23 August 2014


Lets start with what we know. Traveling in Turkey is hard. Next to India, it's the most "difficult" place to sojourn I have perhaps ever been. Istanbul, however, is like a city state - this isolated, quite different place from anywhere else in the country. Think London to England.

The real challenge in Istanbul is the volume of humans, as everyone sea to have also figured out just how awesome the city is. After all, it has been at the center of a major empire for most of the last several thousand years and today straddles the Bosphorus, sitting half in Europe and half in Asia.

From the Hagia Sofia (which was a church then a mosque then a church then a mosque then a museum to the Grand Bizarre, ancient underground Roman cisterns to a near new modern art museum, there are tons of must-sees and must dos, all with hours of lines that aren't really lines and droves of tourists and large tour groups. If not done well, you could spend most of your time standing around. Fortunately, we killed it. No lines, no fuss and massive savings. Hence the name of this blog. You want to WIN in Istanbul be able to say "BLAMMO" at the end of every victory? Follow these top tips:

-On your first day in the city visit Topkopi Palace first thing in the morning and buy a 3-day Muze Kart. With this card you save money and get to cut almost all the lines. When you're buying it also skip past the line. There is a Muze Kart sale window past the fuss of the crowds and there seemed to be nobody who caught on to this save for us. Spend the rest of day 1 at the Grand Bizarre.

-Finish day 1 on the Bosphorus. Save money by riding the local ferry called TurYok. $2 a ride!

-Start day two PROMPTLY at 9am by visiting the underground Roman cistern, which has long lines from 10am and no Muze Kary queue jump.

-Head IMMEDIATELY to the Hagia Sofia next door. Again go right to the front and flash your Muze Kart to save time. You should be inside by 9:45 - just beating the horrifying crush of people that emerges from 10am.

-Next walk directly over to the Blue Mosque and go directly inside. External views come next.

-After running yourself rampant all morning head straight up to a rooftop cafe overlooking the Blue Mosque and take in this view over a leisurely cup of tea.

-Take the afternoon off then get yourself all gussied up and take in cocktails, dinner and dancing in Taksim, Istanbul's heart of "cool."

-If you have more time visit Istanbul Modern, the region's most impressive modern art gallery. A good guidebook can also talk you through the rest of the museums, sites and day trips beyond the absolute "must-dos."

Good luck!

-Kyle Taylor

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Location:Žrtava fašizma,,Montenegro

22 August 2014

Central Turkey is Gorgeous

So far I've focused perhaps too much on the funny and difficult bits of our time in Turkey without singing its praises. Central Turkey is spectacularly beautiful and it deserves at least one entry dedicated to that.

At the crossroads of the crusades, the Silk Road and the meeting of two continents, this dry desert fuels images of the Mojave in California and the red rock mountain ridges of Utah with dabbles of Arizona and New Mexico.

We spent time in three unique places, all with their own rich history and beauty.

Our first stop was Goreme in Cappadocia. This ancient civilization, while evolving with the modern world, has, in parts, continued to live in caves carved into the sides of its hillscape. This makes sense, considering how incredibly warm it was. We also partook, sleeping in a cave hotel that absolutely lived up to the hype.

Next it was a subterranean adventure in the underground city of Derinkuyu. As early as 3000 BC a community of more than 30,000 people had carved into the earth an underground world five stories tall as much as 210 feet deep to escape the climate and conflict above.

There were rooms for animals and sleeping, numerous churches and even a classroom for the children's schooling. It was fascinating!

Finally, we reached Pamukkale, where the temperatures soared to over 115 degrees Fahrenheit forest of the day. Thankfully, part of the experience was bathing in ancient clay baths filled by natural hot springs that cascade down the mountain in a truly otherworldly way. We definitely enjoyed ourselves.

At the top of the hillside, entirely protected by both vantage point and surrounding natural "walls" stood Heliopolis - Turkeys best preserved Roman ruins. This city was once the third largest in Rome'a empire and a global centre of art, culture and finance. To think that so much had happened in this now remote and isolated place was a reminder of how short our blip of life is in the history and story of both human civilization in particular and the planet in general.

So alas, despite the stresses of traveling here the places and experiences were absolutely worth it. Now back to Istanbul we go!

-Kyle Taylor

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Location:5. proleterske brigade,,Montenegro

21 August 2014

On A Mission To Lead By Following (The Rules)

It's no secret we've had a few run-ins with our car rental company. We had a contractual agreement. They didn't follow it. That's breaking the rules. That is somehow okay here. This just isn't okay.

