Saturday, February 17, 2007

All roads lead to Ankara

Recently Brian and I took a trip to Istanbul to pick up our cats that were being taken care of by some wonderful guys while we were in America. We also took advantage of the Ikea store that's in Istanbul. If you ever have the chance to visit an Ikea store you should. It is really interesting. We went to find something for Anna Grace to put her clothes in. The chest that we bought for her when we first arrived in Turkey was falling apart so she really needed something new. We also got a few other household gadgets that you can't find anywhere else around here. It was fun.

Trying to get out of Istanbul was an adventure! The cats were staying on the European side of Istanbul, and we spend the night on the Asian side of the city. In late morning traffic we crossed one of the two bridges over the Bosphorus Strait. Brian remembered exactly how to get to where we were going which was nice! I, on the other hand, had no idea where we were going since I had never been there before. (For those that know me...I must admit that even if I had been there before I would still not have known where to go...okay...fine.) We picked up the cats and headed home. To cross back over the Bosphorus we had to use a different bridge, because the one we had used to get to that side only took cars with special tags going the other direction. After finding the right bridge and crossing back into Asia we started looking for signs leading us out of town and to Ankara. According to the signs all roads led to Ankara. Which road was the right one? We wanted to take the tollroad, but weren't sure which one it was. "Oh look, Ikea...we should be getting close to the tollroad." We picked a road, and it was the wrong one. We were stuck on a regular highway, and the traffic wasn't moving. As we inched along we looked for a sign that would let us cross over to the tollroad. After almost an hour inching along we finally came to an exit for the tollroad. We took it! The problem was it sent us back towards downtown Istanbul. We ended up almost where we started from. We did manage to get on the tollroad this time, and it was about then that I decided that I needed to go to the bathroom. Now once you get on the tollroad you don't want to get off. You might not be able to find it again! Brian was determined to get out of Istanbul before we stopped so I had to wait. There are a few roadside travel stops on the tollroad so Brian decided to stop at one in Izmit...about an hour outside of Istanbul. This particular stop had a Burger King, and it was just about lunch time at this point! I ran in to go to the bathroom and ordered lunch while Brian filled the van up with gas. After the food came I hiked across the parking lot where the van was still sitting at the gas pump. I figured Brian was inside paying and would be out in a minute. He came out a couple of minutes later and said that neither one of the credit cards he had were working. He moved the van out of the way, took my credit cards to see if they would work, and went back inside to try to pay. Unfortunately we didn't have enough cash to cover the cost of the gas or else we would have used it and been on our way. Nor were there any ATM machines around for him to try to get money. A few minutes later he came out and said that the manager was sending the cashier across the tollroad to see if the sister travel stop on the other side would accept our credit card. I couldn't believe it. This poor woman had to run across three lanes of traffic, climb over the rail, cross a drainage ditch, climb over another rail, run across three more lanes of traffic to get to the other side. And when I say traffic I mean cars going 70-80 miles an hour! I wasn't sure what was going to happen if they didn't accept our credit cards on that side! A little while later she came back with our receipt. Crazy! She risked life and limb to make sure they got their money. Brian told the manager she deserved a raise! He agreed, but I doubt she gets one. I was extremely thankful the manager didn't ask Brian to run across to the other side to pay. He said he wouldn't have done it even if he had been asked. While all this was going on Brian and I ate Burger King, and had time for dessert and coffee. I even went to the bathroom again. I figured Brian wouldn't want to stop anymore after that! We finally pulled out of the travel stop about 50 minutes after we pulled in!

I have to say that I did make Brian stop once more just outside of Ankara. I couldn't hold it any longer! Thankfully there was no drama involved. In...out...on our way!

1 comment:

Gina said...

ALL that for 2 cats....um....well, I guess it was worth it as long as you like cats!! (Billy would have made the cats run across the highway to pay for the gas...)