The traffic noise from the road just below. The exhaust fumes from the chimney just over my roof. And I still don't want to leave. This is another one of those places .....
Taskin ordered me a taxi for 6:30 am. The ferry that I wanted to take doesn't seem to run this early. Ah well, at least I took that ferry coming into Istanbul 60 hours ago. MUST stay LONGER next time ;-)
One last listen to the wailing from the surrounding minarets and I'm trying to shut my mind to this city. Otherwise I'd subconsciously try to miss my flight, LOL.
6:20 The taxi is early so I might as well go.
WTF? LOL. OMG. Ever seen those insane car
|Yes, THIS is the bridge that the tanks rolled on during the military coup last July|
|No tanks today, just an insane cab driver ;-)|
I'm going through security THREE times.
1st time through preliminary security (pretty much the same as regular) to get into the airport building to get my boarding pass
2nd time to get into the building again after having a cigarette
3rd time through regular security to get to my gate.
The metal-detecting security gates here must be especially sensitive because this is the FIRST time ever the metal surrounding the shoelace holes in my shoes sets off the metal detector. I have to take them off and try again !
Now a carton of Winston costs 24 Euros. NO, I will not be able to use them for myself because I still have 5 packs from when I came here AND will buy another carton in the airplane on the way back to Seattle. But I'm sure I can brighten some smoker smiles with a donation of cheap cigarettes in Germany ;-) Now if I was a friend of mine, I'd sell them with at least 100% profit, but then that's not me, LOL.
I miss the take-off again. And regular as clockwork I wake up when the seat-belt-sign goes off when the tin can has reached travel altitude.
What happens after landing in Germany reminds me why I hate the place.
When I arrived from Seattle or Dublin, the passport control booths were reasonably manned. For the whole plane from Istanbul, there are TWO officials working. And they are taking their time. Turkish travelers they ask "What is the purpose of your visit?" "How long are you staying?" "Let me see your return ticket!" Of COURSE they know that no-one carries paper tickets anymore. But they wait for the Turkish travelers to show their return ticket on the cell phone. Fortunately I was one of the earliest arrivals in the passport control queue (there is a reason why I race through airports ;-). God knows how long the people at the end of the queue will have to wait. Turkish faces exclaim in German "Schwachsinn !|"
Have a smoke, and head to the train station. This is the airport train station. They have FOUR (4) ticket vending machines and ZERO (0) humans selling tickets or providing assistance. One of the machines is out of order. WTF? At an airport ?????
Even Germans act glacially at the machines, never mind people who are not used to the complicated menu system. 3 German girls in front of me are buying their tickets separately instead of just buying 3 at once. Of for fuck's sake, GET A BRAIN !!!! The second German girl starts hacking at the machine and the display board tells me I have two minutes before the train leaves. Oh, screw it. Ich fahre schwarz ! (I'm defrauding the German rail system for 2.70 Euro by NOT buying a ticket and NOT having to wait 15 minutes for the next train to Cologne Central). I don't care whether I get fined; I'm too old to put up with bullshit like that.
I get to Cologne Central with 15 minutes to the scheduled departure of the train to Mother-Town. The same story again. Germans and foreigners are at a loss at the dumb machines. Finally it is my turn; I manoeuver my way through the menu system and try to pay the 21.20 Euro fare with a 50 Euro bill. OH No, that would be too easy. "Your chosen method of payment is too big for the chosen fare". YOU DUMB FUCKS! There are no 30 Euro bills in circulation ! What do you want people to do?????
I run to the Post Retailer. Could you please change this 50 Euro bill, I ask. Phony smiles "Oh, NO, we can't". I exclaim 'Of course you can, but you don't want to' and turn on my heel, not before seeing the astonished faces. Someone is calling the spade a spade. The good Buerger are not used to that ;-)
Next store. Let's buy a pain au chocolate ! The cute guy behind the counter doesn't blink an eye when I pay the 1.50 charge with that bloody 50 Euro bill. Good Boy !!! ;-)
Back to the bloody ticket vending machine. An elderly woman says "Oh , you're still here as well". LOL I manage the menu obstacle course again, and pay for my 21.20 ticket with a 20 E bill and a Euro Twoonie. Now the bloody machine finally gives me my ticket.
Oh, I almost forgot. The only reason why I still can get a ticket for the train I originally wanted is that the train is 10 minutes late. Otherwise, NO GO ;-(NO, this is not a freak accident. I hear sighs of despair and puzzled faces from Germans and Foreigners alike at the surrounding machines.
I get to RadStation at 4 pm and even though they can't rent me an e-bike, as soon as I sit on the bike hung like a Christmas tree with backpacks, all the nonsense issues of the last few hours just melt away.
A quick trip to Lidl and I'm set for the night. Wine, buns, cheese, salami, salty pretzels, instant coffee, yogurt. I shy away from visiting mother this evening. It won't do any good.
I'm just on my way to the smoking deck with a full glass of wine to call Mom's legal guardian when the phone rings. Telepathy? It's the legal guardian calling. The stories I hear will not be re-told. Too CRAZY. But the conversation is insightful.
To end the evening, I get (yet) another message from my hotel owner in Istanbul. Usually it's me making fun of my last name. But now he is doing it. WHAT is going on here ...? Does he have a crush on me or is he just trying to advance business? You be the judge:
Goodevening mr King. Here is your home as you know. This is temple of the king. Seeing you back here will make me very happy. I wish happy to you. And you are a happy man. You don't need anything. King Regards aour Royal visitor. Best Regards.
Stranger than Fiction ! But you know what? It feels GOOD being talked to like that ;-) Try finding that in Canada, LOL. Hail Istanbul !