Nowhere has this propensity for rule-breaking been more apparent then while driving. For example, their are lane markers to delineate where people should keep their cars - in a lane. Any lane of their choosing (as long as they're going in the right direction, which we will get to later). In Turkey we have witnessed and were later told that driving right down the middle of a two-lane highway is not only allowed bit recommended. This of course makes no sense but the practice is rampant. Blinkerless, aimless roaming from lane to lane appears to be a national pastime.

Despite this and the other driving-related activities outlined below it does have to be said that we did not witness a single car accident or the aftermath of a car accident all of our 1100 miles. I managed to contain my LA road rage until yesterday when we reached Konya and the driving reached a new level of unsafe and I decided the least we could do was honk furiously in an effort to point out that such activities were incredibly dangerous. They included:

-A guy in an eleven-passenger van turning left across three lanes of forward traffic IN THE MIDDLE OF A ROUNDABOUT with his flashers on, inches from driving directly into us.

-A guy driving backwards in the innermost lane of the freeway.

-A guy driving backwards in the outermost lane of the freeway.

-A guy driving down the median of the freeway.

-A guy knowingly turning into a one-way street going the wrong direction. This one involved me honking and directing until he backed himself up down the street from which he turned then continuing down the road in the correct direction.

This was all punctuated not in a car but on a plane. As we landed in Istanbul, five people stood up and walked right down the aisle to the front while we were still taxing at breakneck speed falling a bumpy landing in the middle of a thunderstorm. The flight attendants did nothing but I found this incredibly dangerous for them and for the rest of us. They were opening the overhead bins, moving bags, and shouting that they had a connecting flight so they just had to get off quickly.

Perhaps the lack of rules or lack of enforcement of rules in the cultural norm and that's okay as long as it doesn't involve a motor vehicle or a Boeing 737. Somehow I think that's reasonable.

-Kyle Taylor

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

18 August 2014

Whirling Dervishes!

We stopped in Konya for a Sufi experience watching the whirling dervishes, who commit their lives to their faith similar to a monk. The idea behind the spinning is getting closer to the "ecstasy of god." It was beautiful, fascinating and intense!

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Almost Stranded In The Desert

In short, this rental car is THE WORST. We're still not even sure it's a rental car because it was insinuated that it may in fact be Steve's car or Bob's car, just on loan to us for a few days. "You know, like borrowing your friend's car" is, I believe, what we were told. It has nearly 100,000 miles on it. The engine temperature dances up and down as we traverse hills or just sit idling. It stalls standing still. The fact that we've nearly driven half-way across Turkey and back is, in many way, a miracle.
Without question, our biggest near-disaster on the trip as a whole took place just after we'd turned off of a dirt track that guided us through the mountains from one valley into the next, cutting off about an hour of driving time as we didn't have to go AROUND the whole mountain range. By the way, this dirt track was on google maps as a legitimate road. More on google maps later. Anyway, we were back on the main highway and cruising along at about 75 miles per hour which may or may not be the speed limit. We can't be certain about such matters because there are no speed limit signs, except when they want you to slow down to 30 miles an hour occassionally for no apparent reason (which nobody does).
So we're cruising along and start up a grade. I downshift from fifth to what I think is fourth but accidentally go into second for a split second. Well, this just enrages the car, which starts into a total fit. I go into fourth and attempt to accelerate up this hil to no avail at all. Then to third. Still nothing. In second we're able to crawl at about 20 miles per hour, inching slowly upward.
Now, it is approximately 1000 degrees outside give or take. We're in the middle of what feels like the desert. The gearbox is clunking out. I felt fairly confident this was an easy fix but the group were undestandably restless and concerned. My main goal was to get to the top of the hill, as it's always easier to get back down facing forward than slide backwards down the side of a mountain. At least that's what I was telling myself.
We reached the apex of the pass after what felt like an eternity. The car was just chugging and chugging upward, several lights on the dash flashing, several pings coming at us in multiple tones, lengths, and strengths. I turned the engine off, reset the clutch, waited a moment, then turned the key in the ignition. Nothing. OH. GOD. Again. Nothing. Holy F*$@. I instantly started to sweat. Everything bad that could possibly happen to us was running through my head. Did we have enough water? Was there any food? How far was the nearest town? If it came to ultimate survival, who would be eaten first? Of course none of these things would happen because we had five iPhones between us, GPS maps, and we were on a very well-travelled highway but still, the irrational stress when stuck on the top of a hill in the middle of the desert when it is a million degrees outside is seemingly uncontrollable.
With all that on my mind I fiddled with the clutch, depressed the clutch and brake and turned the key. The diesel engine slowly chug-chug-chug-chugged back to life. Everyone in the car erupted in cheers and applause. I put the car into first gear and away we went, as if nothing had happened. But something had happened, and it was the damn Fluence's fault.
This is, of course, not the only thing that makes this car THE WORST. A few more:
The trunk. It's small and the hinges swing into the trunk, which makes it a pain in the rear to pack. It's also like tetris. Everything only fits in one way, as exhibited by this photo.

