Thursday, September 9, 2010

Bayram Bus Adventures

Today is the first real day of Bayram here in Turkey. It's the holiday that celebrates the end of Ramazan here and it's a time for feasting, seeing family and generally having a good time. While I am a little on the impoverished side of things, I did want to get out into the city a little and my good friend Christina invited me over for breakfast/brunch or whatever you want to call it. I decided that after being here since the middle of August, it was high time that I gained some independence (Christina did offer to come all the way out to my place and escort me on the buses so I wouldn't get lost) and made my own way out there. She lives in an area called Umitkoy (there are two dots over the u and the o in Turkish) and it's not that far from me. I just have to transfer buses once ad it seemed straightforward and easy. Take the free university bus to Cepa mall, cross the street and then take the 163 to her area. Got it... no problems. I even have a little ride pass card called an EGO with 4 rides left on me (thanks for the free rides, BLIS!!). So with confidence, I stepped out of my house, down the street, across the busy road to the bus stop. Like cake... easy. I waited for the bus but the 111 city bus came first and I knew it went to Cepa mall too, so I thought I'd hop on that. I hop on, pull out my handy little card and the driver looks at me and says, "Hayir! (this means NO!)" I stop and think it must be one of the cash only buses and I have to cash so I tell him "Tamam (which means okay)" and try to get off. This sparks more shouting from the driver and complete confusion from me. I tell him that I don't speak Turkish yet and that I'll just wait for the university bus. I step off the bus and suddenly another passenger is off with me, telling me to get on the bus, "today no card, me no card, you no card" I guess if I can use Turklish, so can the locals. So I get back on the bus, completely confused when the Turklish speaking man tells me that because of the bayram holiday all city buses are free for the next 4 days! HOW SWEET IS THAT?!?!?! So, thanks Ankara for being a really great city with free buses for the holidays, thanks BLIS for the ride card, and thanks Turklish speaker for the great info!! Iyi Bayramlar (Happy Bayram)!!!

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