We left Bursa the way we came but without the guy in the bad suit. Indeed, though we did see him when we were leaving. We were carrying our bags down to the bus stop and this time we saw him sitting on a concrete wall, smoking a cigarette, no shoes, and wearing some scruffy clothes. He smiled and waved and it took me a second to place him because the bad suit had been so powerful. I waved back and Hanane said “Who was that?”
She remembered him once I told her. We grabbed a cup of coffee and then caught the bus back to the Bursa Otogar. The driver the day before hadn’t taken our tickets and so I was able to use them again. City bus tickets have to be purchased in advance, which I find to be incredibly odd and inconvenient. Luckily, we still had ours.
At the Otogar we bought some Turkish Delight and bought our bus tickets to Manisa for 20 lira each. I know I’ve been talking about Manisa quite a bit and that it is firmly not on the tourist trail. Although, I’m of a mind that it should be.
The reason we went to Manisa was so that we could have job interviews with a school there. I’d been emailing the director for a while and he had said to come anytime and they would show us around. So we did.
The bus ride there was beautiful. We passed some mountains and streams and finally we came to a city with a large mountain behind it. It just felt good to me. I called the director and he gave us directions. A young Turkish guy from the bus helped us and shared the cab with us. I had to insist on paying for the cab. Turkish people really are the most hospitable and helpful I’ve ever met.
We got to the school and met with the director. He helped us find a cheap hotel with everything we wanted. Manisa isn’t loaded with hotel options, so this was a very nice thing. Even with his help it was a very plain hotel room and cost us 60 lira for the night. The Otel Emirhan.
Manisa is primarily a business city and so it doesn’t have all the cheap or luxurious options for travelers that other cities in Turkey have. Otel Emirhan was fine and offered us a/c, television, breakfast, wi-fi, hot water showers, and a decent bed in a clean room.
It had been me that had the interview, but we both ended up getting jobs! We’re moving to Manisa, Turkey! That night we had dinner with new friends.
In the morning we had a very nice walk through the town where we found plenty of shops, movie theaters (that even sometimes have films in English), big green parks, a beautiful old mosque, and a lively souk filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, and more.
We also came across some very strange things…a statue of a man called “Tarzan of Manisa” whom I’ll be writing a future post on and this guy:
We agreed to come back and start teaching in the fall and they agreed to give us jobs, help us with residence permits, and housing. I’ll be heading back in just a few weeks and Hanane will follow a month after that so I can make sure everything is as it seems.
When we told people we later met that we had been in Manisa or were moving there, their typical reaction was “Why?” and that’s how we found out that Manisa is famous for being the home to crazy people.
It’s also in the mountains, has plenty of hiking nearby, wild horses, it’s a 30-minute bus ride from the beach city of Izmir, and in ancient times Manisa was where Turkish Sultan’s used to undergo their Sultan Training. Furthermore, Manisa was named one of the best cities to do business in for all of Europe. So,it all seemed pretty great to us.