empresspatti (empresspatti) wrote,

Transit to Istanbul

I was predictably groggy, miserable and teary on the early morning cab ride to the airport. It was hard to say goodbye to Greece.

Since my first reading of “Mythology” by Edith Hamilton in 6th grade, I’d wanted to go to Greece. I had wondered if actuality would live up to my expectation. Reality was so much better than I anticipated!

I can say this with assurance; the universe favors Greece. IMHO Greeks invented beauty, culture, government and great food. What a fabulous place and people. I can’t wait to go back. I’M OFFICIALLY A FAN OF ALL THINGS GREEK.

I was excited to be going to Istanbul. We had to change planes in Bucharest, Romania. Apparently, 400+ years of Turkish occupation translates into a big ol no direct flight grudge. Who knew?

Breezing through passport control, I got to the airline security. The nice lady in the uniform discovered that I had 5 cans of Greek honey in my carryall. I hadn’t thought to pack it in my checked luggage.

I was separated from Mr. W and given the choice – toss the honey OR: Go back through passport control, to the airline desk, check my honey as extra luggage, return through passport control and hopefully make the plane.

I knew Mr. W wanted to kill me but no way was I tossing Greek honey.

So there I was, flapping around the airport at a dead run, out of breath, sweating profusely, filling out forms and paying excess (ouch! I will rip my lips off before I ever confess the cost to Tom) baggage fee.

The Grand Finale: jumping a 500-person passport control line to make my plane. Good thing I have iron nerves in stressful situations and hootspa coming out my um, ears.

The very best part of the whole episode occurred once I got through airline security, redux. I was standing at Gate A1 and my flight departed from B46. Y’all should have seen me, zooming through the airport like a crazy person. I made the flight with 10 seconds to spare. Mr. W was MIFFED.

The layover in Bucharest was interesting. I’m always up for getting my passport stamped, so I insisted (Mr. W is a saint) on going through passport control during the layover. All we did was walk around outside the airport and help a young father with kids, suitcases and stroller, but I can say I’ve been in Romania.

We came back in and settled at our gate. Minutes later there were 400 US Marines converging on the duty shop chocolate and the ice cream stand.

Naturally, I found a cute Marine to talk to.

“I heard one of y’all being told ‘Relax your eyes, Sergeant.’ What does that mean?” I asked him.

My Marine laughed. “We haven’t seen real girls in a long time. He must have been boggling to much.”

Mr. Marine told me they were coming off a 7-month tour of Afghanistan, heading back to the US. He talked about how excited he was to see his family and his dog. He asked what we were doing there and I felt ashamed to tell him we were on vacation.

How weird must it be, to leave a war zone and run into Americans who are never touched by the fighting?

We went through one last security check before boarding our flight to Istanbul. There was a big plastic cube filled with confiscated items - switchblades, plastic guns, knives, handcuffs, brass knuckles and a load of other scary stuff.

I started giggling; after all, my whole morning had been about 5 cans of honey. I pulled out my camera and took a picture. Cue a youthful security guard chasing me down. The Swiss tourists were horrified.

“You really are on a spree today,” said Mr. W. Luckily for me, he was more amused than annoyed.

Turns out that even though the contraband was in a big clear plastic cube in a public place, pictures were a no-no.

That poor Security Guard! I had him trapped. I cheerfully erased the offending picture. Then I made him look at every picture I took in Greece until he was literally saying, “All right, alright, that’s fine, you can go now.”

“Oh!” I told him, “Here are my kids.” He was backing away from me. I have that effect on cute young men.

“Doing your best to get arrested?” Mr. W said. He’d had quite the day with his insane wife.

“Well,” I told him, “I’m often underestimated as a credible threat.”

So here is our first look at Istanbul. Imagine how happy I was to find out our hotel was next to a Pudding Shop.

This fountain was smack in the middle of Sultanahmet.

The AyaSophia at night was beautiful

We ate dinner on this street.

I liked this lamp shop. I was looking forward to lamp shopping in the Grand Bazaar.

It had been quite a day!
Tags: transit to istanbul
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