The iPod input cable. It's mini jack to RCA. WHAT YEAR WAS THIS CAR BUILT THAT IT HAS AN RCA CABLE IN IT?
Finally, a note on google maps. We're alll fairly certain they haven't been to Turkey. There are roads on google that don't exist in real life. There are roads that exist in real life that don't exist on google. There is highway after highway that just ends in a pile of dirt. On google maps, they carry on into the sunset. It's like two different countries, which has just added to the excitement and the adventure, especially when it's 700 degrees outside. Oh, have I mentioned it's HOT?!
-Kyle Taylor
- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Location:Küçük Bayram Sokağı,Hüseyinağa,Turkey

14 August 2014

Going With The Flow

It's no secret that I did next to nothing planning this trip. All the destinations, lodging, driving routes, and nearly everything else we're booked and arranged for me. I literally just turned up. My friends new that was what I needed and delivered. As such, I had zero expectations for what this trip could, would or should be, which I'm learning is absolutely the best way to approach anything because there is zero room for disappointment. Nothing is more true of this trip. It's perfect.

From horseback riding through ancient cave cities at sunset to being welcomed with a bow to a local restaurant in a remote town as a "special tourist guest," exploring those less-traveled corners in the crossroad between east and west with your best friends couldn't be more wonderful.

We've figured out words and phrases to get our point across and played an excellent game of charades when words failed us. We've argued to the bitter end to sort out a rental car. We've coordinated flights, watched spectacular sunsets and devoured meal after meal of utterly divine Turkish cuisine. In short, we've made brilliant memories and we are only five days into this twenty-day adventure!

I can't imagine what else will come our way and I couldn't be happier about that. Yesterday is a fond memory, today is brilliant, and who knows what tomorrow will bring, because I didn't plan a thing, and its marvelous.
-Kyle Taylor
- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Location:Mehmet Akif Ersoy Bulvarı,Akköy,Turkey

Chauffeur Service

I'm the only one awake! :-)

YouTube Video

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Location:Mehmet Akif Ersoy Bulvarı,Akköy,Turkey

You're Crazy! No, You're Crazy!

It all started with Atlas Travel. No matter who I attempted to rent a car with moths ago, I got redirected and denied by Atlas travel. They seemed to control every possible car rental outlet. A good old fashioned monopoly!

Finally, on my fifth attempt (seriously), success! Car Del Mar who outsourced to CarTrawler who outsourced to Thrifty who outsourced to Dollar who outsourced to some local office in the town centre (seriously).

Sarah and I landed three hours before the others and had big plans of picking up the car, seeing the town, and maybe even grabbing some car snacks. It was all not to be.

The first sign things had gone awry was at the airport, when there was no Thrifty desk, no person holding a sign, nothing. Thankfully the guy at Sixt called the company for us and informed them they had clients waiting. "Oh, you arrived already! Okay, I'm coming!"

Fifteen minutes later we were zooming to their office, snafu behind us. I confirmed that we had a Fiat Doblo or similar waiting and he looked perturbed. "We have five people," I told him. "FIVE PEOPLE," he exclaimed, fearful eyes wide. Sarah and I looked at each other. This didn't feel good.

Upon arriving at their office (at 5:30pm) we were rushed inside and offered tea, coffee, water, anything. "No thanks," we insisted," just our car. We need to get going."

"Five minutes," the agent told me. "Trust me, no problem."

45 minutes later there was clearly a problem. An Italian family had come and gone, their rental involving a great deal of yelling in a great number of languages. Sarah and I had finished off two bags of Doritos, some hazelnut wafers, and a bottle of water, left entirely to our own devices in their wildly over furnished office. Our patience was quickly waining.

"Where is our car?" I asked in a clearly irritated tone. "You see," he began," we don't have that car. Or any car, really. Our confirmation doesn't have a car type so we don't have that car. Nobody wants that car. It's slow and ugly and uncomfortable and nobody wants it" (note that the Fiat Doblo is the best selling car in Turkey. One in ever five cars is LITERALLY a Doblo. One look just outside their shop offered a visual on no less than FIVE of them).

