22nd January 2015 – Ankara, Turkey
Misery is often just like your pride. Only reversed.When it strikes, the head goes south and stays there.From lack to linguistic support to traversing long distances,It will purely be a Turkish test of time, to see how I fare.
Just when I thought I had enough trouble yesterday, today turned out to be amazing. The perfect way to start my Turkey episode. NOT!
So, at the unholy hour of 2 AM, I stepped out of the Sabiha Goekcen International airport, to find a way to get to Ankara. I had a basic idea of course. The plan was to get a Havatas bus outside the airport, which would get me to the Esenlar Otogar, the main bus terminal in Istanbul. And from there, to ask around and catch any of the long distance buses that run to Ankara at any time of the day or night.
But once I stepped outside the airport, apart from the Havatas ticketing counter, I saw another counter called Nilufer. And they had Ankara buses right from the airport! There was a minivan that would drive me all the way till the Esenlar Otogar, and from the Otogar, there was a bus to Ankara at 3 AM. I preferred to take this ‘packaged tour’, instead of navigating the Turkish language on my very first day.
I have to mention this before I proceed. Turkey is a very difficult country to travel when it comes to Language. Very rarely do people speak English, and every single sign-board, or notice board, or anything else, is in Turkish. I think I should be having a very fun month here ahead of me. Again, NOT!
But anyways, at 3 AM, I was on the bus to Ankara, and a very comfortable one at that. For the price of 45 liras, there was a butler on board (!!) who served coffee at my every whim, and entertainment options. Of course, every single movie was in Turkish. I went through a little hard earned sleep, before I reached ASTI, Ankara’s main bus terminal, by 9 AM. And the next stage of my trouble was just waiting for me.
Last night, I had picked up a Turkish vodafone number upon landing, and messaged my couchsurfing host. My host was a teenage girl who was doing her studies on English linguistics, in Ankara. While her mom stayed with her mostly, this week she was alone. And she informed me, to a little horror, that she was having some drinks with friends and hoped she wouldn’t be late to sleep. Or wake up.
Well, she was late. Both to sleep, and to wake up. Very late, as I would find out. I waited till 10 AM in ASTI to message her, as I had my laptop, and some good movies to help me pass my time. At 10 AM, no response. So back to the movies.
At 12, nothing. At 1, nothing. At 2 nothing. At a desperate 3, still nothing.
Just when I was going to book a hostel, finally at 4, she replied. Her phone had died at a friend’s house, and she was really sorry about this. She quickly gave me instructions to her place, which was about an hour away by the very complicated Ankara metro service. I will write more about that tomorrow.
I reached her home, and barely managed to take a picture of the view outside my couch, and then we both started apologising. She apologised for the delay in waking up, and keeping me waiting. I informed her that there was nothing to apologise about. I’ve been there, and done that. Yep, that too.
I apologised that I am so sorry to be rude, but I think I should definitely get some sleep now.