Thursday, August 14, 2008

Bus Trip and Day One in Bodrum

On Tuesday of last week, Mert and Canan convinced me to go stay with them in Bodrum even though I wasn't getting better. I reluctantly agreed, knowing that I would be seeing the doctor only a few hours before leaving. Fortunately, everything turned out alright though. The best way to get to Bodrum is a 12 hour bus ride. The buses here are different that Greyhound which are normally old and cramped. Here they use charter style buses, and the experience is more like one you would have on an airplane. On every bus there is a driver and a steward. The steward comes around, just like an airline steward, and bring water, drinks, and snacks. You can even get ice cream if you want. The bus terminal becomes crowed around the top and bottom of every hour, as the buses leave every thirty minutes. You can see families waving good bye as the buses back out of their spots and depart. It's a scene that's missing in airports these days.

I was able to sleep for most of the 12 hour ride. That is, after I finished writing an abstract that was due that Monday. The seats are pretty comfy but still aren't great for sleeping. With my weight loss, the padding on my butt has gone away making it harder to sit for longer time spans. Having left at 9:30pm, we made stops at 1am and 3am. These stops are at places that resemble truck stops in the US. There is always a cafe and a few stores. Most of the time, there is a candy shop with lots of yummy stuff to buy.

I arrived at the Bodrum Otogar (bus station) at around 8am. Canan and Mert couldn't come pick me up for atleast an hour, so I got some Cay and sat down to proof my abstract. They arrived by dolmus about an hour later, and we headed down to the water after putting my bag in let luggage. Bodrum is a small town of around 30K during the winter but explodes to a population of close to a million during the winter. There are several developments of summer houses strewn on top of many of the hills overlooking the bays near the town. It is a resort town that is popular with Turks and Russians. Everyone there speaks English which made everything easier. Near the water is a marketplace with probably close to a hundred shops. Each is selling some sort of knock-off clothing, bags, or accessories or jewelry. The one trick to shopping here though is looking like a local, or atleast a Turk. If you let on that you're a tourist the price instantly goes up. When we bought me a swimsuit, Canan had me say nothing until they gave us a price. :) I even added a good "Evet" or Yes for good effect when she asked if I liked it.

There is one shop that is very much worth seeing. There is a bakery that has been located there with 1876 and is very famous. They had all sorts of breads and desserts. We ended up buying a birthday cake for Canan there the next day. Because of the giardia, I could only eat bread, so we got some simit(pronounced see-meet), which is the ring shaped bread covered in sesame seeds that I used to have for breakfast when I first got here. They got some other breads for breakfast, and we headed back to the otogar.

We got back to Mert's house, and everyone started making breakfast. It included cheese, sausage from the night before, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, and bread. This is the typical Turkish breakfast. A lot of times they also have hard boiled eggs as well. We out everything out on the porch table to eat our breakfast with an view...

Amazing?!? Yes, that's what I thought too. After breakfast, I got settled and changed into my new swim suit to head down to the beach. We headed down to the beach to swim around and sunbathe. The other Canan joined us after a while, and then we went to the small cafe located on the beach for some sodas and for Canan and Mert to play backgammon. As Football is the national sport, backgammon is the national game of Turkey. You can find people everywhere playing it over cay. We lounged around for about an hour, and then Canan wanted to head back into the water while the other one had to rejoin her family for a volleyball game on another beach.

Getting tired, I returned to the house to work on my abstract a little more. Needing to hook up to the internet, Canan, Mert and I headed down to another beach's cafe which was supposed to have internet. Unfortunately, their connection was down along with the rest of Bodrum for the weekend. I should have followed the first unwritten rule of the IREE program, always let your advisor know where you are at all times. When I got back on Monday, I had 6 emails from Valeria wondering where I was. Unknown to me, Yoshino had left for Capadoccia the day after I left, so she didn't have internet to tell Valeria where I was either. I had assumed I could get an internet connection in Bodrum, so I hadn't worried about it, but I will in the future.

We returned back to the house to make dinner. Well, we started snacking, and I ate some peanuts coated in sesame seeds that I had bought earlier in the day. I had got them in anticipation of feeling better, but since I had been feeling fine all day I decided to give them a try. I ended up eating half the bag, which was mistake number one... Mistake number two was thinking that since I was in charge of making the deep fried french fries, that I should taste them as well. Well, this just ended up making me camp out in the bathroom for 20 minutes. A word of the wise, don't over do it while you have giardia. Exhausted, I turned in for the night shortly after. I fell asleep listening to the waves. It was an amazing day...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi Bryan,

this is Valeria (I did not want to sign up with Google). Well, Yoshino did not tell me either that she was going to Cappadocia. I hope you both are not afraid of telling me that you are taking time off, we agreed that you would and should!
Glad you had a good time and could wind down (even if you should have avoided those fries). The pictures are gorgeous, and the abstract came out very well too!;-).