"See, on our confirmation we get it doesn't say the car you requested so we don't have it." He handed me the confirmation and sure enough, the last line read "car type: mvrp," only just below that it said "page one of two."

"Where is page two," I asked. "This says page one of two. I want to see page two." He definitely didn't expect this level of thoroughness. After staring at me with a guilty face for a good twenty seconds he looked me right in the eyes and said "nobody wants a Doblo."

At this stage we were fed up. It had already been over a hour. "Look, we have a reservation that YOU confirmed for a car that will fit five people with five bags. This is the car you promised by confirming my reservation so find me this car or something bigger immediately," I demanded in a calm and rational voice. "Let me ask my manager," he said as he scurried away.

Fifteen minutes later he returned wearing a smile. I assumed this meant resolution. False. Instead, he offered us a tiny sedan or a Nissan Juke, which I hadn't heard of but which he insisted was "larger than the Doblo. Also," he insisted, "you can't stack luggage above the windows anyway so it's all the same." This did not see like a real law.

Sarah and I went outside and inspected the sedan. Not only was it small, it was really old. And covered - literally covered - in chewed sunflower seed shells. Sarah took one look, turned to me and pronounced, while wagging her finger in the air, "There is NO WAY we will fit in this." With that he said he would bring the Nissan Juke here "in five minutes."

Forty five minutes later it was now nearing 8pm, which is when we were meant to be picking everyone up after picking up our car we reserved MONTHS AGO. Instead, the others were going to hang out in the airport cafe and we still had no vehicle. Finally - FINALLY - he came over and said the car was ready then began to pick up our bags as if we were supposed to be going somewhere. "Where are you taking our stuff," I asked pointedly. "To the car. It's five minutes away. We will drive there."

"But if its not big enough we aren't taking it so you need to bring it here," I said forcefully. "But that is impossible and we must go now," he said with a newfound sense of urgency. Sarah and I agreed after formulating a side plan. Should this car be too small, we were going to claim squatters rights in the large 11-passenger van they were driving us to the Nissan Juke in. I would get out and assess the car and she would hunker down just in case.

Suffice to say, the drive was not five minutes. It was FORTY MINUTES AND 55 kilometers away. We drove on three different highways before pulling off at a rest stop in the middle of nowhere. "This is like the start of a horror film," Sarah said thinking out loud.

As the van approached the Nissan Juke it was obvious there was no chance five grown adults and five bags would be fitting in what looked like a car for Barbie and Ken. In fact, I don't know if I've ever seen a smaller SUV in my life. I got our two suitcases out of the van while Sarah stayed to "occupy" the van in a similar way to how the occupy Wall Street protesters did it - peacefully but not taking any crap from anybody.

I opened the back and attempted to put just two suitcases in the "trunk" and not even those fit. At all. Whatsoever. The bags made the SUV look like the size of some kind of remote control car that I had as a kid. Or a power wheels. "This obviously isn't going to work," I said to the guy. "And now I'm furious. This is ridiculous. I want that van there and I want a full tank of gas because it clearly has worse gas mileage so you will make up the difference in cost."

His jaw dropped to the floor, his eye widened, and he shouted at me, "ARE YOU CRAZY?!" This is when all hell broke loose. In the parking lot of a rest stop. Next to the world's smallest SUV.

"NO, ARE YOU CRAZY?!" I yelled back. The next fifteen minutes are mostly a blur. I was shouting at him while his manager - who spoke no English - was shouting at me. They were saying we couldn't have the van because it was already reserved. I explained that I too ha a reservation and I didn't really care about anyone else's. He told me I was being unreasonable and that he gave me "two good options" and that I should "trust him" which obviously wasn't remotely possible.

Our back and forth was punctuated by regular interludes from Sarah, who would hop out of the van, run over, say something poignant, then run back to the van to reoccupy it. Her best comments included asking if she should just sit on the roof or perhaps leave one of our friends at the airport. Hyperbolic irony no doubt did not translate, as they all just looked totally disturbed and the English speaking guy said confusingly, "no, there are no seat belts on the roof. You can't sit there. That is ridiculous."

I slowly made my way back to the van to double our occupation campaign. Sarah and I then patently refused to move. With this protest the owner, speaking in English for the first time, pointed at us and said "your reservation CANCELLED," which just reignited another round of shouting, pointing, and crazy talk.

