Friday, May 1, 2009

GB Travels 1st Class

I haven't been doing too much lately - although the Istanbul Jazz Festival isn't far away - but I wanted to say something about the bus we take when we do go to Istanbul.

First of all, Efe Tur is our bus line of choice although it's possible that it's the only bus which connects Izmit and Istanbul. Honestly, I'm not really up on my buses but I do know what I like.

What I like about
Efe Tur is its attention to detail - but maybe that's just the former International Fashion Model in me speaking. But what separates a good bus ride from a great bus ride is the little things - just like a matching purse and the right shoes make a great ensemble.

Once an Efe Tour bus is on the road, our bus attendant brings us a bottle of toilet water and a towel with which we may refresh ourselves. On our most recent trip, the 'fragrance' was lemon and based on the expression on the gentleman in the seat in front of me - who had applied it quite liberally to his face - it was a few top notes short of Yves St. Laurent. I usually pass on communal cologne as I like to wear a nice musky scent designed for me exclusively by - well, I don't want to name drop. Naturally my female bipedal attendant made some usual snarky remark about it (although I had to agree with her) but at least my male bipedal attendant's sinuses cleared up.

Next, we are given a choice of coffee or tea. Because it is instant coffee with dehydrated creamer, I usually opt for the tea. What's the point in being in Turkey if you have to drink instant? The tea isn't Turkish either
- it's Lipton's - but I can live with that. I do wish they'd fill the cups up higher but I suppose that full cups of hot tea and coffee would be a safety hazard on a fast-moving vehicle.

After everyone has their hot beverage, the bus attendant brings us a platter with a selection of
packaged cookies (or bisküvi - just like the French pronunciation), crackers and muffins - which my female bipedal attendant lovingly refers to as chem-cakes, possibly in reference to the 317 ingredients which go into the making of one of these. I usually opt for a chocolate creme-filled bisküvi.

After all of this, we are offered a foil-covered plastic glass of water. Finally the attendant brings the driver his own cup of tea. Really, the only thing missing is an after-dinner mint, but I don't know if they eat those here.

Considering that Istanbul is - depending on the traffic - only an hour or so away, this is excellent service. At least in this bear's opinion. Especially when you bear (!) in mind that the cost for the trip is 10 lira - less than 5 euros. I mean, it's not like travelling on the Concorde, but I get recognized less on an Efe Tur bus than I ever did flying from London to New York. And sometimes you just want to enjoy the ride with a nice cup of tea and a chocolate cream-filled bisküvi without having to sign autographs and pose for photos.


Snowflake said...

and the color of the seats blends so nicely with the color of your fur!

Grey Bear said...

Hi Snowflake! I didn't want to draw too much attention to myself, but leave it to you to notice! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

How very, very British !
Imagine being served tea or coffee on a bus. However did you stop to think that if they didn't serve those niceties maybe the fare would only be around 2 Lira or 2 Euros?
How can the bus driver drink his tea and have both hands on the wheel at all times? I hope he doesn't try talking on a cell phone too.
my oh my

Grey Bear said...

Hmmmm ... I don't know if the 'in flight' service affects the price at all. It's possible - but it's not exactly high tea! I'm afraid that the driver does drink his tea while driving and as for the cell phone, I haven't seen a bus driver use one yet but it's probably because I snooze on the bus.