Sunday, July 25, 2010

Post-Vacation Unwinding

Despite all of the hardships I faced on this vacation, I finally made it back to Istanbul. To fill in some empty holes, the hostel owner, Tuna, sent me to his friend that works at the otogar named Ozmen. Ozmen said he would help me find a ticket back to Istanbul for Saturday night, whether it was direct or a connection. This was at 9:30 am. He thought there would be an opening for a bus at 2 pm, and he was going to call me at 1 pm to confirm. So at 9:31 I dashed to Oludeniz to get my share of beach in before coming back. The mini-bus drivers in Fethiye are ungodly slow. It took 45 min to go 10 km. I planned accordingly to get back to the hostel with enough time to grab my bags and a quick change of clothes and make it to the otogar for the 2 o'clock bus. On the way in from Oludeniz I stopped at the otogar, it was on the way, to see if anything had come through. It hadn't. I went back to the hostel, which is when I posted yesterday.

I waited for a long time (close to 2 hrs), but he never called. I discussed the situation at hand with some of my friends, and everyone came to the same conclusion: go to the otogar and sort out the troubles myself. I packed up my bags and off I went. When I got to the otogar I ran into Ozmen almost immediately. He says to me, "didn't you get my message? You're leaving at 9 pm tonight with Efe Tur". Nope, I didn't. I went back to the beach for the remaining hours of my stay in Fethiye. On my return to the otogar, I stopped at the grocery store and bought a sandwich to eat on the bus; I hadn't eaten dinner yet. I got on the bus, found my seat, and began to eat. 3 ladies boarded the bus shortly after and looked at the row I was sitting in. I can understand enough Turkish to understand that they were obviously talking about me. When I was done with my sandwich they suggested that I put my backpack underneath. I would've originally done so, but my bag ripped and now has an enormous hole on the front. I didn't want anything to get damaged or fall out. These ladies were being pushy, and so I gave in. I came back and the one woman was in my seat that I was sitting in. I realized that they just wanted me to move because I was in the wrong seat to begin with. They could've just said that in the first place rather than making a big deal out of my foreignness.

Luckily the bus left right on time, and I was on my way back home! Sadly, it was a long bus ride. I didn't sleep much, and the woman next to me kept touching me. Ugh. I hate that. There was also no legroom whatsoever, and it didn't help when the man in front of me leaned his chair back making my trip even more uncomfortable. We made it to Istanbul in 11.5 hrs or so, which is pretty good. I was waiting for the service bus, and I thought to myself, "It's really sunny. I should put on my sunglasses". I reached into my bag for them, and they were GONE. They must have fallen out on the bus or somewhere in transit. To make matters worse, I needed a service to Umraniye which took 25 min of waiting and at least 2 angry customers waiting for the same bus. A bus eventually came for us and took us to Umraniye, the neighboring neighborhood to where my dorm is located. The drivers turned and asked where I needed to go after driving for 10 min. I said that I needed to go be close to Kisikli, another neighborhood. They, in response, said that this was the last stop so I'd have to figure it out on my own. Great. I had no idea where I was, and I couldn't see anything because it was so bright and my sunglasses (RIP) were nowhere to be found. I called my friend, and while we were talking I saw a minibus. He told me a street name to repeat to the driver, and we were off. We only drove approx 1min before I knew where we were. There is a short tunnel-bridge thing by my dorm, and I was only on the other side. Yes, I have walked through the tunnel, but I have never walked that far down the street or through that side of the tunnel (different traffic directions go different ways). In the end I really didn't even need to take the minibus.

I made it back home! Never have I been so excited to be back at Ozyegin University dorms. I immediately took a shower - I came straight from the beach to the bus...kind of gross but whatever. I am now sitting in one of the air conditioned rooms at the university recovering from my holiday, sulking about my sunglasses, and looking on the bright-side of life.

Lessons Learned from Selcuk-Fethiye Excursion:
-Traveling alone safely is possible
-Having a miserable vacation is never fun, and it sucks worse when you're alone
-Sightseeing is better when you have a friend to remember it with
-I'm really going to miss this place in about 4 weeks

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