Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Journal notes: Entry into Istanbul, Turkey

This trip to Istanbul could have been a bad trip, but I wouldn’t let it. It began with an email on the morning I was catching the flight to Turkey. My friends from the U.S. were sick and had cancelled their Istanbul portion of the trip. It was disappointing, but I travel well as a solitary itinerant.

Then when I arrived at Queen Alia International airport, I bought a Starbucks coffee and a muffin and somehow I bit my tongue badly. I forget the circumstances but my tongue was bleeding right in the center. It was the type of constant pain that is quite an annoyance. Tongues and mouths heal quickly but I knew this one would last for days.

The flight to Istanbul was fine, but when we landed, it was pouring rain. This was somewhat good news for me, and when I finally got through customs, the sun was shining. That was good because I only brought short sleeved shirts.

When we landed, many flights arrived at the same time, but I was in good shape because I bought an E-visa. Still it took one and a half hours to get through the heavy lines and I chose the wrong line. We had a new employee who took five times longer than any other attendant. He was awful.

But the worst part of it was when I was nearing the end of the line, I noticed my E-visa would not be valid until the following day. I had to exit the line, buy another visa at a higher rate, and then move through the line again. I was unhappy by this point.

The first thing I did when I exited the terminal was to find transportation. I was going to choose the most convenient way of getting to the hotel district. I found a reliable taxi service from airport and I’m glad I did because it took a long time to get to airport and the alternative bus would have taken a great deal longer. I had a nice taxi driver, so I thought. He was jolly and talkative and very pleasant, but when he dropped me off, he was abrasive because he wanted a bigger tip because he has three adult children. I gave him a handsome tip already, but it just happed to be in Jordanian Dinars. The ugly expression on his face is seared into my memory. The hotel attendant apologized for him and said this is not typical of Turks.

In the end, he brought me to the wrong hotel and it took me an hour to find the right one. I was frustrated and annoyed, but I would not let these inconveniences spoil my trip.

When I unpacked, I searched for my IPhone. It was gone. Lost. I contacted Royal Jordanian and they were excellent in helping me, but the phone was gone. Upon further investigation, a Jordanian who lives in London collected it, recharged it, and will bring it back to Amman in August. It is time for me to get a new one. What an ordeal.


Intent upon having a good time, I took my camera, ran up to the Hippodrome and started taking pictures. Argh! There was no battery in my camera. Fortunately, I packed it after recharging it and I was soon off to take pictures. A great adventure was just beginning.

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