Why is it that the things that sht you the most in your hometown are some of the things that become such a challenging yet fun experience when you are in a foreign country?
Take my bus to and from work for example; I catch the fricken thing every day, and every day without fail I am filled with rage over one incident or another.
It doesn’t matter what time I leave the house, I manage to race to the bus stop only to find myself stuck in the middle of the road watching helplessly as three buses drive on past. (Yes, for some reason I am yet to understand, it is always three of them). As I stand there in my invisible cloak that descends upon me the minute I step onto that nature strip I curse the bus timetable or lack thereof, while my invisible cloak means the bus drivers looking right at as I flail my arms around like a lunatic fail to notice me.
On the rare occasions they do wait for me, it is only if they have remembered me from trips before as the sickos watch me play a mad game of frogger with the cars as I cross the other side of the main road to get on my bus.
Tell me why the very same thing could happen in India and I could enjoy the experience so much, I have to race to an internet cafe to email my friends and family back home to discuss the crazy Indian roads and transport system. Why was it that when Mr Raj Bajaj in Mumbai had me stressing for 2 hours over my missing rail tickets only for him to discover “oh very sorry miss, they were under my desk this whole time”, did I find this hilarious and email worthy.
Yet I try to board the bus and the Go Card machine fails to register my card, it sends me into a spiralling fit of rage and complaining about our drivers and our systems.
Quick note here: I don’t have anger management issues and I am not a complete nerd who always discusses the transport system – so please do read on.
Please also note: Not all bus drivers are nasty and on many occassions they wait for me and are lovely caring people!
My point is simply: Travelling brings out the very best of us. Every action is an adventure and every adventure fills me with excitement and joy.
There is nothing more exciting than jumping on a train to somewhere – where you are going is a mystery as you can’t read the signs, you can’t speak the language to ask for help. You simply jump on and hope for the best, yet sometimes the best is simply seeing where you end up or trying to get somewhere and failing miserably.
A bus ride in Turkey involved hightailing it back to our hotel where we had left our bags, we jumped in the pool to cool off, got changed and ran with our wet clothes in hand to board a bus bound for Kusadasi. Told by the bus company it would take 6 hours to get there, with everyone else telling us it should only take 4 we soon learnt why.
The bus with only 30 seats drives out of town doing about 10km/hr picks up and drops off about 6 more people along the way, and after about 1 and a half hours seems to turn into our own privately hired bus. We spread out on the back seat spread all our wet togs out to dry as the skanky travellers we are, crank up the laptop and watch a few episodes of the office when the scenery gets boring.
We stop for a drink break, then a toilet break – where the mozzies were the size of cows. We drive for another hour when the bus stops and the driver and his 16 year old helper get out to have dinner – at least that is what we thought – it could have been a petrol station for all we knew – once their food had arrived we ascertained it was indeed a restaurant (clever weren’t we).
We grab a table, and the waiter comes up and says “Yes?” without showing us a menus he stands there waiting for us to place our order – seriously like we come to a random roadside place in the middle of nowhere all the time and know what there is to eat– as we assumed we would not be stopping we had filled up on bananas and crips (or chips if you will).
We order two apple teas (turns out this is the one place in Turkey who does not have apple tea or even appear to know what it is) so we order 2 coffees instead and receive a tea and a coffee – when we ask for the bill it takes ages, and the driver is getting impatient (of course he is after we have to stop while he eats ) – 2 more coffees arrive, a lot of confusion – we pay $2 for the drinks and are on our way again. After a horrible bumpy ride it gets to 10:30pm – 5 and half hours into our journey when the “assistant” comes up and asks where we are going??????? – well hopefully Kusadasi we say as we have just spent half of our holiday on this fricken bus!