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Arriving at Istanbul Part two.

by Leelu (6/10/2008)

Istanbul to Antalya

I edge over the red line to passport control, hand the person my passport.  He looks at it, looks at me, finds my visa and stamps it.  As I was forewarned, I do not find it unusual that he does not smile, does not say anything merely hands me back my passport and I am finally admitted into Turkiye!


WOW!! was that ever easy I think as I now start walking hoping that I can read turkish as much as I can when going through the lessons and translations on TC. I pull my 2 cell phones out of my purse and try once again to get them to work on the Turkish cell towers - offffffffffffffffffff .. how can they call these world phones when they won´t even work?


as I am walking and cursing under my breath I see a kiosk for Turkcell, hmmmm .. at this point I am irritated enough i am willing to buy a turkish sim card to get service!! Anyone who has ever left their cell phone at home and has turned around to go get it knowing they will be late for school/work etc knows the thoughts that are going through my head, not to mention the fact of how "naked" I feel without it!!


I approach the kiosk and in very bad turkish / english ask the very good looking man if he can help me get my phones onto the Turkish cell site network.  .. I tell him that I am willing to purchase a Turkish sim card if necessary to make them work, he does not look up from what he is doing, the next thing I know is Voila!! one of my cell phones is now on turkcell network and is working!! I almost break into a dance on the spot - yeaaaaaaaaaaaaa now I am not alone in Turkey, I can reach out and touch someone again!!!


I thank him and ask him if I owe him anything for his trouble - I am waved off with a no and a smile.  WOW - at this point I am almost in shock and am thinking to myself, are all turks this hospitable? As I am walking to the domestic terminal I walk past the place where the Turkish flags are flying and realize I really did make it here - those are definitely NOT the stars and strips flying out there!! I smile to myself thinking you really did it Leelu! You just flew 7400 miles across the atlantic, across Europe to Turkey!! I watch people as I am trying to find my way to the correct gate.  I sit down pull my laptop out of its rolly polly laptop bag and login to the wireless network that is available and start checking emails, log into MSN and check what is happening on the TC website. I message my daughter to let her know I arrived safely and am now waiting to get onto my final plane ride that will take me to Antalya. 


I call the property manager to let him know I have arrived in Turkey and found my way to the domestic terminal and confirm that the car rental company will be waiting for me with the car.  I get my directions to Gazipasa and settle in to do some people watching.  I notice that I have stepped back in time to when men lift things for women, carry their shopping bags and are very courteous.  I also spy a place I can get something to drink, it was a long flight and I am thirsty, so off I go wondering if I am going to be able to order something without saying the wrong thing!! everything I have learned here on TC gave me the ability to read Turkish and grasp what was on the menu, however I only could capture certain words.  That gets me thinking again, oh good job lulubell now you are going to starve to death!! LOL why could you not travel somewhere you could at least understand the language!! I decide that I will just have Turkish kahve, after all how wrong can you go with coffee?  The sales girl says something to me in Turkish and it is then I realize -- duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh lulubell you did not learn your NUMBERS very well!! what in the name of God did she just say? "pardonez moi?" whaaaaaaaaaaaat where in gods name did THAT come from? YOU are in TURKEY you idiot I think to myself, WHY are you speaking french and thinking in french? I smile again and ask her "kaç tane? and hold out multiple turkish bills so she can take what is needed for me to pay for my items.  It is then that I realize I have a this iddy biddy cup that looks like it belongs in a doll house for my coffee and a glass of water.  Oh way to go you just paid for a doll house cup of coffee!! sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeesh .. I take my items and go sit down. Now you would think that as I have had Cuban coffee in Miami, Italian espresso in NYC, the typical american drip and of course Starbucks that I would know why I had been given a doll house cup and saucer! I drink some water and then try the coffee .. OMG I have got to learn how to make this!! What a wonderful taste, even if it WAS only 3 mouthfuls.  I decide that I have GOT to have another one of those!! I go back and order another one and this time the girl is looking at me like I have bumped my head!! I smile back and we once again do the me holding out money so she can take what she needs for me to pay for my items.  Thank GOD Turks are honest people!!!  I once again take my baby cup and water and go sit down at a table and drink them.  The whole time I am thoroughly enjoying my kahve.  I finish it and notice my gate is filling up so it must be soon we are to board. 


The flight attendant says something and I see people start to get up, I do the same and "try" to proceed to get in the line.  I almost get bowled over by the rush of people, whoaaaaaaaaaaah I´m thinking why is everyone in a rush to get on the plane? I hand the attendant my final boarding pass and passport and proceed down the boarding tunnel.  I get to the end and realize there is no plane attached to it I must now go down the steps, cross the runway to my plane and then go up more steps to board the plane.  Well this is new I think to myself .. I´ve never had to walk the runway to get to my plane and am instantly reminded of the old 1960´s movies where everyone had to walk to the plane to board it.  I find my seat and get settled in for the flight.  it is then that I notice that I´m getting a little jumpy - not the bad jumpy where you hear a noise and jump but more like I am speeding along.  uh oh I think to myself I should have eaten while I was waiting my sugar is dropping what am I going to do NOW?  Then I realize I have a protein bar in my purse for the just in case.  I eat it as we are taking off for Antalya, as I am looking out the windows of the plane I get a good view of how LARGE Istanbul really is, it appears to spread out forever, I see the buildings, the highways, the bridges the whole time thinking it is definitely NOT what I expected.  As I am looking down I get what I believe are my first views of the Mediteranean.  Oh how beautiful I think to myself, I wonder when they are going to serve lunch?


I eat lunch and while I am sitting there wondering why the food has not taken effect yet I remember my 2 cups of Turkish kahve. Duuuuuuuuuuuuuh no wonder you are jumpy and shaking,  you idiot I think to myself it is the caffeine in the kahve!! oh well I think not much I can do about it now but wait it out. 


As we start our approach to Antalya I notice the mountains we are flying over, the land below me.  If it is this beautiful when I am on the ground then I do believe I have landed in paradise!

Of course getting OFF the plane is the same as getting ON it, except there are buses waiting for us now.  Oh greaaaaaaaaat how do I know which bus to get onto I think as I see people standing by the buses with big chalk board looking signs .. sigh .. I start walking towards the buses and notice that it has english writing also. Thank God I think to myself this makes it soooooooo much easier!!! I board my bus so that we can be driven to the terminal where our luggage is to come out.  I get my luggage and a luggage carriage thing and start out of the terminal looking for the car company person that holds the car I am going to use to get from Antalya to Gazipasa.  Yeaaaaaaaaa I think to myself as I see a man  holding up his little board with my name on it.


I get all the car dealings dealt with and after they drive me to a gas station so I can put gas in the car - it is of course sitting on exercise. We exchange phone numbers and am given the details of how to return the car at the end of my visit.


As I sit there fiddling with the radio knobs and getting my seat adjusted, mirrors adjusted I think to myself I have all my bags loaded into this little car and I am in Turkiye!! is it really true? did I finally make it?  ..


Then another thought process goes through my mind .... OMG now I have to DRIVE in Turkey!!! was I out of my mind? did I not pass the peace pipe enough when I was booking all these things? why did someone not shake me? .. are just SOME of the thoughts that are going through my head at this time.

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