GPS Cehennemi (n.: GPS Hell)

If you’ve ever used a GPS, you probably know what I’m talking about.  It’s when you’re following all of the GPS’s directions and suddenly in that snarky voice she says, “when possible make a u-turn” or “turn left” when a left turn would put you off the side of a cliff or, my personal favorite, when the little icon of the car starts spinning in circles and the directions just say “proceed to street x”, but you have no idea which direction that is because your car is spinning!  If you’ve used a GPS and don’t know what I’m talking about, then you might be the luckiest person in the world or just really oblivious when you drive.  I’m just sayin’…

I never used a GPS until I moved to Europe three years ago.  That’s right, I managed to navigate DC and drive cross-country without a GPS.  Which makes me rather proud of myself.  I bought one because I knew I wouldn’t understand all the street signs — I don’t do German — and didn’t like the idea of getting lost somewhere I had no idea how to even ask for directions.  And now, I’m totally hooked.  Which is really frustrating because I find GPSes (GPSi?) really annoying, frustrating and infuriating.  So much so that I actually named my last GPS so when I inevitably started screaming irrationally at the inanimate object for getting me lost or giving me bad directions, I felt a little less crazy.  Yes, I know that probably makes me crazier but it makes me feel better.  It’s that or going all Office Space on it.

Still of David Herman, Ron Livingston and Ajay Naidu in Office Space

Remember this? Who hasn’t wanted to do this to a GPS? Image from

So add to all these usual frustrations of the GPS that ours appears to be an American GPS loaded with (out-of-date) Turkey maps.  And it cannot for the life of it understand one-way streets or distances.  And one-way streets are an art here in Turkey.  As in sometimes a street that you’re driving on just randomly turns into a one-way…. not necessarily the way you’re driving.  And the grid system here isn’t as grid-like as we silly Westerners are used to.

We went out for a morning drive to explore a few sights and some shopping.  Needless to say, it didn’t go as planned.  Our first attempt was the old fort in Ulus, but we were dashed by construction.  Can I ask a question to all my Turkish readers?  Do you all not have “detour” signs?!  We got stuck at the top of the hill and had to go back down the wrong way on a one-way street and were never able to loop back up to the fort from the other way — no matter how we tried.  Which of course resulted in a very unhappy Mr. Awesome.

So we gave up and moved on to option two: Siteler.  Where rumor has it there are tons of furniture stores.  Even those with unfinished wood where you can buy furniture at cost and then finish on your own (sounds like the best place for a simple kitchen table, right?!).  Our GPS did not take us there.  It tried to take us somewhere way far away… we went along with it until I finally looked at the directions and realized it was having us leave the city and continue on twenty more minutes.  That didn’t sound right!  And resulted in a very unhappy me.

Attempt number three: Ikea.  While our GPS didn’t get us exactly there (what GPS doesn’t have Ikea in it? an obviously outdated one!), it got us close enough to figure it out on our own by following signs.  After driving around, getting lost and turned around for over an hour, I’ve never been so happy to see an Ikea in my life!

And how great is it that all Ikeas are the same? It’s like being home.

Where we finally got breakfast!  Which resulted in happy Mr. Awesome and happy me.  Even if it was machine-made lattes and hot dogs.  Yum-oh!

The mustard was surprisingly delicious!

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