Bus Bingo

We anchored in a bay in Ildir, full of local fishing boats, and decided it was time to head to shore and find a grocery store and a cell phone company where we could get some SIM cards for Türkiye. 


Our map app told us that we’d have to catch a local bus and head south about thirty minutes in order to get near a town with a store.  So the four of us motored in by dingy, hiked to the road, and found ourselves a bus stop. Finding the bus stop in a foreign county is often the easiest part.


Getting on the right bus, paying for said bus, and getting off at the right place are often the particulars that turn it all into a grand adventure.


There was a man at the bus stop who tried to help us understand the bus schedule. Through a series of google translated questions and answers, we determined we were at the right stop and we’d just have to fumble our way onto the correct bus. Much like playing Bingo, we just waited for a bus to show up and call out its destination to see if that was the winning number.


The next bus that appeared seemed to be our new friends, but not ours, so he patted us on the back, we think he wished us luck, then disappeared into the bus.


Each time a bus would stop, we’d try and figure out just where it was headed. One bus, two busses, three busses, but not our bus.


When ours finally came along, luckily it had the town written clearly on it, and we climbed aboard. The driver didn’t speak english so when we tried to pay he wasn’t sure how much to charge since he didn’t know just how far we would be going. At least we think that was the deal.


The small bus made a ton of stops and soon it was jam-packed full of people. Mark and I were up front standing just behind the driver so people would get on, hand us money which we would then pass on to the driver.  The driver would then shut the doors, grab the money, shift gears, calculate change, count out change, and hand it back to us to pass back to the rider. 


In all my years, I’ve never seen a man multi-task so proficiently as this bus driver did. He even managed to do all this while coming upon an unexpected road closure and without blinking, he downshifted, made change, re-routed the bus, and waved to a fellow co-worker driving another bus. 


We managed to make it to our destination, found a cell phone store and got SIM cards and groceries. 


Not wanting to push our day of directional good fortune, we opted to take a taxi back to our boats.


We’ve got refrigerators restocked with food, full SIM cards, all without getting lost on a bus. A pretty successful day indeed.

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