At this stage, we had to consider our situation. We were at a rest stop in the middle of Turkey with - right now - a cancelled rental car reservation, three friends still waiting at the airport, and no real options (this was certainly their plan). As such, we begrudgingly accepted the tiny sedan (which was of course back at the office) and vowed to fight the car rental broker instead.

Hopping into the Barbie and Ken Juke to go back to their office, the English speaking guy started in on how hard he works and what music we liked along with other small talk. I ignored him though Sarah was playing good cop and laid out our itinerary for him. "For me a vacation is sun, sea, and relaxation," he started. "Where you're going is just dust and dirt. I don't know why you would go there." Helpful.

Another 35 minutes later we arrived back at the office where he suggested we try other companies quickly. Why we hadn't tried this three hours ago I have no idea. A neighboring company happened to have a VW SUV and an enormous Mercedes sedan. We inquired on price and they were the same.

For a split second we thought we may actually get what we needed but of course this story wouldn't be worth writing if there was a happy ending. Our guy came back outside with the details. "Actually," he began, the VW is Steve's car," pointing to a guy on the sidewalk who waved at us. "You can rent it from Steve but there is no insurance because its more like borrowing your friends car. So if you break something you have to pay Steve for it. And the same for the Mercedes. That is Bob's car," as he pointed at another random guy on the sidewalk who waved at us. "So we would literally be driving around in some guys car," Sarah asked. "Yes, sort of," he replied.

Needless to say, we didn't take that option and instead rolled up to the airport to pick up the others FIVE HOURS after we first sat down to pick up the car. I did my best to cram our bags into the tiny truck, shoving excess small stuff on the back window sill (which we soon learned was not illegal and instead one more lie told by the car rental company), under seats, and between legs.

We started off on our drive three hours late, only to get lost in such a way that left us driving on what turned out to be a closed highway, chased by a pack of wild dogs and stuck behind a very creepy looking 16-wheeler.

Thankfully, we have a great story to tell. And a car company to ruin. A holiday with a purpose!

-Kyle Taylor

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Location:Mehmet Akif Ersoy Bulvarı,Akköy,Turkey

13 August 2014

Hot Water & Lining Up

It's no secret. Life in Europe and The USA is comfortable. Infrastructure is in place. Things work. While that's easy, it makes us far removed from our basic needs. For me, a basic need is a hot shower in the morning. I don't think twice when trying to accomplish this in London. Not so here. While there was an instant boiler in the bathroom it for whatever reason wouldn't engage when just the shower was running. This led to a flashback to my China days when a hot shower required turning the kitchen sink tap on cold and the bathroom sink tap on hot. This began the great water [wasting] experiment of 2014. I had the kitchen tap on trickle, the bathroom sink full blast, and a blend on the shower temperature. Turn this one down a little and the boiler would click of. Turn this one up to high and you'd lose all pressure in the shower. It felt like flying a plane, spinning all these nobs backwards and forwards. Eventually, when the bathroom was on a trickle of hot and the kitchen sink was medium speed cold and the moon was in its third phase and my shakras were aligned then both pressure and temperature could be maintained and victory was mine. It's these small wins that deliver the biggest smiles and most satisfaction.

The same goes for fitting in while forming a line (or not forming a line, to be more accurate). Now, I of course live in the nation where lining up is a national past time. See a queue of people? Not sure what its for? Who cares! Queuing is fun. Lets join in. It's certain to be good!

Most of the world, as I very easily forgot, does not operate on such a system. This is particularly true when doing things where you are GUARANTEED to get what you're after. You know, like boarding a plane. It's as if there are limited seats and if you don't push, shove, dismember the weak and feeble like children and old ladies, then you may not get on board. I'm now back in "China mode:" Head down, elbows up. You either have to fit in or get out and I say "bring the heat grandma. I will CRUSH you."

-Kyle Taylor

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone


12 August 2014

Welcome to Turkey. In Canada Pot Okay.

For the first time in nearly two years I boarded a plane headed for a developing country. That's right, for the last 22 months it has been only easy, English-speaking, fancy pants places where the roads are paved, the water is hot and you don't have to worry about getting gastro every time you eat or drink something. I know what you're thinking - where's the fun in that?!?!

I decided to ease back into it in Turkey alongside some of my best best friends. Call it backpacker light. Taking off from London - the developed world's most cosmopolitan city - and landing in Istanbul - the developing world's most cosmopolitan city - after only 3 hours on a plane was surreal. The sights. The sounds. The smells.

Their swanky new airport was a near seamless experience and my baggage carousel was shared with a flight arriving from Baghdad, which was fascinating, but then came catching a cab.

