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Road Trip to the West Coast

My day started with a move that took several hours more than scheduled. Here’s a quick picture of what moving into an apartment looks like when the building’s elevator is pretty tiny. Along with the slow, frustrating process, the other holdup was the movers dropping everything to go to Friday prayer. This is pretty standard here – I just have to get used to nobody really caring about punctuality or meeting time estimates.


So, as the hours wore on, I started to reconsider my plan to drive west all day. Google Maps said the trip would take 10 and a half hours. My GPS said 8 hours, and when I finally hit the road at 2:30 I really hoped that for once google maps was wrong.

Driving from Ankara to Kusadasi first reminded me of driving from Phoenix to San Diego. You leave a big, nothing city, hit the desert, pass through the occasional one stoplight town, random industrial centers and irrigation farming areas, go through a few mountain passes and once you’ve driven through the sunset, bam, you’re in Paradise! I went through this track twice before I finally realized that it isn’t like driving in the American West. I’m driving in Turkey and the landscape is uniquely its own. Because I was concerned about finding my hotel in the middle of the night, I didn’t stop to take any pictures but here’s one from the road at sunset.


I arrived in Kusadasi around 10, but then took about a half hour finding my hotel. I always find these hotels in the middle of nowhere, and I was close to regretting my penchant for the boutique and country hotels. I was driving in circles on dirt roads and trying to avoid random animals along the way (horses and dogs) who didn’t seem to have the good sense to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle. After passing the same sign three times, I finally pulled out my phone to check my location on google maps. This time google won – I was two country roads south of the one I needed. By tracking my position with the phone I finally got to my hotel at about 1030 p.m. I don’t know how I would have done this before cell phones and GPS – I didn’t pass many people to ask for directions along the way.
I was met with a glass of raki and some eggplant meze, my favorite. Then I stayed up late talking politics with the owner, Mustafa, who had also arrived late after driving in from Istanbul.
Today I’m going to check out a place so old it’s in the bible – Ephesus!

2 Comments Post a comment
  1. Old Jarhead #

    Is all that stuff on the sidewalk yours, Sarah? Is this the new, “you’ll be much safer – so say the FP dudes” apartment? I sure hope your parents don’t read every blog entry you post! I can only imagine what they were thinking when reading about you driving up and down dark, country roads in the hinterland of Turkey so late at night! Any chance you are packing some heat when you go on these excursions?

    September 17, 2012
    • Yeah, all that stuff is mine, and it’s all going into my newer, safer (but significantly less awesome) apartment. You know I’m not packing heat! My parents are probably laughing at my silly driving – I’ve been doing these things forever. Plus, they kind of romanticized driving for us. My stepdad always tells of how he once drove straight from Wyoming to Virginia, in something like 36 hours. And I can’t say enough about how friendly Turks are. I didn’t really understand how to use the toll road, but decided to use it anyway. Luckily at the exit tollbooth, when I didn’t have a card to scan and get the gate to lift, some guys offered to go ahead of me and then scanned their card twice. This was awesome, because there’s no person taking cash and the help button wasn’t working – I could have been stuck there all night.


      September 18, 2012

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