April 8, 2010

Damascus to Istanbul

Still no sleep. It’s four in the morning when the bus arrives at Antakya.

“Out”

Says the driver.

“What?”,

say us.

We have to change buses here, he tells us in an elaborate series of gestures. Shite, say us. We heave our bags into the empty terminal, no idea when the next bus to Istanbul is. The desk for our bus company is unmanned. My exhaustion has reached dangerous levels, and every detail of the world jars my soul. I lay my sleeping bag on the dusty floor and try to sleep. Billy sits up to watch the bags, bless. When the man from the bus company arrives, Billy comes back with a face full of bad news.

“The next bus isn’t until this afternoon”

He says,

“At 3.30”

This flings me into a rage of unreason. I haven’t slept properly for three days, and the thought of twelve hours in Antakya is inconceivably horrible. We’re supposed to be arriving in Istanbul this evening, to stay with a nice woman called Kate. In a bed. I yell at the bus man. I plead with him. I slam his door. I feel like a total nob almost straight away. I go back to sleep.

I wake with a foot nudging my side. You can’t sleep here, a security guard tells me in Turkish. I grunt and move onto the bench. Foot, again. You can’t sleep there either.

Well, anyway. The world seems a bit better now, and Antakya’s not too bad. We board a minibus for town; a very friendly man invites us to his house in the next city; we find an internet café and prepare our lives for coming home.

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