It was way too early when I woke up to head to the Fez office to catch my bus.

The sun had just risen and the clock hadn’t even pushed 6:15 a.m. when I strapped and hooked my bag to me and headed down those old cement stairs and through the carpet shop to take the tram to Fez.

I stood alone for a few minutes at the office, bags at my side, listening to an animated conversation taking place at the restaurant next to me where a tall, bleached blonde man and an older man with long, dark hair and a beret sat.

Then, Gus arrived, clad in a red Fez T-shirt, and introduced himself to me as the Fez Tour Guide for our Hop-On, Hop-Off experience. He would be my tour guide. We chatted for a few minutes about where we were from (Kangaroo Island) until the blonde interjected himself into our conversation.

I loved him immediately. Boisterous. Bubbly. Hilarious. Total diva queen.

“I’m Scotty, Queen of the Desert,” he said to me.

Love it.

Apparently, he had a late night out in Taksim the evening before, having just arrived home when I met him.

For the 45 minutes we waited before we boarded the bus, Scotty and I chatted away in the early morning Istanbul sun. And, when it was time to go, he loaded my bag, I handed him my business card, and he told me how to find him on Facebook.

I hoped I would see him again. Maybe even as my tour guide a few days down the line.

Seven of us, plus one teenager and Gus, boarded the bus, headed for Cannakale. After a night there, it was on to Kusadasi, where Gus had mentioned I could possibly work.

It sounded good to me.

When we arrived to Otel Panorama just up a little hill from the bazaar, it seemed OK. The rooms didn’t have AC, some of the sheets were soiled-looking and the showers were gross, but it didn’t bother me too much.

I spoke with Murat, the owner of the hotel briefly about working there and gave him my conditions — I wanted my own room and a day off. He told me he would think about it.

When Gus left the next day, I should have gotten on the bus with him but I wanted to see if I could extend my time in Kusadasi by way of hostel work.

If I knew then what I know now …

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