There’s a mother carrying her daughter on her lap next to you. “Atatur! Atatur! ATATUR!” The girl chants furiously.
Her mother corrects her with a sharp: “AtaTURK!”
Outside your window, the source of this spontaneous worship is revealed: there’s a statue of the heavy-browed national treasure right next to the bus- and he’s looking right at you.
About the same time, you smell a bad smell and shoot accusatory glances at the people around you. You set your suspicions on the little girl next to you. Her mother returns your look and the child follows her mother’s line of vision and looks at you too.
“Lana,” your friend asks from the row of seats behind you. “Do you still have your egg?”
Ataturk’s glare lingers on you disapprovingly as you retrieve it from your pocket. The structural integrity of the shell and inner membrane have both been breached and you can’t decide what to do with it. It either has to be eaten or thrown away, and neither option is particularly viable when you’re squashed in the window seat of a packed bus.
So you put it back into your pocket and ignore the problem.
The rest of the journey deteriorated from there, and what should have been a four hour journey (Fethiye to Denizli) ended up taking nine. Notable events included almost getting kicked off the over-booked bus, and switching from a coach to a taxi at the side of a highway in the middle of the night.
The next morning you smuggle another boiled egg out of the breakfast room in your skirt pocket (lesson firmly not-learned) and set off for the travertines. You carry your shoes in a plastic bag and walk along the deposits to the top of the hill. The experience is weirdly pleasant; the texture of the limestone is something like coral, and the thermal waters that flow over your feet wash away the white silt that gets forced up between your toes.
It starts raining as you walk around the ancient site of Hierapolis, and your lack of umbrella quickly becomes an issue. Within minutes your clothes are soaked and your red leather shoes are reduced to soggy bits of liquorice. Your friend has also gone missing and you don’t have any way of re-establishing contact with her.
About twenty minutes after the start of the downpour you begin exhibiting the symptoms of mild hypothermia, so you eat the egg that you have had in your pocket all this time and spend the remainder of your time there sheltering in the entrance to the thermal swimming baths and admiring the fibreglass cockerel in the courtyard.