After being worried about getting to work on my first day, this morning I felt like something of a pro going to work. Having already done it yesterday, I already know exactly which dolmus (shared taxi) I have to get on and have the exact change for the driver. I feel kind of like a big deal. I also have the bright idea that I should read while commuting to work. It’s not a very long ride but I think it it is a good way to stay on track with my reading goals.
So, I delve into unnamed book and keep an eye out for my work. Soon, I notice the dolmus is completely empty. Strange. I look around and can't recognize the neighborhood I am in at all. This doesn’t seem like the route we went on yesterday. In fact, this is a part of Istanbul I have never seen. Suddenly we are careening in and out of random streets. I start to panic. Obviously I am being kidnapped.
I take out my cell phone and think of who I should call. I try to bluff the guy, pretending to call a friend at work and saying that I will be there soon. Realizing that this guy doesn't know English, I just sit and wait for my untimely demise.
After about ten minutes the dolmus pulls into a massive parking lot. This is it. I am going to die in some giant parking lot in working class Istanbul. I am at peace with this. Then I notice that lots of dolmus drivers bring their victims to this lot! In fact, there are rows and rows of dolmuses lined up everywhere. It is going to be a mass murder!
The driver parks and turns around throwing his hands up as if to ask why the hell I am still there. I feel like the little kid who fell asleep on the back of the bus and didn't wake up until the bus driver is all the way back at the bus lot. I say, Levant?? Lutfen? He rolls his eyes at me. Then he yells what could mean nothing other than, "Get Out!!" I try to sit there for a second thinking of what I should do. (There are no taxis anywhere.) He yells again, "Get Out!!" Alriiiiight I think. Out I go. I start walking up the dolmus lines to see if there is anyone else willing to reply to my more sophisticated "Levant istiyorum lutfen." I am thinking I am an idiot. I need to do my Turkish lessons. I need to look out the window while I am being driven to work. I need to not think I am being kidnapped every time I am an idiot.
The dolmus driver sees me and gestures for me to follow him. He takes me to the front dolmus and then as if dealing with a mildly retarded person, he tells me to sit down and stay there. So, I sit and wait and wait... Eventually another driver comes and off we go. We pick up passengers until there is no room to breath on the dolmus, let alone be able to look out the window to spot my work.
When I see a small sliver of the mall that I work by in the distance I jump up to get out. I can walk the rest of the way! I am just scared he is going to take a turn and take me somewhere else all together. I force my way through the wall of people and as the dolmus is still moving I jump out. As I stumble and almost fall, I try to act cool. No worries, I think. I am an expert at getting to work.