Friday, November 07, 2008

Turkey: Day 3

Around 11:30am the three of us, Tom, Kent and I headed out of town to Istanbul's main bus station. We didn't have good directions but, with only a little heartburn, we managed to find it.

Where were we going? Gallipoli. Or near there. Gallipoli is the peninsula. When you want to take a tour of this area, you either stay in Canakkale or Escabat. In the hostel neighborhood, heaps of little travel agencies were selling package tours that included bus, one or two nights accommodation and a guided tour. We decided to piece our own trip together and hopefully save a little money. (In the end, our self-constructed tour was a little cheaper than the package.)

We were disappointed to find the bus fare was more than double what we expected (about 20 euros--a little less than $30), but we were committed. We bought the tickets, got some sandwiches and left on the 12:30 bus.

The ride was over six hours but to compensate, we had a steward who brought us water, coffee (or tea) and pretzels.

We got off the bus in Escabat, checked into a cheap hostel and also signed up for their tour. We were tired and hungry and went looking for a meal. Tom had actually already done the tour, so we went to a restaurant he recommended. Dinner was fine but some unintended hilarity ensued when Tom advised Kent to eat the green bean like peppers garnishing his plate (we all had one or two). "Go on. I ate mine. It wasn't so hot."

Kent took a big bite of the pepper. He started to sweat.

I said, "Was it hot?"

He just nodded. Tom said, "It can't be that bad. Let me try." He munch on Kent's second pepper. He looked like he would explode. I started laughing.

Kent said to me, "Here, you take a little bite. So you can see..."

I said, "I don't think so!"

I took about ten minutes and a lot of sweating for the two of them to get back to normal. They didn't try any more peppers.

Back at the hostel, we tried to watch a movie. The "Gallipoli" movie, in fact. The hostel had about six copies, yet not a single one played more than the opening titles and the first scene. In fact, the only movie we could get to work was a copy of "Troy" dubbed into Turkish. A couple of Aussie tourists, a mother and daughter, were also staying in the hostel and they stopped by to chat with us--and ended up watching "Troy." Kent, who had seen the movie once or twice already, did a very accurate (and amusing) on-the-spot translation.

Everyone was drinking beer, but I got to work on a small bottle of ouzo (already half drunk) that I'd picked up in Greece. I'm not sure how it happened, but I got a little drunk and missed the bulk of the translated Troy. I slept well that night.

Grateful for: drinking buddies.

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