Now, perhaps I'm overly hardened by years of travel but from Sydney to São Paulo and everywhere in between, I'm convinced that all taxi drivers at airports are trying to screw me. This was no exception. There is just something fishy about them. Like they know you don't know a damn thing about getting to your destination. Not how long it takes, not how far it is, nothing. Then you're hopping in a car - in a foreign country where you don't speak the language - that says its meant for public hire with some guy you don't know who will supposedly drive you directly to your unknown destination. Would we ever advise out children to do such things? Absolutely not! That's some dangerous stuff. But when you're an adult it's "an adventure." And my ride certainly was.

The driver took my bag and swung it into the boot, miming that it was extremely heavy (the lightest I've ever packed, so a little upsetting).

We got in and I pointed at the meter indicating that we would need to be using that. "No problem my friend," he said to me. I then pulled out the address on my phone screen to which he shook his hand vigorously and said "no letters. Phone?" And thus began my first round of charades on this trip. "No phone," I said. "No Turkish," deciding I should then attempt to read the address out loud, which when as well as you'd think. I struggled through and when I finished he laughed, pointed at me and said "you no Turkish." Indeed sir. Me no Turkish. So I said the generic central square, he nodded, and we were off.

Minutes later he said "music?" so I gave a thumbs up and he cranked up the Saturday night jams on Joy FM. Next it was where I am from, and this is when it got AMAZING. "Canada," I said, heeding the advice of a professor from my trip to Turkey in 2004, when the invasion of Iraq pissed off most of the world. We had been in the Grand Bizarre and a seller asked us if we were Canadian. My friend said "no, American," at which point the shopkeeper pulled out a knife and chased us out of the market. Therefore I felt for reasons of safety it was prudent, on this trip, to be Canadian.

"Ohhhhh, Canada!!!" he exclaimed, waving two thumbs up vigorously while steering with his knee. "In Canada, smoking pot is okay," he explained, while mimicking inhaling from a doobee. "In Turkey, not okay." Um, okay.

On that note the car fell silent and we allowed the thumping bass on the radio to fill the void until the drive shouted out of nowhere, "RED BULL! RED BULL!" while mimicking sipping from a can. I gave him a thumbs up, indicating that yes, red bull was indeed a thing." This somehow translated as "let's get some" and we were soon careening across 3 lanes of traffic to pull into a gas station and, you guessed it, buy some red bull.

As we ground to a halt and he went to hop out I pointed at the meter, waving my hand as if to say "stop the meter if you're making a pit stop." He looked at me, laughed and said whilst waving his hand "it's okay. No problem!

After disappearing in the shop for what felt like ages as I watched the meter tick over he emerged with a red bull for him and a schweppes mandarin in a glass bottle for me. "Heyyy!!! Canada!!! Red Bull!!! It's okay!!!"

This is where my past experience anxiety reached new highs. We are at a service station. He's just bought us sodas. The meter is running. It's midnight and people are waiting. It's been two years since I've done this. I don't remember my old "full time traveller" skillset. Oh god, what do I do.

Just then he popped up the bottom of his seat to reveal a bottle opener, a corkscrew and plastic cups. This guy wasn't trouble, he just liked to entertain. Strangers. While moving.

He popped the bottle for me and we were off, once again zooming towards the city center. The music was blasting, the drinks were cold and the wet hot air of summer was rushing across my face. This is what I've been missing so much.

We road in silence the rest of the way, enjoying the music and the beverages. As we approached the square I said to him "thank you in Turkish." English is thank you. Turkish is..." and without missing a beat he responded, "gvaz."

"Gvaz," I said to him. "And hello," I inquired. "Gvaz," he said. That's easy, I thought. Same phrase! "Goodbye," I asked. "Gvaz," he answered. Okay, like aloha, I thought. "What about please, " I wondered allowed. "Also Gvaz," he replied. This is one useful word, I thought. I stopped there for fear of having to learn a new word if I asked too many questions. When in doubt, I thought, just say Gvaz.

He dropped me bang on the centre of the city. We shook hands, "I said gvaz a few times," he said "gvaz" a few times, and away I walked, having reentered for a moment in time the world I love so much. One in which everything isn't always clear and stuff just sort-of happens. Plus, I'm now nearly fluent in Turkish, which is fantastic.

Gotta run! Gvaz for now!

-Kyle Taylor

- Posted using BlogPress from my KyPhone

Location:Kağnı Yolu Sokak,Nevþehir,Turkey