Turkey 37.5: Night Bus from Trabzon to Kars

And the award for worst night bus experience goes to….

“CRAP” may not be the best word to describe the ride last night, but it’s the first one that comes to mind that doesn’t tip the scales into extreme profanity.

So, when you’re on a night bus, the point is to try and sleep a bit. Yeah, didn’t happen. Here’s why.

First, the bus itself. I’ll give Igdirli Turizm credit – they have “Buspads” in their seat backs, which allow you to go online, play Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, watch movies, listen to music, and all sorts of other things. However, if your arms are over a certain length, your access to the screen is either done by using tiny little T-Rex arms, or by putting your elbows out like you’re pretending to be a chicken. NO leg room for anybody in the 6 foot range, of which I just barely qualify.

As if to prove my point as I’m typing this, a new person in the seat before me tried to go into full recline, at which point I had to push back pretty hard for them to get the point. A different guy had tried it earlier, same result for him, although he at least seemed kind of aware that there was a tall guy behind him.

When I got on, there was a child laying across my seat and the next one to it. In fact, in three different pairs of seats around mine, there were small children sleeping as if the seats were their cribs. I showed my ticket to the woman who seemed to own the children, basically asking if it was her kid, and she just calmly pointed to a different seat. Usually not a problem, but the bus was sold out, and she kind of didn’t get that, as she was trying the same tact with other people and her other kids. Eventually, she kind of got the hint and all three of the little kids ended up sitting on the laps of mom and the two older, teenage brothers. Literally, though, the kids were treated like luggage and I’m wondering about the safety implications of having a child asleep on your lap for a seven hour bus ride.

Also, one of these adult-and-kid seats was directly behind me, so I couldn’t recline unless I wanted to crush a kid. Wonder what Mom of the Year’s reaction would have been.

Later in the ride, when the person next to me got off the bus, one of the teenage sons either asked if he could sit next to me, or if I could move over so he could have my seat. The guy who was sitting next to me earlier was a little guy, so the person who was in front of him had gone into full recline. So I wasn’t sliding over. When I got out of the seat and told the skinny kid who was shorter than me to take the window seat, he seemed pretty darn bumfuzzled by the whole thing. Figure it out.

Oh, about the little guy next to me. Going to give him credit for trying to be friendly when he started talking to me in Turkish and, upon figuring out that I don’t speak it, exhausting his English playbook with “What is your name?” (which he didn’t understand when I asked him) and “Where are you from? After that, though, I got a few taps on the shoulder as he tried to show me interesting things about the Buspad, or tried to get me to listen to Turkish music. At the time he was doing this, my eyes were closed and I was trying (and obviously failing) to get some sleep. Social cues. Take them.

Pretty sure a guy at the back of the bus was either throwing up or had whooping cough. A different guy in front of me had a nasty case of what I assume was sleep apnea for a good chunk of the ride. Either way, great sounds.

Few pukes from some passengers at the side of the road during stops, too. Always encouraging.

Add a windy road that wasn’t paved for a good middle chunk, and I think I got maybe twenty minutes of sleep. That or I just lapsed into unconsciousness from the pain of the ride.

Oh, and nobody on the bus seemed to turn off their cell phones, and about half of the ones that did ring weren’t picked up because their owners were sleeping through them. VIBRATE SETTING, PEOPLE!!!

So, yeah, pretty awful ride, but all a means to an end to get to Ani. I just didn’t want to pollute that post with this garbage.

Rant over.

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