Saturday, January 9, 2010

Turkey. No, not the food you eat.

Because I had purchased two round trip tickets to facilitate my Turkish adventure with Caroline on the way back, I had to check into my Egypt Air flight like I would any other flight. There was no easy connection. I had to collect my luggage, go through customs, find the counter, check in, go through security and make it to my next flight. I had 3 hours. Well obviously I made it since I’m here now. But it was quite a stressful time. I had to buy a $20 visa at the airport so I could leave the secure area to get my bags and check back in! Thankfully there was no paperwork. I gave him my $20 USD and the guy a little sticker in my passport. No questions, nothing. Fine by me and I can use the same visa when I go back so it was really not all that inconvenient. I was however a bit concerned that the control to get back into the airport would question why I entered and exited their country in a span of 2 hours. But again. Nothing. If they don’t ask, you don’t open your mouth. The other challenge to this whole escapade was managing all my luggage. I travel light, but I was hauling a cooler full of lab supplies with me. If it wouldn’t have cost me a fortune, the convenience of shipping it would have been much preferred. Anyway, they had those great little luggage carts and all you needed was a little coin to unlock it from the next one, like they have all over Europe and at Aldi’s in the states. Of course I have no Turkish coins, so I try putting a quarter, my only quarter in the slot. Outcome? Stuck. Well there were actually 2 slots on each cart and so this Turkish guy comes up behind waving his little coin around and I’m thinking oh how nice… he’s going to help me. Wrong. He uses his coin to unlock the cart and away with it he goes and I left stunned; Quarterless and cartless.

In the end, I decided the cart wasn’t going to be worth the hassle and that I would just carry my 120lbs of luggage to wherever I needed to go by the strength of my own being. I managed all right, but the distance was little farther than I had guessed… after dropping my bags at the counter I was left hobbling funny when I tried to walk because my muscles were so sore. In hind sight, I should have tried harder to get a coin that would work. But I have to say the looks I got from the people in the airport watching me struggle were really entertaining. It was especially awesome when I walked up the tourist information desk to find out where I could find the Egypt Air counter. I had this huge goofy grin on because I knew how ridiculous I looked. I put down the cooler, let out a sigh and chuckled for a second before asking my question. The ladies that helped me must have thought I was quite a trip… My 3 hour time in Turkey = priceless.

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