Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Things we will miss

The next few posts will feature some of the fine Turkish products or services we will miss while we are in the states. These are in no particular order!

1. Public Transportation!
It is everywhere you need to be. The small blue bus pictured below is called a dolmus (dole-moosh) in Ankara. In Istanbul these are called mini buses but no matter what they are called they are wonderful! To take a dolmus you stand on the side of the road and wait for one to come by that has a sign indicating it will pass by where you want to go. Then you just wave at the driver...he stops and you get on. You do have to pay to use them and the fare depends on where you want to go. Almost all places in Ankara cost 1.20 lira which is equal to about 77 cents. Then when you are ready to get off you just have to tell the driver to stop. It's that simple. This dolmus is passing right in front of my apartment.

The Taxi! Taxi's here can be flagged down or you can call the local taxi stand and have one pick you up from your apartment. The drivers at our stand know us and are always very friendly. When we call for a taxi we need to already be walking out the door because the taxi will be pulling up in front of our building in about the time it takes us to get out there...2 minutes! They are more expensive of course but when we are in a hurry well worth it.

And finally the bus. This bus stop is in front of the building next door to us so again we can catch it on our street. This bus uses a bus card which is purchased from a terminal downtown. When you get on the bus you slide your card in a machine and it subtracts the price of your ride. The price depends on if you are a student, elderly, or if you bought a multi-ride card. 20 rides costs 20 lira but one ride costs 1.20 lira. There are also pay buses that have a little man sitting at a desk about halfway down the isle who takes your money. This bus takes me downtown where I can catch another bus, a dolmus, or the subway if I need a second ride to get me where I am going.
I mentioned the subway above which is another form of public tranportation provided. It uses the same cards as the bus and the fares are the same. If I transfer from a card bus to another card bus or the subway within 45 minutes of my first ride the second ride is free! There are two subway lines in Ankara but in order for me to take one I have to take another form of transportation to get me to a subway stop.

The last thing I thought I would highlight is the service vans that most grocery stores have. After you shop you can take a free service van home. You usually have to wait a few minutes for them to fill up and then you have to give them directions to your house. A few of them will do pick-ups as well at scheduled times on certain days.

Oh, I can't forget to say my feet! I walk to a lot of places I never would have even thought to walk to in the states. Everyone here walks a lot! I will miss being able to walk to the grocery store, the tailor, the outdoor food market, and friends' houses.

So you can see I have not needed to drive a car for the last four years of my life which is a good thing because all the cars here are standards, and I don't know how to drive one. I plan on learning when I get back to the states though. But, my dad has assured me that a dolmus will drive down our street in Texas and take me wherever I need to go. And I'm sure the nice Kroger people will take me home if I spend enough money in their store. But it shouldn't be too much of a problem. I will have a car, and it's not a standard. The only problem is I have to share it with Brian!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Did you ever learn to drive a stick shift? :)