It was maybe the fourth or fifth time that our bus stalled that I realized this problem wasn't going to go away quickly. We were on the highway south of Izmir on our way to Aphrodisias when the bus stalled once, twice, three times. It continued to stall every 500 metres or so, slowly puttering to a complete stop in the right lane of a busy highway.
It seemed our bus didn't like hills and was protesting even the slighest inclines. Slowly, slowly, we'd hear the engine slow, then sputter to a stop. Then the driver attempting one, two, three, four times to start it again.
As the driver attempted to get the engine to turn over, everyone on the bus clucked their tongues but said nothing. No one asked if the driver or the tour operator had called a mechanic. No one asked if they had any inkling what the problem was. No one asked what the contingency plan was for situations like this. And neither the tour operator nor the driver thought to let us know what, exactly, the plan was if the bus left us stranded.
So maybe you can imagine my surprise when we finally made it to the restaurant for lunch (the price of which was included in our tour ticket) and everyone started clamoring for more of this and different of that.
"Why isn't the water included in the price?"
"What's wrong with this soup? It tastes funny."
"Can we have another salad? This one is too small."
"We don't like the set menu. Can we have pide?"
I mean, really, it was hilarious. No one bothered to ask about the problems with the bus, no one wanted to know if a mechanic was coming to fix it, but by golly they sure let it be known that their soup tasted funny!
As for me, I wasn't really too bothered by the whole thing. On the bus I had my iPod and episodes of "Modern Family" to keep me busy, and I found the lunch to be positively delightful, particularly the dessert.