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The Last Bites of Turkey

We woke up a little groggy the next morning. The SIM city 2000 theme was ringing out through the interior of the Fiat Doblo, and it was high time to resurrect ourselves and head over to the Kazakh Embassy. So I leaned my seat forward and started the car, backing out into the hotel parking lot and driving off toward the embassy. It was close, so we arrived before anyone had even fully woken up. We picked up our passports, newly christened with Kazakh visas, and split without a hitch.

Our next destination was to check into a rental apartment that we had found in Istanbul through our favorite online peer-to-peer accommodation booking tool, AirBed & Breakfast. Claudia had not gotten a chance to drive the Doblo yet, so we let her take the wheel as we set out looking for a certain Italian fellow by the name of “Marco Marco.” It was not easy to find the guy, though, and as it slowly crept past the time that we had promised to return the car, we continued searching, driving in circles around the same streets, calling him from time to time, and becoming increasingly lost in the tangled byways of Istanbul.

Find him we did, however, and he climbed into the car with his well mustached friend, directing us to drive into an alley that quickly began to climb uphill at a 40-degree angle. Due to a poor choice of gears, Claudia stalled attempting the climb, and from there things became difficult. In her defense, the 1.3 liter diesel engine in the Doblo had very little low end torque, and we were attempting a very steep uphill start. But with each jerking stall, we fell further and further back downhill. Everyone in the car began screaming and when a car pulled up behind us, Marco Marco had a vision of disaster and asked to take the wheel.

Having honed his skills over many years of practice in underpowered Italian economy cars, he managed quite effortlessly to pilot us to the apartment where we would be staying. And so we unloaded our things and headed up.

The apartment was gorgeous, with a stunning view out over the water, and plenty of room to relax. We were excited to have a kitchen and a full size fridge (for all the Red Bull of course), plus the place was equipped with pretty darn fast wireless. Who could ask for more?

First thing we did was get Alp on the horn. He began to rage for us in Turkish, and managed to arrange for Claudia’s passort to be put on the next bus from Cappadocia to Istanbul. It appeared it would make it in time for her flight the next day.

We headed back out then, to return the car. After that was completed, Scott and I parted ways with Claudia and Diane as they headed off to do some more shopping. Meanwhile the two of us headed back to the apartment to do some blogging and wine drinking and eventually met up with Alp, hero of Claudia’s passport, who we were just thrilled to have in our lives again.

Claudia and Diane were expected back at any moment, but despite the passing of time they did not appear. Just as we were beginning to get worried, one of our phones rang and they were on the other end. It turns out they had gotten hopelessly lost, much like we had earlier that day, trying to find Marco Marco, and had eventually headed over to an Internet café to call home. Scott and Alp headed out together to collect them and bring them back to safety. The four of them finally arrived back, hungry and grumpy as hell just as the takeout pizza and… (drum roll) manti that we had ordered arrived.

All concerned dug into the food and generally attempted to blow off steam.

  • The next morning Claudia and I headed out to the inter-city bus station, which was no trivial journey from Marco Marco’s place, and after much bouncing around between Turkish bus drivers and lot attendants, finally were directed to the luggage counter, where we picked up a thin paper packet with Claudia’s name on it and headed triumphantly back toward the rest of the team, passport in hand.

When we arrived back, Diane had made a great breakfast for us.

The entire group, Alp Included, sat down around the large dining room table, and we all dug into eggs, olives, bacon, fried tomatoes and peppers, and bread. Diane is a splendid cook and the entire meal was magnificent.

It was then time to engage in the sad task of packing up Claudia’s Vitesse D7  for the long ride back to the States. And it was with a heavy heart that we headed out to put her on the next bus for the airport. I placed my Panama hat on her head, asking if she might take it back to the States with her. “Your Panama hat!” she exclaimed!

Scott’s had been lost, I replied, and perhaps that was a sign that a new chapter was opening. Going forward into the Stans and Russia, we would be carrying only the Vietnamese motorcycle helmets. Though somewhat aghast, she agreed to ferry the hat back to America.

Outside the bus, we all hugged Claudia goodbye, loaded the folding bicycle into the luggage compartment, and, just as suddenly as she appeared into our lives two months ago earlier in Dubai, she was gone.

The rest of that day was spent strolling though Istanbul with Diane,  chatting with archeologists,  buying Turkish delight, mailing off project K9 Ibriks, finally eating some of those street side fish sandwiches that we’d sworn to revisit, and generally savoring the last bites of Turkey.


Comments

  1. Diane Heditsian | July 24th, 2011 | 11:44 am

    Thanks for the compliment, Woody. Oh how the memories flood back! It was the best of times.

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