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    Wheels on the bus go round and round

    September 26th, 2006 by steve


    We were introduced to overnight buses in Morocco and Greece had their fare share of long rides, but I think the Turkish were born on buses. Before we leave Turkey we will have spent 120hr+ on long hauls rides. Many were overnighters that range from 8-17hr journeys. They’re not fun but it’s the best way to get around this country. After tossing your bag in the storage compartment below, hoping desperately that it’ll be there when you arrive, you’re directed up the stairs to your assigned seat. The bus quickly fills up because there is no such thing as an empty seat. Usually children sit on laps to avoid being charged an extra fare. When seats are oversold the extras are given plastic stools to crouch on in the aisles. Shortly after departing, a steward comes by and offers a beverage and a packaged snack followed by squirts of lemon disinfectant for your hands. Throughout the night you stop to drop-off or pick-up passengers at what seems like the side of the road in middle of nowhere. Just when you start dozing off the lights suddenly come to life for the hourly stops for a snack break, toilet break, smoking break, or tea break. Sometimes they’ll slow down so the steward can unceremoniously flail the plastic bag of trash out the side door. Turkey’s very 3rd world in the way they treat their rubbage. The only way we’re able to get any sleep on the overnighters is to tire ourselves out during the day then try to block out the world with earplugs and eyeshades. Even then we’re lucky to get four hours of sleep regardless of the length of the journey. At some unreasonable hour of dawn they wake you up and toss you and your bags off the bus to let you know you’ve reached your destination, leaving you to figure out the next step half asleep and aching for a chiropractor.

    -Mary

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