Wednesday, October 3, 2012
The Bus Ride...
The funny thing about an island town like Bozcaada is the way it can spark the imagination and suddenly not returning to the world and work and the day to day routine .... seems very possible.
As I noted earlier... there is still much of a Greek presence in the town and I had noticed a church bell tower when we first drove in. It being Sunday morning, I wanted to locate the church and take a look around. We spotted it from a distance and headed down the alley ways and quiet streets. As we neared it, I could hear the sweet low singing / chanting of Greek hymns. We found the entrance and I stepped into the foyer of the church. There was a man standing there who looked quite surprised to see me (a stranger to be sure) inside of the church. He spoke no English, and I speak no Greek, though have some limited Turkish for polite conversation. I managed to point to my cross necklace and communicate that I follow Christ. "Me too" he beamed, though not in my language. We manged there in that holy place to find common ground as the music played in the background. He invited me in, but our bus was departing, and I would feel lost in an orthodox Greek service I think. I thanked him but declined. I wanted to hug this brother, but instead shook his hand and blessed him. Maybe he blessed me too... I don't know, but I do know that for certain two complete strangers felt the love of Christ between us for one short moment on a Sunday morning in Turkey.
We boarded the second ferry after a quick port side cappuccino. This time it was broad daylight and the sea was absolutely breathtaking. Once off the ferry, we began the long trip home. Just a few minutes into the ride... our host announced it was karaoke time. What? Sure enough a screen dropped down and the cd's made their round for us to make our choices. Now.... I have not sung karaoke in a very long time, and most of the songs on the cd's were unfamiliar to me, but I was repeatedly prompted to pick a song, so I picked the only one I recognized... Genie In A Bottle. All I had in my head was the refrain...but let me tell you... when the dj announces to the entire bus that Connie Kimble picked this song... then those words not only are sung by a multitude of people, but the words are up on the screen as well.... Let me just say it may take me awhile to repair my sullied reputation. At any rate... I will say I have never had so much fun on a bus singing and laughing and... by the way drinking good red wine. (well maybe there was that trip in high school... but that doesn't count). Has anyone every heard of a Karaoke bus before?
This is our DJ, as you can see, the screen is ready to play a new song.
We stopped numerous times on our way home for breaks and snacks etc., but I have to tell you about the Shell station with a mini "zoo". Yes, adjacent to the pumps was a serious of wire enclosures and signs announcing the different animals. The most interesting of which was the 2 motley camels. Then there were also 2 ostriches, which Ibrahim informed me the Turks call "camel birds". Not sure why. Of course there were some geese, and ducks, and chickens, but the most curious of the exhibits, and also in some ways the most disturbing was the "Doberman" and "Rottweiler" exhibits. I kid you not, one of each caged alongside the other zoo animals.
We continued on for a while and the singing died out, as people were getting hungry for dinner. We stopped at a restaurant and dined quickly, then re boarded for the final leg. Did we sleep? We did not! We were informed that we would be experiencing a cultural exchange of sorts..... we would be watching that musical masterpiece.... Mama Mia!.... in Turkish. It was a hoot, and having suffered through this film once before out of curiosity, I can tell you it is definitely better in Turkish.
The end of the night was a flurry of rushing off the bus in Taksim to grab the first taxi back to Ortakoy. I somehow got lost in the mayhem an ended up storming off because I felt I was being left behind. I hate being left behind. Susan and Eunice rescued me and I managed to be in my apartment before 10.
I didn't have a romantic interlude per se.... (several of my friends are sure I will meet someone here who will sweep me off my feet). but I did fall in love. I fell in love with yet another Turkish island and the lifestyle that still exists in parts of the planet that haven't been in too much of a hurry to join the madness of the world and I am enamored still of this lovely country, its people, and its culture.
So I raise my glass of Vasilaki and say SEREFE to Turks and their vineyards, to the islands and their magic, to bus DJ's and their sense of humor, to travel hostesses and their thoughtfulness. Blessings in your travels.