Thursday, September 20, 2012

Getting there is half the fun

Are you following me? Or am I following you?

Our driver uses a stop light to borrow a smoke.

Sam was here.

Zoom Zoom ... see the blur out Nicole's window?
We used taxi cabs to get us to and from the hotel when we were in Istanbul. For five us that meant travelling in two cabs.  Five Turks and a driver would have happily and easily piled into a single cab but we chose to use two.  There are lane markings on Turkish city streets and highways.  There are also speed limits posted.  This didn't prevent our cabs from travelling three or four a breast with other vehicles when necessary, or for doing 80 or 90 k down a city street. Until the last trip, I always sat in the front with the driver so I didn't realize that there weren't working seat belts in the back of the cabs - where the children rode.

On our first day, we had to back down a narrow/ancient street in front of other vehicles doing the same, in order to allow a huge tour bus to make a corner. Many times during our cross town trips, our drivers would be talking to one another out their open windows.  I can only guess they were confirming the route they would take or where exactly the destination was located. On the final journey our cab driver double parked on a narrow street, jumped out of the cab and raced into a nearby building.  Nicole and I were left in the back of the cab wondering what was going to happen next. Moments later, the cab with Cam in it pulled along side.  Turned out our driver needed the washroom so ...  At a stop light he jumped out again and borrowed a cigarette from Cam's driver.  Smoking, talking on your cell phone and shifting gears simultaneously are necessary skills if you're a Turkish driver in Istanbul.  It's a wonder to me that there aren't more accidents.

The kids thought the cab rides were FUN! With the windows rolled down to keep us cool and dissipate the smoke, the quickly changing scenery made the trip into a roller coaster type adventure.

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