Trip Start Oct 01, 2008
Trip End Sep 02, 2009

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Where I stayed
Saray Hotel

Flag of Turkey  ,
Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 14, Saturday.
Moving day.

We walk down all the stairs and check out. Forgot to mention the last 2 hotels had lots of stairs and we were on the 4th floor, after walking up 3 flights already to get to the reception.

We are just down the street from the bus terminal so we walk there and then wait until about 12:30 for the bus to arriver and leave. The bus people have stuffed large packages of napkins under all the seats at the back. We are sitting at the front behind the driver. There is a funny smell, Len think's it's diesel fuel. We think he must have just filled up. About 15 minutes along the smell isn't getting better so Len checks out the back of the bus, not as bad back there so we move back. There are about 9 people on the bus, there are 2 Japanese tourists beside ourselves.

About 45 minutes along in the ride we pull into a gas station. The bus people are filling up very large plastic jerry cans with diesel and storing it under the bus by the drivers seat. Then another one goes over and fills up a 5 litre plastic jug with gas and is bringing it onto the bus. Len tells him not to bring it on, to get it off. He looks at us and says 'no problem'. He won't listen to us, puts it into plastic bags and stores it in the washroom.

I am upset, but nothing can be done. Thought about getting off in the middle of no where, but what would we do then.

So we hit the border and get our stamp to leave Syria and then into Turkey. The army guy comes on to check passports, while he is checking ours a bus man comes and puts something in the army guy's parka pocket. We have to go in to get a visa and then walk back to the first check point to get our visa passports stamped.

The Turkey security did a check on everyone's bags, I don't know how he did ours as we were away getting the visa. It wouldn't surprise me if the bus people didn't tell them we brought 2 cartons of cigarettes in - not ours, but on the bus guys behalf and unknown to us. We did take our time getting the visa done and stopped at the WC. So the bus just kept on moving forward with us walking behind slowly catching up on it.

The ride into Antakya, Turkey was only 1 hour. We passed a truck that had flipped over. The road is so narrow most of the way to the edge of the town. We got off at the bus terminal outside of town and caught a taxi into our hotel.

Not too bad at the Saray, again more steps to go up just to get to the reception. We are on the 4th floor.

It is quite different from Syria, lots of green crops, trees and the homes have colours on them, not just sandy brown the same as the soil. They have peaked roofs with the terra cotta tiles. The city is clean and there are street cleaners out day and night, the locals don't throw everything on the ground. The stores seem more modern with appliances and clothing that looks modern.
We checked in and went out for a walk around the block and found a place for diner. Fancy looking, or maybe all the restaurants have men in dress shirts and vests and ties. Len had a beef cutlet and me chicken and vegetables. Mine came in a hot clay pot and I carefully had a taste. Yikes, it was so spicy hot!!!! I did try to eat 2 more pieces, but by now my tongue feels fat. The waiter did offer to cook me something else not spicy. I thanked him and said no. He told us it wasn't spicy by Turkish standards. I just may lose a bunch of weight here.

Back to the hotel. There are lots of busses and vans playing loud music and speeches, looks like they are having an election here. No English channels on TV no matter how many times Len goes through them all. Oh, well, next place.
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