Running Scared

Written by on August 24, 2010 in Blog, Travel, Turkey - 9 Comments

After a couple of hours at the beach, I went back to the hotel to shower and do some writing.

I tried to sneak back into the hotel, I didn’t want to see Murat’s beady little eyes glaring at me.

Fortunately, he was sleeping on the couch, so I didn’t have to talk to him.

Door locked, I took a quick shower (no hot water) and was getting dressed when I heard a knock at my door.

I froze.

“Yes?” I called.

“Hi.”

It was Murat. At my door.

I didn’t say anything. I had these images running through my mind of him coming in to my (empty) dorm room with his key … fear ripped through my body.

I said nothing. I dressed quietly, waiting to hear footsteps fade … the elevator door to open.

Nothing.

I had no idea what to do. All I knew was there was no way in hell I would let him come into the room. There was no one in the hotel that afternoon. No one would know anything.

Never in my life have I felt trapped, but I did that Sunday afternoon … wondering how long I needed to wait to emerge safely from my room and avoid the one man who actually inspired fear.

I toyed with getting my little Swiss Army knife out of my pack, but reasoned it was more dangerous to me than anyone else, so instead, decided I would have to exit my room quickly, squeezing through a barely opened door and quickly shutting it behind me so if he was still there, he couldn’t get in the room alone with me.

There was no way I would let him get into my room.

I opened the door just a crack. Silently.

He wasn’t there.

Swiftly, I moved from my room to the abandoned hall, clutching my laptop against my chest and stepping towards the elevator.

Then, Murat appeared in the doorway of the room across the hall.

He has been there the entire time. Waiting for me to exit my room.

I looked at him blankly, silently hating every part of his being.

“What?” I asked him.

“I owe you an apology,” he offered.

“OK.”

“I am sorry. I was stressed this morning. How are you?”

Was this an olive branch? Did I even give a shit?

“I’m great. I had a great day.”

“Can we talk on the terrace?”

“Fine,” I said, sighing.

There was nothing he could possibly say to me to make things OK. He had come to my room. Stalked my door. My guard was on high.

We got into the elevator.

He smiled at me. I responded with a smirk.

Then, he was on me. Trying to kiss me. I squirmed out of his grasp, his lips planting on my cheek.

You’ve got to be kidding me. He didn’t get it. He was relentless.

I said nothing. I was too angry to open my mouth. I didn’t trust what would come out. There have only been a few times in my life where I have been too stunned to talk — all similar situations like the one in the elevator, but even worse — and exited the elevator and walked out to the terrace.

I trailed behind him, seething, as we joined his family at a table.

“Tea? Coffee?” he asked, pretending the little event in the elevator had not happened.

“No,” I replied, not even looking his direction.

“So, I booked some tours today,” he began.

I looked at him, hatred spilling out of me.

Why on earth was he telling me this? I didn’t care.

He rambled on about booking tours as if I was still working for him. As if his apology meant everything was OK.

I said nothing the entire time we were on the terrace and left as soon as he got up.

When Nathan got back that night, I told him what had happened.

I told my parents what had happened. I told everyone I knew. And, everyone said the same thing:

“GET OUT OF THERE.”

After dinner at the restaurant, Ash and I walked over to a hotel down the street and I inquired about rooms for Tuesday and Wednesday, since I couldn’t get back on my bus tour until Thursday morning.

They had rooms. Even that night, if I wanted one.

I figured I would be OK spending one more night there. So long as there were people in my dorm room, I wasn’t worried.

I said goodbye to Ash and headed back up to the hotel.

I walked into the lobby, and there was Murat, at reception, staring blankly at the computer screen.

“I need to show you something on the computer,” he said as soon as I walked in.

Screw you.

“I am going upstairs to get my laptop. When I come down, you can.”

I went to my room. There were no other bags in there. I was the only person sleeping there.

Great.

I went back down to the lobby and opened up my computer. I didn’t have any intention of looking at his computer. I didn’t care. I thought he wanted my help with something.

Three more times has asked me to look at his computer. Well, the third was more of a demand: “Look at the computer and then finish what you are doing.”

Every time I told him I was busy, when I was done I would look.

I didn’t need to answer to him, to do anything for him. I was going against what he was used to — I was telling him no.

Finally, I stood up and went to the desk.

He turned the screen to me.

My heart sank.

There, on the screen was Claire’s Facebook page where I had written: “Guess who got fired? Long story. DO NOT WORK THERE.”

I knew he had tried to convince her to come back and work after she was done touring Turkey and I hadn’t wanted her to make the same mistake I did.

And, now, there was her Facebook page, with my message loud and proud, staring back at me from his account.

I was paralyzed.

“What is this? Why did you write this?” Murat questioned me, squinting eyes and lips curled in anger.

Why? Because you are the creepiest man alive and I think I actually hate you.

I had to answer quickly.

“It’s none of your business.”

“What is this?” He tried again, shoulders shrugging, arms lifted out, expecting me to launch into why I would write such a thing on this girl’s wall.

“It’s none of your business. It was a conversation between she and I.”

Facebook stalker.

“You stay at my hotel …” he began, looking at me with as much hatred as I had looked at him.

“Then I will leave,” I announced, grabbing my laptop and getting into the elevator in one swift move.

I raced into my room, threw everything into my bags. Panicked. He was angry. And, I was scared of his anger.

GO. GogogogogogoGO.

My heart beat in my throat as I rounded everything up, racing against a confrontation I was certain would happen in my room.

I went to the elevator to push the button down. But, right as my finger went to touch the button, it launched back down to the lobby.

He’s coming up here.

