OIS Ankara Turkey
Oasis International School
Director Campbell reading to a student
Earlier on the blog, I shared an iMovie about my fall work trip to Anakara so if you missed that and would like to see some photos to music about that wonderful trip please type OIS Ankara Turkey in the search box. It’s in the video section:
Today I wanted to share a few more pictures about that trip and about leaving Ankara for Istanbul, around a 7 hour bus trip. (Above are OIS school photos!)
Getting to Istanbul was a full adventure for sure! Along the journey out of Ankara, somewhere in the rural Turkish turf, we had a bus stop break. However, not knowing the language, I had no idea how long break time was, so I ran to the restroom and parked myself back in front of the bus. Now I know, I had an hour, could have had lunch, lolligagged about Turkish shops and even taken advantage of their outdoor electronic looking soothie vibrater recliners (below). But, I did not want to miss that ride to Istanbul. Because if you miss the ride out of “who knows where,” then you could wind up “where no one knows who, especially you” and it would take more than a bandy of angels to get you out…been there, done that. Word in the puffy whites is that there are no more angels available for any of my future Kabul trips, because it took a slew of them the last two times. I do realize that here are other things going on in the world. After the last trip, three sky white-trippers had nervous breakdowns, a dozen retired…at twenty years young, and the rest were knocking themselves out of my queue for the upcoming Ankara trip. Those angels probably just needed the pit stop auto recliners.
Rest break recliners
Now out of Ankara, it was a full fledged sleek-slick Mercedez Benz bus package, complete with a tailored host who came with the push of a button. At one’s beck and buzz, the steward handed out water and juice and then helped those who were throwing up, water and juice. After the many, many rural hours of nobby goats, a few sheep, and a lot of dust, we arrived at the metropolis of Istanbul. We proceeded to ride around it, about two hours, dropping people off. At this point, I began to wonder, “Now exactly where do I get off?” Most of the bus stops were fine, one even had Big Macs, (I refrained) but when we got to one in the borderline slums, they decided for me, where I was to get off. Hello world!
Full drama insert here with hand gestures reading, “YOU get off this bus NOW!” Ok, ok, and luggage lay dumped on the side of the bus. There were many Turkish excited voices yelling about things, tons of people and no English on board this displacement arena, except, “Airport! Airport! Airport!” and “Transfer!” Somehow this was not in the fine lines of this travel agreement…or then again,maybe it was. They are yelling for me to get on a dilapidated small city bus, yes, for the “transfer -airport!” Of course that is nowhere near where I need to go (at this time) but I don’t know where I am in relation to the hotel. I would have jumped in a cab but I could have been $200.00 US dollars away from the hotel and was not too keen on taking that chance.
Now enters the grace of having friend Harold’s maps in my hand and I thought, well, if I can get to the airport then I can metro (subway) out of there (reminder: huge bag and carry on plus purse, stuffed now in this little city bus). This leg is minus the push button host that brings water or juice. And if you throw up, I don’t think anyone really cares. Oh, yeah, the fun is on and I know I’m going way out of the way to try and get to a known spot: airport. Bystanders are esctatic to have successfully thrown me onto a bus to the airport and off I went. For them, mission accomplished and rumblings of the Halleluh chorus jumbled over the bus’ exhaust. For me: the drama is on! Sometime later, I arrive…at the airport.
looking into Istanbul
It was indeed a wonderful thing. You’ve seen the movie, “Airport?” Well, I felt in the makings of “Busport.” I just knew that I was going to have to find a way to pitch a tent, in a bus, and just live there, riding around Istanbul the rest of life… I’m sure that Tom Hanks had some coffee in between scenes…. Oh well…
zinnias from the floral market in Ankara
Now I needed to get back into the old town of Istanbul where the hotel was. Meanwhile at the airport, a stewardess on the run sent me to a parking garage, said it was the Metro, and then after arriving, a man sent me out, said it was the parking garage. Some while later, still dragging luggage around the airport, a man sent me back to where the stewardess had sent me and I boarded the metro. Are you confused? Well, just a tad. After a while, the little Turkish token man helped me study my map and try and figure out where I was going, Insert with southern slang: “Mercy Miss Agnes!”
Thankfully and some while later, on the Metro, I met three teen Turkish girls who were going, sort of my way.
One was quite good with English, and all wanted to practice English so blessings, the ninth hour of travel was off to a good start. Then, after some English chatting and smiling, they left and told me to “Transfer” train lines. Oh, I don’t like that word. This means fresh and mysterious confusion, every time. I must start over with buying a token, pushing buttons on the machine that is Turkish. It was a guessing game, until, a college person came to my rescue. He managed to retrieve a token and asked me where I was going and then said, “You did not need to transfer; get back on the same line; you do not need a new token.” Wonderful, well I needed another little diversion after this 10 hours travel so far, always can use a stretch break, and a worthless (to me) colored token. Now to get right back on the same train line.
Eventually, I arrived at the station closest to my hotel and planned to get a cab from there. But, I can’t get the luggage through the turn stile. Thankfully, in time and creativity, they do have ways of working things out. I did not have to spend the night at the unexitable exit gate: good news.
Upon exit, a more than energetic taxi driver races to greet me as if I am the long, lost cousin, (right about the first part) and is falling all over himself to help me. I know I’m only about three miles from the hotel (map is helpful) and can somewhat gage price fares in Lira. “Overcharge” is rolling in all caps, spinning his eyes like strobe lights at a high school party. At this point, it is the principle of the matter. I’ve just been on a forever bus trip through Biblical terrain that would make you want to hug Paul and buy him new sandals, an eternal city bus trek, a Metro experience, we’ll say, and I have been all about being frugal. No one is going to burst my bubble now.
“The hotel is VERY close,” I said to him.
“Lots- traffic!” he waves wildly like a cornered bird.
“I’ll walk.” I said.
“Busy time of day!” he argued.
“My luggage has wheels…”
“I’ll bargain,” he said.
… and we came to a very pleasant understanding of how much it should cost to go three miles, or so.
And off we went, to sit in traffic …about an hour…to go three miles.
He received a smile, his fare, a tip and a free token for the train…should he ever want to go three miles, quickly!
Where is Tom Hanks when you need him? Napping in the airport, I guess…