Imagine you have just been chased along the railway platform by an angry toilet attendant because you missed seeing his little window saying “WC one lira”. The one lira does not guarantee cleanliness, toilet paper or paper towel but you usually score at least one out of the three. After this wee drama the only other waiting-for-the-train entertainment was a pair of frantically copulating sparrows. Not once, not twice, but fourteen times. Without a single missed wing-beat. (Are Australian sparrows so determined?)
We were a bit excited, this being our first night train in Turkey. Night trains anywhere promise to be a reward in themselves. So with a dining car, a 2-berth sleeper and a carriage steward, we were naturally all set for some curiosity, some adventure – not exactly your Agatha’s lavish Orient Express, but something a bit refined – we’d’ve even settled for some modest attention to basic niceties – like an early morning wake-up cuppa, maybe….?No deal. Our carriage steward greeted us when we boarded, then not a sign of him again until we’d arrived in Konya – when he returned our tickets. We even had to convert our seats into bunks ourselves. What a great job he has!
Now, to confess: we were not very well* in Konya. I had caught a dose of gastro in Izmir the previous week but had been recovering in Pammukale when Annie succumbed. We had some excellent assistance in Kas from a lovely doctor called Munise who spoke perfect English and had all the right creds. Annie needed an IV rehydration infusion.
No sooner were we over the tummy bug than Annie’s persisting sore throat became a serious cough, so we booked 3 days at the Konya Hilton (for a health treat) and found ourselves at the University Hospital on Saturday afternoon when Annie spotted blood coughed into the tissue ……..6 hours later, following Ventolin therapy and thorough testing for every known respiratory illness and chest complaint, we emerged. Some of the differential diagnoses had alarmed us – including pneumonia and pulmonary embolism – until they were discounted, so all things considered we were mightily relieved when she was discharged with medication for influenza. Before leaving the hospital the medical team insisted on some photos with us!!
As fully engaging and diverting as this small excursion into the bedside manners of Turkey’s training hospitals was however, it in no way compensated us for missing the best Whirling Dervish Sema Spectacle at the Mevlana Cultural Centre just across the road from our Hilton address and which had of course comprised the lion’s share of Konya’s attractiveness.
But the tea service was cok cok guzel -(very, very nice)
And still the darkness persisted, Dear Readers. No sooner were my instincts for health replenished, than Janet’s succumbed. Confined to bed to sneeze and wheeze and convulsively cough in a dimly lit cave in Goreme with no telly, little interest in tucker beyond bread and panadol washed down with sweet Turkish tea, and a non-stop nose-stream that prompted local flood warnings, the Cappadocia discovery leg of our extended Turkey tour was not the golden crowning finale she had oh so longed for…
but I enjoyed it, and that’s the main thing, between my dedicated duties nursing a very reluctant, wilful – some may say “bossy” patient, and they may well have her measure…
No, seriously – we both did ultimately enjoy it – such is the nature of that intriguing landscape that despite near-death experiences, the soul and sprits soar to just be amongst it.
And so to Spain where we are now recovered. We hope never to have to chronicle our out-of-sorts selves to you again, dear blog-watchers. We just wanted you to know that travelling can sometimes make us sick, but we take it in turns and we care well for each other…
* footnote: if feeling unwell in Turkey, avoid describing yourself as feeling “sick”. Such a term, as we discovered some time afterwards, apparently evokes images of humans in flagrant imitation of the aforementioned sparrows…”Husta” is a more acceptable term.