I had seen American tourists before. They are notorious for a lot of things, but when they visit Europe, one thing stands out: they see more of it in a week than most Europeans do in a lifetime. After coming back from Turkey, I realized I was becoming one of them. I had spent 9 days in the country and seen three cities and a major tourist attraction that wasn’t close to any of them. Travelling inTurkey is food for travel tales, though.
When we arrived in Antalya, a city on the Mediterranean sea, the internet guide I printed out told us to take the bus, a luxury coach-style tourist bus operated by the local government. We sat down and waited for the bus to leave. Of course, it didn’t. The driver came in and started a game of charades, making clear the bus wouldn’t leave. He pointed at the municipality bus in front of us while gently pushing us outside. That bus drove away while we were halfway through the door, so he pushed us back in our seats, got his keys and started the bus. The man was going for a bus chase through the streets of a Turkish city. I fastened my seat belt and got my camera ready. This is the stuff good stories are made of (that, or small newspaper messages telling of a tragic accident with an engaged Dutch-American couple driven off a cliff by a crazy driver in pursuit of an early day off work). The bus wouldn’t start, though, so he now pushed us in a taxi cab that drove us to our hotel.
Another story developed when we were heading to the airport. As we were more acquainted with Turkish travelling, we knew what minibus to get and we were well on our way. Nothing could stop us from catching our flight, because this minibus was driving us to the airport. It did. On the highway it slowed down a bit, pulled to the side of the road and dropped us off. We could see the airport through the very well secured fence guarding it. There was no road leading to the airport, but there was a taxi driver across the highway. He ran to us, said he’d take us to the airport and we agreed. I thought he was going to get his cab, but instead he made very clear we had to run with him. He made miss Missouri and I hold hands, which makes a lot of sense, because that’s the one thing that makes you immune for high-speed traffic on a busy highway. Don’t try that at home, kids. When we sat in his cab, the driver hadn’t lost any of his craziness. He kept looking at miss Missouri (who was in the back seat, while all the oncoming traffic was not) and started making hand movements while looking at us that can best be ignored. We made it to the airport. Turkey is a safe country, but much like any other safe country, crossing the highway is still crazy.
What’s your worst traffic story?