Anyway - this is a story about the bus trip from Istanbul to Ayvalik.
|This is Istanbul, so you can imagine it while I am telling the story.|
The cup of tea usually arrives as the bus is careening around a bend at Turkish miles per hour, and the bus conductor, who is young and enthusiastic and has so far hopped off the bus on three occasions to have a cigarette, lurches from side to side and pours boiling water into the teacups, and he is holding two in one hand because that is how he rolls, and all of the time he is grinning at you maniacally as if to say "my face may be the last face you see, but at least I am smiling!"
Anyway. Two hours into the bus trip the conductor came and tapped me on the shoulder and mimed "do you have an iPhone charger". I was using my iPad so it wasn't a particularly difficult mime. I mimed back, "yes but it's in my suitcase which is in the belly of your bus" which was a more challenging mime.
The bus conductor looked disappointed in me and continued down the bus and I returned to peeking at the guy in front of me's Clash of Clans village (it was not as good as my village) and I thought no more of it, and we continued on towards Ayvalik.
|This is Ayvalik, so you can imagine it while I am telling the story.|
Two minutes later the bus conductor, now very agitated, reappeared and tapped me on the shoulder and repeated the mime about the phone charger and beckoned me out of my seat and up to the front of the bus, at which point the bus driver braked abruptly and pulled over on the side of the three-lane highway which didn't really have any room to pull over on and the conductor and I very quickly got out of the bus.
The conductor, very excited at this point, scooted round the side of the bus and opened the luggage compartment and I pulled out my suitcase and found my charger and looked back into the luggage compartment -
And behind the place where my suitcase had been was a dog in a cardboard box.
The box was just the right size for the dog. It was as if he had been purchased in the box and not fully unwrapped from his packaging. His head was out a hole in the front, and his tail was out another hole in the back, and he had been wedged in between other pieces of luggage to stop him bouncing around during the journey. He looked delighted.
I looked at the conductor and then looked back at the dog. The conductor also looked at the dog. Together, on the side of the highway, we stood and looked at the dog.
And then the bus driver yelled something in Turkish and we quickly got back on the bus and my iPhone cable was very useful and eventually we ended up in Ayvalik, but next time I get off a bus in transit in Turkey, I will take my camera with me, in case there is another dog.
In Göreme, Town of Fairy Chimneys, there was a tree with eyes. It was near the Open-Air Museum, which is a collection of 10th and 11th century cave churches, and is also a World Heritage Site. The museum looks like this:
|"please do not inhabit the artworks"|
The cave churches are amazing if you are into cave churches, which I wasn't when I started, and then I was for about 45 minutes, and then abruptly I wasn't again. Also it was too hot and I was very hungry and now I feel bad for underappreciating a World Heritage Site.
Maybe you would like to appreciate it?
|Probably not what T-Pain had in mind|
Right, that is enough appreciation.
Once we were World Heritaged out, we walked back into Göreme, and on the way we passed three trees, all covered with different things. It was like a weird fairytale where at every tree you expect a themed gnome to pop out and set you a tree-related challenge, although of course this didn't happen, which was slightly disappointing.
The first tree made vague sense. It was outside a pottery shop, and it was covered with pots:
|Let us be glad that it wasn't outside a brothel.|
The second tree was covered with plastic bags and made no sense at all:
|THEY'LL COME IN HANDY ONE DAY LOVE|
And the third tree was covered with eyes.
The eyes are amulets called nazar, which protect against the 'evil eye'. They're absolutely everywhere in Turkey - on necklaces, over the doors of shops and houses, painted on buses, in every single souvenir shop.
This was the only time I saw them on a tree.
And that is the story.
The story about the dog was better, and for this, I apologise.