left) I explained that we were only in town because of them and that we didn't trust them to get us out of town, and that they had lied to us. Oddly, that didn't work. Curses were laid down on both sides, neither side knowing what was being said butting understanding the gist. Finally I left and we got a hostel through the guy that sold us our new bus tix. Amazing. But I guess our luck had to run out at some point, eh?

The next morning we showed up for our bus, which arrived on time. Unfortunately, we were told that it was full and that we'd have to wait for the next bus. A warm glow did not fill our bellies. 20 minutes later they put us on a shuttle bus that took us the next town over to a bus waiting there. Ok, fine, no problem so far. We had seats and off we went. A transfer was needed part way there, at which we got on a new bus run by a different company. Representatives from the origianl and new companies discussed and I think we were given seats that did not exist because for the first time, the bus had more people on it than seats. But it worked. The final cut we took was at the otogar (bus stop) in Antakya. Instead of going to the one in town, the bus stopped at the one outside of town on the highway. If we'd had tickets with the bus company that took us that final leg, we would have had a free shuttle into town. Since we didn't, a dolmuş (van, essentially) was needed. Ah well. We found a hotel, checked in and got to relaxing.

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Name: Corey
Location: Portland, Oregon, United States

I'm on a journey with no destination. The path is constantly changing direction but there are always adventures to be had. "Never" and "always" have left my lexicon.

WWW http:/www.jimspeak.blogspot.com