10th June 2008
Kristina’s Highway to Hell Tour – Day 2
Today I got up for our 8am departure and went and had breakfast downstairs at Yellow Rose with my passengers. We actually managed to leave a little bit early which was great as I had a lot of hotel pickups. I picked up everyone including Captain Ali by 8:30am. Go me! Captain Ali told the story of Paris and Helen on the way to Troy, which kind of disappointed me as I like to tell that one on the way.
We got to Troy, and I paid for everyone to get in out of my expenses. We went into the site and Captain Ali said, “Today you are lucky enough to have two guides to Troy, you have me and your tour leader, today we will do the tour together”, What the hell is going on here I thought, someone has told him I have a degree in Ancient History! I’d deliberately been keeping this quiet not wanting to step on Fez’s favourite guides toes. “If you have an easy question, you will ask it to me,” says Captain Ali, “But if you have a difficult question, you will ask it to your loveliest tour leader”. My reaction was between, oh hell what have I gotten myself into, and being really excited about it. This was my fourth trip to Troy after all. We walked around the site, and I did actually get a few hard questions directed at me through Captain Ali, but all of which I actually managed to give really intelligent sounding answers. I was impressed and so was Captain Ali, who linked arms with me and said “Today I am a feminist” which I took to mean, that I have his respect.
We left the site and went to the pit stop and I said goodbye to two of my passengers who were going back to Istanbul. I’d lost a few the day before and I now had 19 people to take to Kusadasi. A very nice young lady named Alicia, was sitting up the front with me chatting to me so that made the day go a little easier. I managed to find the right BP Petrol station to pick the Pergamon guide up, but not before our driver had ushered us all out of the bus at a random petrol station and driven away. I had to call the office about that one….”Yeah Nic, funny story…..” was how that phone call started. I basically knew what he’d done, the petrol station didn’t end up having the right kind of petrol for the bus, so rather than get us all back on the bus, he’d just driven down the road and come back. Language barrier problem again.
We got to Bergama and had lunch and then went off to Pergamon. I let the guide Naray take the passengers around and sat the tour out, I had to make a few phone calls. I also went and sat in Osmond’s shop, because he gives me a much-needed massage whenever I’m in Pergamon. Assim, one of the crazy divers from the training trip was also in Osmond’s shop, so I had a bit of a laugh with him too. After the tour, we took the passengers briefly to an Onyx shop, which I ended rather abruptly, when two busloads of crazy Greeks showed up. I said goodbye to Naray and prepared myself for the most stressful part of the day, navigating through Turkey’s 3rd biggest city, Izmir, whose very name makes me cringe.
I spent all day stressing about it and I only made one wrong turn, which I realised straight away. I was really impressed with myself, me the same girl who ended up in Paddington while trying to get to Museum Station from Kings Cross, navigated a tour bus through one of the biggest and certainly one of the most confusing cities in Turkey.
. I saw the signs for Selcuk and high fived Alicia and actually got a clap from the rest of the bus. I managed to find Jimmy’s Place and dropped some people off there and got Jimmy to direct me to the next hotel as I hadn’t been given any directions. We then set off for one of my favourite places in the entire world. Kusadasi, where I will have 2 days off!
We got there and I had to ask everyone where they were staying. I managed to find the first hotel with no dramas, but after that Orhan, my driver, who was excellent by the way, had to keep getting off and asking for directions. He asked for the Grand Onder at the taxi stand and there were two old guys sitting next to each other. One pointed left, the other right, it was like something out of Monty Python and me and Orhan looked at each other and cracked up. We eventually got everyone to their hotels and me and the Hop on Hop crew set off for Kusadasi Inn. Orhan took a wrong turn deliberately, to make me laugh, “Kusadasi Inn Sa!” (Right) I yelled. The turn was the turn right before the hotel. I got my passengers settled and met up with Ally who was leaving the next day. I had dinner with Alicia, Ally and Selime, another one of my passengers, he was from Chile. We all had an early night so I could get up and make sure all my passengers got on their Ephesus Tours tomorrow.