Yesterday our dolmuş driver lost his cool. Postal. I get it, I really do. It’s hot here in Mersin and it is only going to get hotter. It was 35 in the shade yesterday afternoon and when it gets hot people lose their shit but this guy was one sandwich short of a picnic crazy and I did start to worry about our safety (you will understand as the story goes on).
Just to remind you or for the uninitiated a dolmuş is a shared taxi that runs along a set route. It is usually quite civilised. They come along every few minutes. There are signs on the dolmuş so you know where they are going and it is easy enough to wave them down or ask them to stop when you want to get off. If you are lucky you will get an air conditioned dolmuş which is a blessing in this heat but if they are not air conditioned then it is a little like being stuffed into a sauna with 30 other unlucky souls.
(Stock photo – not dolmus in question)
Up to speed so back to my story.
It all started with the driver receiving a telephone call. Now I know I do not have enough Turkish to give you a rundown of the conversation but I can tell you that he was obviously not on time (the drivers have a very tight schedule to keep and if they run late or run early they are fined) and his boss telephoned him wanting to know where he was. He pretty much told his boss to get f*cked and he would get there when he got there. I had a big grin on my face at this point after all who hasn’t wanted to tell their boss to get f*cked at one stage or another.
He then lit up a cigarette. No you are not allowed to smoke on a bus in Turkey but the sign above his head “Sigara içilmez” or “no smoking” meant nothing to him at this point after all he had already told his boss where to go. An elderly lady complained about the cigarette so in reply he flicked it at her feet. She got out of the dolmuş.
At the next block a young mother hopped on with two children. She handed over 50TL to the driver for payment and this was the catalyst to the next fifteen minutes of crazy. The explosion of expletives being thrown around the dolmuş by the driver was astounding and he wasn’t discriminating, he was screaming at everyone. Daughter (who is well versed in expletives) was gawking at the driver with her mouth wide open. “I think we need to get off this bus,” she whispered. I nodded in agreement and was about to ask the driver to stop when his telephone rang again. The driver looked at the telephone, pulled the dolmuş over, turned the engine off, got out and shut the doors behind him. At this point I began to wonder if we were being held hostage.
A man stood up and started trying to open the door but he was unable to so he hung out the window and abused the driver who turned around and started kicking the side of the bus. This was sensational, well except for being held hostage and all that. The mother that the driver had abused moments earlier started crying and another passenger was comforting her. I started to giggle (which is what I normally do when I am nervous) and I wondered if the other passengers thought I would lose my shit next.
A couple of minutes later the Polis arrived and the driver immediately opened the door. The driver was yelling at the Polis, the passengers started to get off the dolmuş and began yelling at the driver and the Polis while Daughter and I stealthy snuck off the dolmuş and backed away from the scene. Once we were clear we stopped and stared at each other. WTF???
When we got home Daughter called out to The Turk, “Daddy we just got kidnapped! Really!”
He is never going to let us out by ourselves again.