The office is closed for four days for Seker Bayrami (sweets festival, otherwise known as Ramazan Bayrami, the end of Ramadan festival or Eid al-Fitr) and I will endeavour to catch up with the blog-posting.
I’m looking forward to a new photography play thing. Soon I will be able to shoot and post photos again. I will reveal all once I have it in my hands…
As I mentioned in my previous post, I was in Istanbul the weekend before last for an education-abroad seminar and fair. On the Friday afternoon, prior to taking the bus to Istanbul, a fierce storm hit Mersin, knocking down a tree next to work. If I had a camera, I would’ve posted a photo of the damage!
I looked forward to catching the Koksallar Seyahat bus for the overnight journey to Istanbul (45 YTL). In previous years I used to take inter-city buses very often, generally more than once a month. Prior to this trip, my last long-distance bus journey was returning from Antalya back in January and I was missing the Turkish long-distance bus experience. Cheap air tickets and less domestic travel have taken their toll on my bus ventures.
The new Mercedes bus faced traffic jams on the freeway through the Cilician Gates towards Pozanti. For 15 minutes hundreds of trucks and the odd bus and car on the three-laned highway moved very slowly. We passed a few accidents (probably coinciding with the storm), including a totally wrecked vehicle-I feared for the occupants.
Koksallar catered for both fasting and non-fasting passengers. Whilst still daylight we were offered drinks. However, as the sun set, and the time for iftar (fast-breaking meal) came, we stopped at Pozanti for a meal break, as opposed to the usual stopping place of Aksaray, a few hours down the road.
The journey to Istanbul took longer than expected and once free service bus from Esenler (‘Buyuk Otogar’ or main bus station) had reached Taksim it was time to find Ajda’s place in Beyoglu, get changed and make my way to the Hilton for a US visa seminar and then an education-abroad fair.
I was exhausted by the time I was finished by the fair and then buying my return Mersin bus ticket. Unfortunately, Ajda was on the Istanbul’s Asian side and no-one else was at home so I had to wait for more than an hour to get ‘home’ for a rest.
Saturday evening I saw Galatasaray take on Ankaragucu in my first ever Turkish professional soccer game. I will write a separate report on this match.
Waking up Sunday morning I was sick with a cold, despite drinking a litre of orange juice the previous day. My throat was sore in Mersin for 3 or 4 days prior to the trip and I was hoping I could stave off the cold.
On Sunday I vegged out and did little but rest. I wanted to play basketball with Ajda and Emre but I was too ill and stayed inside instead, only venturing onto heaving Istiklal Caddesi once to have a walk and get something to eat.
That evening I caught the bus back to Mersin. Being sick with a cold on a long overnight journey was not fun, as one can imagine.
I enjoyed catching up with Ajda and seeing the soccer game. However, like almost all of my previous visits to Istanbul, I was not in town long enough to get a good feel for the place. This will change in 2007…