Saturday 25th August (Antalya to Tasucu)
Picked up from my hotel at 10am. The driver was none other than Mr 3rd Gear himself. So far on my journey, this is the closest I've been to being frightened. In places like Istanbul and Bucharest, the driving was abysmal, but the drivers were able to cope. This chap was different.
As a driving instructor, you develop a habit of watching the driver out of the corner of your eye. This chap was totally oblivious to what was going on round him. The only gear used, as said before, was third. If we stalled at traffic lights, there was an under the breath curse at the car, followed by another attempt, still in third. Red lights mean "go" unless there is danger of hitting something as you go through them, when they mean "go faster". You name it, this chap did it. Straddle white lines, turning right from a left lane, jumping lights.
The thing that finally made me decide he hadn't a clue was when he closed the hatch-back to get my suitcase. The windscreen wiper blade dropped off. He didn't know where it went (Not how to attach it, but where it actually went on the car!)
The bus company is the third one, so I have an answer to the bow tie question. It's "No". However the tie is still red. Perhaps there is some sort of convention. The bus leaves at 11.30. and it's a ten hour journey, so a day of chilling out and reading.
|The Reason For the Delay|
The countryside south of Antalya is fantastic. Lots of secluded coves, sandy beaches and castles on headlands. If you're coming here for a holiday and are not particularly interested in night life, come to this part of the coast.
I notice that on the side of the road are no end of banana sellers. I haven't seen these before, so I wonder if they only grow in the south of the country.
The road along the coast varies from flat coastal to hairpin mountain. It was on one of these that the traffic ground to a halt. As there was nothing coming the other way, as is the norm, our coach driver simply drove up the wrong side of the road. Hairpin bends remember!
We soon discovered the problem. An articulated lorry had lost it on one of the bends and had jacknifed across the road. As he was wedged against a tree, he obviously wasn't going anywhere for a long time. After about a half hour, our coach driver decided to do a three point turn and retrace our tracks to the small town we had passed 30 minutes before. From here we took the "minor" road across the mountains. Words are difficult to describe this, but can you imagine a mountain road that you would be wary of taking a Ford Fiesta. Now take a 60 seat coach.
|The Driver Has Some Explaining to Do|
We were obviously doing something different, as old men were grabbing their grand children and rushing from their houses to point at us, and dogs were seeing off this intruder into their quiet life. But the dogs barked and the caravan moved on.
The fact that the driver had to stop several times and ask for directions did not inspire a lot of confidence, and if we had met another coach with the same idea coming in the opposite direction we'd have been totally stymied. However we eventually got back to our original route about 10K from Tasucu, where we arrived about 3 hours late.
Now getting me on to the coach at Antalya for my hotel at Tasucu represented the end of Cenk's involvement with me, but I wasn't particularly worried as I knew there would be taxis at the bus station.
Bus station. What bus station? It was a stop at the side of the road, if not in the middle of nowhere, at least on the outskirts of town. I asked the coach staff where I could get a taxi, and they waved in the general direction of over his shoulder.
While I was looking around for a taxi, and obviously looking lost, a chap in a parked car asked what I was looking for. I showed him the address of my hotel, and in limited English/simple Turkish he indicated it was about 5Km up the road and I should get into his car and he would take me there.
Decision time, but he seemed honest enough, so with a certain amount of trepidation I climbed in. The journey took a little longer than expected, but along the way I saw some of the landmarks I had been told to look out for when I had spoken to the hotel earlier.
As we got closer, it became obvious that the driver didn't know the exact location of the hotel, so at a set of traffic lights he asked the person in the car beside us where it was. This person was obviously a total stranger to him, but nonetheless the immediate reaction was "follow me". At the hotel, neither driver would take payment for their time or petrol.