Losing Tourists at Dolmabahçe Palace

We booked a tour for July 11, 2007, in Istanbul.  We were picked up at our hotel on time.  We were off to a pretty good start.  We were promptly brought to the Spice Bazaar, which we’d actually stumbled upon when we’d been lost the previous day… and upon my second visit to the Spice Bazaar, my allergies went NUTS.  For the rest of the day I nursed a series of tissues.  Fortunately, you couldn’t really tell in the pictures… but my nose was in agony.

spice

53 seconds after this photo was taken, I convulsed in a series of violent sneezes.

The tour guide on the bus kept telling us to not be late for the bus.  Do not be late, do not be late, we WILL leave without you.

Duly noted!  I didn’t feel like missing a bus again.

I’m not the world’s most patient person.  Also, I am very literal.  If you say the bus will leave without us, I will believe you.  I will also assume that everyone else will believe you.

I’m so naive!

Okay, so we went and saw Dolmabahçe Palace.  It was spectacular… I remember putting plastic bags on our feet so we could walk in the carpet, and I looked up a lot — the ceiling was fantastical.

inside dolmabache

I think that particular sultan wanted to live in a more French or European manner.  It was unbelievably lush.  I was so dazzled, I even sort of managed to forget my allergies!

dombache palace

Check out the little tour sticker that I’m dutifully wearing.  (I’m a very good girl.)

Anyway, after we had seen the opulent palace, we were to get on that bus again.  We sat on that hot bus waiting, waiting, waiting, as our guide became increasingly agitated… because two people were missing.  Which is fine, it’s their trip, they can bail.  But it sure sucked for the rest of us, waiting to move this tour along.  Would’ve been good if they’d told the guide they were bailing, so we wouldn’t have had to wait.  (Fun little secret about me: I hate waiting.  That makes me unique, right?????)

Finally, the guide made us all sign a paper saying that yes, he had waited for a very long time for them before giving up and driving away.  I guess it’s normal for tourists to just not show up at a site?  And… why the signatures?  Like, would these abandoned tourists take legal action?  How the heck long did they expect us all to sit on that bus in the heat waiting for them?  Just thinking about it makes me want to smack ’em upside the head.  (I wouldn’t.  But it makes me want to.)

I was super-annoyed.

I knew exactly who was missing from the bus.

The entire group had had to stay together throughout the entire palace tour before we had a free 20 minutes to take photos before returning to the bus.  Staying together with this particular pair of dawdlers was kind of pesky, because they spent their time either lagging behind (so we had to wait), or loudly talking to each other over the guide (so we could not hear the guide).  These are not behaviours I enjoy in strangers I’m forced to tour with.

The last glimpse I’d had of them, they’d been wandering away, looking confused.  I’m sure they found their way back to their accommodation eventually.  And if they wanted to amble around like they had all the time in the world, that’s their prerogative… but it was also OUR prerogative to NOT WAIT.

But anyway, just so you know, Dolmabahçe is a fantastical sight to see.

view from palace

Andrew wanted me to go down and be in the picture, but I was afraid of losing him.  I was also afraid of missing the bus.  Guess not everyone on this tour was so concerned about that.

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