But before that, we had to fly in. Because Ephesus is an ancient city, there aren’t any hotels nearby; we’d arranged to stay in the closest town nearby, Selçuk. Night had fallen by the time we’d arrived in Izmir, and trains and buses had already stopped running. Knowing this, I’d arranged a pickup from the airport from our hotel.
The hourlong flight was uneventful but unpleasant. It was hot and stuffy, and the plane went in circles for at least half an hour without updating us as to when we would land. It was less uneventful for Andy, who, unfortunately, had eaten something earlier that day that didn’t sit well with him. He had the middle seat, and urgently scooted past me in the aisle to run to the airline bathroom.
Despite the small size of the airport, plenty of confusion ensued when we arrived. I didn’t see a driver waiting for us at arrivals. Someone claiming to be from the hotel approached me, but he was holding up a sign with a different person’s name on it. After 30 minutes of confusion that involved talking to different people at the airport, calling the hotel, and fending off the guy who insisted he was our driver, we found our actual driver. He’d been outside waiting for us the entire time.
I expected him to lead us to a small bus or a black car, but our driver led us to the door of an beat-up old silver-colored economy car. Another guy was seated in the front passenger’s seat. Our driver mentioned he was picking up another woman at the other terminal; he explained that the guy seated next to us in the front (I'll call him guy #2) would be driving us to a nearby gas station to wait while he picked up the other lady. Then our driver left to find her. We headed to the nearby gas station, where we parked at the side of the lot (we weren’t getting gas, after all), and guy #2 went inside to use the bathroom. This was the gas station: