I enjoy being abandoned on the side of a highway in a foreign land.
I woke up on the side of a warm highway, somewhere in Turkey.
My bus was getting smaller in one direction, while from the other a tractor was approaching with more noise than speed, and to both sides stretched farm fields of small trees growing…something, presumably. Apricots?
The morning sun was slanting straight into my eyes, my mouth tasted like I’d eaten the last portion of a tavuk kebab sometime during the early morning hours, and I noticed I was wearing my backpack, although the belt strap wasn’t fastened yet.
With effort I remembered leaving Istanbul the day before. Cramming myself into the third tram to stop at Sultanahmet after the first two repulsed my efforts, then standing in the sardiney insanity of rush hour in front of a guy who kept sighing and grunting in irritation, somehow unaware of the horrid stench that came out of his smoker mouth every time. Rush hour is a crime against humanity.
A couple bus stations, and a small screen with first Bruce Willis bleeding, then kung fu, all of it in Turkish. At some point the bus drove onto a boat, and we crossed dark water glittering orange with reflected light from the armada of other ferries crossing the Sea of Marmara in every direction.
There was one giant restaurant bus stop complex that stank like old urine, and one where I didn’t bother getting off the bus. Then a fuzzy recollection of the bus kid waking me up and gesturing that I should get off, here, among the orchards on a stretch of unlabeled pavement in a foreign land.
Okay then. But what now?
The morning sun gave a sharp slant to the shadows of trees lining a nice path that paralleled the highway. It ended to my left, and hopefully began in the town of Selçuk somewhere to my right. I started that way, passing farm driveways where guard dogs looked at me with sleepy requests that I not make them work yet. I was happy to oblige.
Between the trees and above the fields, the parapet outlines of a hilltop fortress were matte finished by the morning haze, though I could see the rich red of Turkish flags hung down the walls. Was that were I was going?
I found Love Street, where the tourist infrastructure was still sleeping, chairs piled inside the Turkish ice cream stand and rugs not yet hauled out to sit in the sun, and on a side street was a guesthouse that I’d read about online before leaving Istanbul. The reviews had been positive, but they hadn’t mentioned the small cat who ran down the steps to meet me, climbed into my lap, then up on my shoulders.
Okay small feline one, I’ll stay here.
As soon as they wake up.