My nine-hour bus ride with Turkish Tourette’s guy

It was my first long-haul bus ride in Turkey, traveling from Antalya in the south to Selçuk on the west side of the country. Eight hours didn’t seem too bad when I originally planned my itinerary. No problem, I’ll just take a nap for a few hours and when I wake up, I’ll be in Selçuk. No sweat! Right? Well, it never did turn out that way. I didn’t sleep a wink!

I boarded the bus to find the girl sitting next to me was assigned the window seat. (Damn!) She was a young, conservative Turkish girl, covered from her head to her feet. She wouldn’t even look at me, probably thinking she’d catch some of what I have if she did.

What I have meaning tattoos, my hair out and an uncontrollable urge to move to any music I am playing on my MP3 player.

But I paid this no mind – the fact that she wouldn’t even look in my direction – as I wasn’t into starting a conversation that could potentially last eight hours anyway. I was content with rockin’ out to my music.

That didn’t last long, though, because unbeknownst to me, our on-bus “entertainment” came in the form of a Turkish man with a horrible case of Tourette’s syndrome. I noticed this guy when he got on the bus and took the seat directly behind the driver, two rows in front of me on my left. He was a middle aged guy with a few strands of hair on the top of his head yearning to simulate a comb over.

It wasn’t his illness that first caught my attention, though.

It was the fact that his hairy butt-crack was hanging out of his pants!

I watched as he placed his butt on the seat and slid back all the way so that two inches of his naked crack became nestled against the seat-back.

Oh my God! So gross!

Then a thought occurred to me.

How many butt-cracks have touched MY seat back over the years??

I inconspicuously pushed my lower back out so it would not touch the seat and remained conscious of this the entire ride.

Shortly after we began our journey, Butt-crack dude started going off at a speed of one tick about every three minutes. Sigh. This was going to be a long-ass ride.

His most interesting tick was a closed fist punch in the air ala the “Hail Caesar!” salute that I’ve seen in HBO’s show Rome. I laughed internally at this because, even though it’s horrible to say, to me it really was funny. But only for a little while. Knowing I was going to have to deal with this kind of thing non-stop for hours, I was already feeling my nerves start to fray a bit.

Why can’t this be me?

Photo by Tim Griffin , on Flickr, via Creative Commons

The bus attendants came around with drinks and snacks – coffee, tea, soda, cookies and small cakes. I myself opted for some Nescafe and crackers, but I noticed that they gave Butt-crack guy something that nobody else got. It was some kind of drink in a very small cup that looked like the mini plastic cups espresso shots are served in.

And then, like clockwork, they brought him one every hour. If it was espresso, I was confused. Is that a GOOD idea? I mean, give this poor guy some downers, not espresso! He’s already going bananas!

(And by the way – where’s MY espresso?)

But as they kept serving him, I started thinking maybe it wasn’t espresso and instead was some kind of medicine. One could hope for this man’s sake.

That must be a hard life. It’s like he must never get internal peace. I felt really bad for him and thought about how much it must suck to live that way.

But at the same time, there is NO excuse for hairy, naked butt-crack to ever be resting on a public seat. Pull up your pants, dude!

A few hours in, the heat was turned on in the bus. I have no idea why, it was nowhere near cold. But I have realized from taking many buses around Turkey that most of the time, sweating on them is a given.

As I started to sweat in my Ginny-tee and t-shirt combo, I glanced over to my mute seat-mate and was surprised. She wasn’t even breaking a sweat! She had on head scarf, a sweater with a full-length coat over it, an ankle length denim skirt and pantyhose! I mean, how is this possible?

The ride itself was pretty boring and was only scenic in parts. We did brake for a chicken crossing the road (insert joke here) and stop until a random goat chillin’ in the street moved on. Something that did interest me was a Turkish cemetery that we passed. The graves were shaped like twin size beds and they had flowers and plants growing out of the top. Like the top of the grave was a planting bed. I pondered the meaning of this and wondered if this was a way to symbolize creating life from death? Or did it represent the cycle of life – birth, death, rebirth?

I also saw some trees on tops of mountains with their roots half in the dirt, half hanging in out in mid air suspension, like they were going to fall off the mountain. Yet the trees were still standing upright. It was strange, I’ve never seen anything like that before but it kind of reminded me of my life – half grounded, half hanging in suspension myself, not knowing where I will end up.

Yep, a long-ass bus ride will give you the space to do some long and hard philosophical thinking! It’s part of the reason why I (usually) love them!

A few hours later, I was snapped back into reality when things began to come to a head.

Butt-crack man had begun to smack himself with both hands in the face while making this “HAH!” sound at random times.

The bus was now going what must have been 20mph. The driver drove was so slow that we even got passed by a fucking HAVAŞ airport shuttle for Christ’s sake. We were already an hour late and it was now nine hours that I’ve been on the bus. I was so dehydrated because I didn’t want to drink too much in fear that I may have to pee and we wouldn’t be stopping. And I was hungry. And tired. And I had a horrible headache. Needless to say, my patience was running thin.

I was ready to tell the driver to give me my luggage and I would run the rest of the way to Selçuk. I mean, at the pace the bus drove, I could run faster… WITH luggage!

I just wanted to get off the cot-damn bus already.

*Featured photo on this post taken by Christopher, on Flickr, via Creative Commons


  • Andy June 20, 2017 at 9:51 pm

    I really like your stories, you make me feel like I am there with you.

  • Matty June 24, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    This reminds me of a ride I took from Istanbul to Konya, I thought we’d never get there! We took a night bus and it so slow it was excruciating. The tea/coffee/snack service is nice though. It’s one thing I enjoy about taking Turkish buses. Didn’t have anyone with tourette’s on board but it was a looong ride. Cheers!

    • Indie Chick Travels June 27, 2017 at 6:20 pm

      Hey Matty,
      Yes! I love taking the bus in Turkey! One time, we even got ice cream! lol

      Wow, I can’t imagine what the overnight rides are like. I’ve never taken an overnight bus before because I know I won’t sleep. I wish I could! I mean it’s good because instead of paying for a room for the night, you just sleep on the bus, but I can never sleep on planes so…I figure at least in the daytime, even if it wastes a day because the ride is long, at least I can catch some nice scenic views. 🙂



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