Turkey: Day 1

Well, I managed to make it to Istanbul despite the extremely bumpy landing. We got off the plane and headed toward the counter to pay for our visas. Fortunately for me I had some American money in my wallet or I might have been in trouble. We then headed for passport control but the only signs we saw were for Iraqis, Indians and South africans. There were other nationalities but I don’t remember which ones. All I knew was I didn’t see the USA and we didn’t see the UK, Poland or Malaysia either. When we asked we were told to stand in the same line. The lying jerks! We were almost in front when someone informed us that we needed to go “over there.”

Over there was an extremely long line. But I have to give them credit for moving people through quickly. They’re better than the states, but don’t tell anyone. We got through immigration with ease and went to collect our luggage. I watched the conveyor belt go round and round but mine wasn’t there. Come to find out it was in lost and found. Why? Who knows? And the fun of trying to talk to someone in English while he’s talking in Turkish was out of this world.

It started to rain a little as I was on my way to the hotel which was quite refreshing. After all, I was coming from inside a volcano. The view was spectacular. The beautiful blue waters of the Bosphorus Strait, people having picnics in the park, historical buildings all around. Life!

I got to the hotel and sat. I was tired, apparently from nothing. My travel agent stopped by and walked with me to my friend’s hotel which was just down the road. I later walked around looking for an ATM. I stopped by a shop and being a stereotypical American, I asked the guy if he spoke English. I was in Turkey and had the audacity to expect people to speak English. I laughed at myself as I pictured being in a YouTube video making fun of that very thing. Anyway, thank God he did speak English and I asked him where I could find a bank machine. He looked at me like I was crazy and his friend told him, “She means cash machine.” In my head I was saying, “I’m American and I mean bank machine.” But then, what did I care? I just needed some money. They pointed me in the right direction and off I went. Unsuccessful in my attempt to get some money, I headed back to the hotel and on my way I stopped at a camera shop. I asked for a memory card and the sales guy gave me a price in Turkish liras. i told him, “Talk to me in dollars.” Fortunately I had enough American dollars to pay for it. I left.

Walking up the hill I was approached by an old lady “selling” tissues. I gave her the change I had in my hand and another one came. She was begging in Turkish and I was steadily replying in English that I had nothing to give her. Hey, I needed some money myself.

I went back to my room, drank some juice and collapsed on the bed. It must have been around 7:00 or 7:30 that I fell asleep. I woke up apparently after midnight, but I was delirious. I couldn’t figure out why it was dark when it was after noon. Didn’t matter, I got back in the bed.

Next, a tour of Istanbul.

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