5th June 2008
Today, I took my first Fez bus out of Istanbul. We left at 7am although I had to get up at 530am. We drove for about three hours to our petrol stop in Tekırdag and then a further two hours onto Eceabat to pick up the famous Captain Alı (The guide we use) and then the group went onto Gallipoli.
We have been buddied up on our first trip around, which is kind of nice as one of us always seems to forget something. Like ‘Fısch Lutfen’ (receipt please) when paying to cross the Dardanelles this afternoon, or to give Captain Ali 30 Lira for the boat crossing with the bus. I have been paired up with Rosie, who to my absolute gratitude has done all the talking today. I’m still not feeling 100%, after almost a week of being struck down by what I think was an allergic reaction to a goat kebab. I’ve spent the last week in bed, the first 3-days of that basically unconscious. If you’re ever in Istanbul, beware the 1 lira beef kebab, is not beef! You can’t buy beef for 1 lira and apparently allergic reactions to goat (which resemble severe food poisoning) aren’t all that uncommon.
Despite the fact that I was still pretty sick, it didn’t stop our ‘peach’ (bastard) driver from dobbing me into my boss to tell her I’d done nothing all day. Apparently, the company pays the drives to ‘tattle’ on the tour leaders. Being sick isn’t an excuse either, as I was told on the call I received – if I had been on my own that would have been fair however I thought it was a bit much especially considering what they pay us.
Tomorrow, I will be doing all the talking. Day two on the road is actually the day with all the ancient sites, so at least that will be easy for me. I probably could have talked about the day two sites while unconscious in the staff flat in Istanbul.
We arrived in Canakkale and spent most of the afternoon organising an itinerary for some of the guests which was quite fun. We then took some of the group out for dinner to this great place right on the water. It was 37 Lıra for all five of us! You can’t beat that, and the guests were most impressed. We sat right on the waterfront and watched the sunset over the Dardanelles.
We walked back to Yellow Rose, where we are all staying and on the way home, we stopped for a traditional Turkish desert, which is kind of like unbaked cookie dough in honey. Another early start tomorrow, before two days off in Kusadasi where I hope I can recover the remainder of my strength.