Bus from Sanliurfa to Gaziantep to Kilis
“We should have stayed in Urfa for another day,” spoke sick Chaya as we nested into a room at the Otel Istanbul in Kilis, on the Syrian border.
It sucks to travel sick. Traveling is the last thing that a sore throat, pukey, coughing person wants to do. I know the felling well, it seems to go against every self preservation urge that a human has.
But when the Road calls,it calls. We absconded in Sanliurfa for far too long. Both of us wanted to move.
Wade from Vagabond Journey.com — Travelogue
in Kilis, Turkey- April 9, 2009
Otel Istanbul, 20 Lira ($12.60) double room
After a haphazard go at trying to find a couchsurfing host in Gaziantep, 65 km north of the Syrian border, we received a phone call in the morning from a willing CSer.
Actually, we missed the call. I called the fellow back and he sort of said that he could host us for the night. But just as we were arranging the details, my phone went dead. The fellow did not call back.
We figured that we would go to Gaziantep and try to route the fellow out when we got there. We were going that way, anyway.
A shabby dressed man meets us in the street before we arrived at the bus terminal in Urfa.
“Where are you going?” he called out.
“I’m going crazy, wanna come?” I respond.
Answering a runner’s question with a riddle is just the boost that I need to get by him and on to people they want to talk with. The runner was properly confused by my reply. I got passed him and to a bus company official.
(I learned this trick from my grandmother.)
“Antep,” I cried out as I met a group of bus men in shirts and ties. They pointed me into the office of the Tatlises bus company.
I bought two tickets to Gaziantep for 10 Lira ($6.30) each. This was a no argue price. Antep is 2 hours from Urfa, 5 Lira per seat hour is the going rate for bus transport in Turkey.
“We are foreigners here, we are foreigners in Germany,” a second generation German Turkish woman told me as I sat waiting for the bus to leave. Her parents moved to Germany a long time ago, and had a daughter who was destined to always be an outsider. The lady had a gaggle of Turkish German kids running all around the bus office waiting room. The lady also had an old mother who kept staring at me like I was some kind of cockeyed apparition. Eventually she asked her daughter about my ears.
One of the little girls asked if I could speak another language. I said Chinese. She asked me to say something. I told her that she was very beautiful. The little girl then scrunched her nose up and everyone sort of just looked at me like I was some sort of creep.
I thought I was saying something nice.
It was then time to be moving on to find another party to talk with.
I walked out to where the buses were parked and soon found myself in around a dozen different conversations. I struck up a pipe and chatted until the bus was ready to depart.
The ride to Gaziantep was laid back and beautiful. I watched the scenery drift passed as the warm afternoon sun sparkled everything and everything.
You could not pay money for a better show.
The plains of Harran lead down into Mesopotamia, and I rode towards Syria.
The Gaziantep bus station is probably 20 km from Gaziantep. The Turks have this habit of placing their large bus terminals as far away from the cities they serve as possible. I walked out of the station in search for a place to pee. The bathrooms in the terminal were charging a whole Lira for admittance. I looked for a tree. I found a shopping mall. I looked out and could see my destination city far off in the distance.
“What do you want to do?” I asked Chaya. “Do you want to try to call this couchsurfing guy, go all the way into town, and find him just to have to wake up and the crack of dawn to leave again?”
We debated whether to press on to the border town and get a hotel, or to stay for free in Gaziantepe. We consulted the LP that the manager at the Dogu Hotel in Urfa gave to us. I flipped to the Kilis section, it started with the words, “Go there now.”
That was all the direction we needed. We went there. Found a 20 Lira a night double room without difficulty and a 2 Lira bowl of corba lentil soup at a restaurant around the corner.
I have no idea why the Lonely Planet wrote of this place so highly. From what I could tell, Kilis is just another grungy border town. I thought that I may have missed something until I arrived in Aleppo, Syria to find that other travelers also discovered Kilis to be another grungy border town.
I suppose the guidebook writer must have gotten laid there.
Men at the bus station in Sanliurfa, Turkey.
Bus from Sanliurfa to Gaziantep to Kilis