Escape of the Week: A Turkish Camel

Turkey has some serious bus stops. Like, serious. These huge facilities greet thousands of visitors a day and come complete with restaurants, shops, pay-to-pee squat toilets, and more. They even wash the buses quickly when passengers disembark to stretch their legs.

On the first day of my Fez Bus Tour through Turkey, we stopped between Istanbul and Canakkale to give the bus driver a rest AKA spend money on food and random Turkish trinkets. At this particular bus stop, which was surrounded by endless sunflower fields, there were some animals kept behind awful white bars, on display for everyone.

I loathe animals being treated with anything but love and respect, so was pretty peeved when I saw a camel and an ostrich contained in small spaces. I walked up to the camel and was immediately touched by its friendly demeanor and beauty. I guess after seeing so many people each day, it was pretty domesticated.

Of course, when the camel popped its nose out towards my face, batting it’s long-lashed eyes, I had to snap a picture.

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All aboard …

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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