In my two euro flip flops, 15 kilo bag strapped to me, messenger bag and purse, I “ran” down the stairs, stopping at the bottom when I caught a glimpse of Murat … getting into the elevator and closing the door.

I froze, hiding behind the corner until I heard the door shut. Then, I booked it out of there as fast as I could, gathering people I had met along the way to walk with me to my new hotel.

The thing about this town is everyone is connected (and I will leave it at that … use your imagination), and that fact alone struck fear into every inch of my body.

I ran to the restaurant after I had checked in, telling Ash what had happened. She secured me an escort back to my hotel.

Never has the fight or flight kicked in so hard.

I looked around corners. I opened my room door and kept it open until I had checked my bathroom. I could just imagine Murat talking to the owner of this hotel, his “friend,” and getting a key and waiting for me like he had earlier in the day.

I checked my landline to make sure it was plugged in. I put my cell phone next to my bed. I told the hotel owner under no circumstances were any of his staff to tell anyone I was here, even if they asked for me by name.

That night, I slept with my backpack propped against the door, heart racing the entire night.

The following morning, I felt better. Until I turned on my computer. One of his staff members had created a Twitter account. I was the only person they were following.

For the second time in 24 hours, my heart sank. They had read everything I had written … I was in BIG TROUBLE.

Tears in my eyes, I deleted any reference (although I never mentioned anyone or anything by name) and blocked them from following me.

I went to my room and cried. Truly scared. I had pissed off the wrong person and I knew it.

Then, I did the one thing every parent dreads. I called home via Skype.

Sobbing, I told my dad what had happened. I gave him Murat’s name, the hotel’s name, the new hotel’s name. He tried to calm me down. Tried to talk me into going to the Greek Islands (which, thanks to Schengen, I couldn’t do). Tried to make sense of everything his very frightened daughter was telling him.

“Go to the police,” he urged. “Tell them what is going on.”

“It won’t matter,” I cried. “They won’t do anything. I am telling you, this town is all connected. They won’t care what some stupid girl is telling them. They will tell him I went to the police.”

I couldn’t come straight out and tell my parents, who were thousands and thousands of miles away what was really on my mind — I was scared for my life. For my safety.

As I talked with my parents, the hotel phone rang.

“Heellloooo,” I answered, trying to sound as un-American as possible.

“Hi,” said the owner’s brother, “Ash is here. Can she come up to see you?”

I told him that was fine and when she got to the door, I made sure it was her before I opened it.

“Hello love,” she said, standing at my door. Then, she took note of my tear-stained face. “I came to make sure you were OK.”

I sat on one of the single beds, and more tears flowed as I explained to her what had happened, how I was now being followed on Twitter, how they knew everything …

It took me nearly the entire day to return to a normal state of mind.

By nightfall, I was back at the restaurant, my little haven of safe. I was booked on the next Fez bus out of town, departing from tourist information, a separate pick-up from the one at the hotel. I had two more nights there. That was all.

In the next 48-hours I learned even more about the twisted world of Kusadasi, the role women are expected to play, that “no” doesn’t mean “no” at all and more.

I didn’t walk anywhere by myself. I didn’t, for one second, let my guard down. I always made sure I knew who was around me, where I was going, where I had been. I opened my door slowly in my hotel room, always peering into the bathroom and opening the closet before I shut the door and was inside.

On my final night in that little town, Ash and I had drinks. She came over early in the afternoon after quitting her job at the restaurant (that story is coming next, promise). She and I sat on the rooftop of Hotel Lima drinking rose and exchanging tales of our lives, then that night, we headed back towards my old hotel to roundup the Fez tour driver to let them know I was here and what had happened. I sent one of my new friends up to the hotel to grab the tour guide.

There was no way in hell I would go near that place.

Wouldn’t you know who walked down the hill to meet the two of us at the T-shirt shop?

SCOTTY.

About the Author

Diana Edelman is a travel writer and expat currently residing in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She is a former career breaker and long term solo traveler. Today, she helps promote responsible elephant tourism and is the co-founder of #RTTC, a weekly chat on Twitter focusing on responsible tourism. When she isn’t writing, Diana handles the PR and social media for Save Elephant Foundation, which runs the popular Elephant Nature Park. Her writing as appeared in About.com, Thought Catalog, The Huffington Post, Matador Network, Travel + Escape, Luna Luna, Vegas Seven, World Nomads, Viator, CheapOair, OneTravel and more.

9 Comments on " Running Scared "

  1. Erin August 24, 2010 at 11:20 am · Reply

    Ugh, that’s a terrible story. I am so sorry that you had to go through that. You definitely did the right thing just to get out of there. I hope things are going better for you now.

    • The Adventures of D August 24, 2010 at 11:43 am · Reply

      Yeah, it sucked going through it. Things are MUCH better now. Much!! Thank you!

  2. Wendy August 24, 2010 at 7:22 pm · Reply

    This is unbelievable! I’m sorry that you had to experience this.

  3. Andi August 25, 2010 at 8:29 am · Reply

    Yikes!!! So glad you got out of there, that guy is the world’s biggest creep!

  4. Chris March 14, 2014 at 11:45 am · Reply

    People can’t read your mind dude. It may sound (and be) rediculous but if you would’ve just been honest and communicative to the man instead of shutting down and assuming he knew what was going through your head it probably would have turned out a lot different.

    • Diana March 16, 2014 at 8:49 am · Reply

      Hi Chris, I made it very clear numerous times to him that I was not interested. He continued to be aggressive with me. I definitely did not keep my mouth shut and gave him numerous chances to act like a gentleman instead of an asshole. But, you are right, people cannot read minds and it is important to communicate.

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