Day 1 – Home to Istanbul Ataturk Airport

15 04 2012

Arriving at the airport was pretty much a routine affair. No different to the hundreds of other visits to Manchester Airport that I have been subjected to. Indifferent but very different. My usual attire is not boots and a faded Belgian army jacket !  In true style things did take a turn for the weird. Standing blurry eyed in the Check-In line, I noticed the Ground Crew frantically wrapping strange shaped parcels for the group ahead of me. My synapses fire slowly at the best of times, and they were definitely on a go-slow this morning.

Thirty seconds later my brain cell joined the dots. A puff of smoke emanating from my ears and I realized that they were false legs. There must have been around 10 legs in total, wrapped in blue plastic on a luggage trolley. What horrendous atrocities must the poor souls needing these replacement limbs have experienced ? Whilst we moan and pule about our ‘crap lives’, remember that there is always someone less fortunate than you. Of course the alternative explanation is that these are the guys who make you legless when you are too drunk !!

Turkish Airlines  did their level best to undermine my Buddhist patience and tolerance. Leaving Manchester 90 minutes late, they announced that we were being diverted to Izmir due to “weather” in Istanbul. Reassured as I was that Istanbul actually gets weather, no further explanation was provided. I had the misfortune of visiting Izmir many years before. It was a dreary port city, grey and wet. I had sailed in from Piraeus (Greece), working on a vessel. Arriving into Izmir, I was greeted by gruff Customs & Immigration types who said…and I quote “We are not happy with how you have entered the country”. The official and the agent disappeared somewhere and I am sure that something went into the customs officials hand that made the matter go away. Of course I could just be cynical about such things ? The agent then wreaked his revenge by making me eat caramelized sheep brain…mmm tasty.

As usual, I digress somewhat.

We landed in Izmir and refueled, then the “weather” had cleared in Istanbul. Climbing up into the sky, I was again hopeful of reaching ‘Nam. Approaching Istanbul we were placed in a ‘stack’, circling the airport waiting for a slot. The in-flight map became a hot topic then, as we watched circles appear behind us. An English guy next to me made a wonderful observation. “I wonder if they will draw a cock, or a big middle finger”. Crude, but very very funny.

We landed a minor 4 hours late. Luckily I had a 7 hour lay-over so my flight wasn’t affected. However it was complete chaos in the airport, so I found a quiet corner and relaxed.

Let’s see if the next flight is on time…

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