Travel G-spots

MY TRAVEL DIARY: How I killed time in Ataturk Airport Domestic Terminal

Quarter to 9 a.m.

Gawd … 4 hours down. 2+ (nearly 3) more to go.

I am nodding to sleep. I have been nodding to sleep since I step foot in Turkey.

Waiting for my 7th flight out of a total of 11 flights; possibly 13 flights for this entire trip, but I seriously doubt it at this moment as I have just ‘lost’ one day getting acquainted with Ataturk Airport – Domestic Terminal.

pHAque Ataturk Display Board

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

No explanation was given other than the repeated retort of: “flight over-booked”.

How is this even possible?

I have a confirmed ticket … the tour company is not picking up the phone – how typical! I am far from amused having paid premium for single supplement and another premium on top of it for going with  supposedly an agency that caters for solo women travelers – a bent to the truth which I had learned on Day 1 in Istanbul as I was herded with hundreds of other travelers into a restaurant overlooking the Marmara Sea to be organized, number and colour coded according to tour type and language preferences before being lead into respective buses.

“So, this is how the inmates of concentration camps must feel,” was all I can think about totally forgetting at that moment that I had paid for an all women tour.

Turkish Airlines offered to fly me to some place I have no recollection of its name.

I had said “Thanks but no thanks, I do not want to fly into a nearby town.” This is simply because nothing is nearby in Turkey. I know this for a fact so please do not try to fool me.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Silly curious Saudi man seated in front of me is staring hard at me. Even when I look him in the eye, he is not deterred.

hmmmm… I am going to do the yawn experiment.

yes, I can get silly and wicked at times.

ALIEN! He doesn’t yawn back!!!

This is simply impossible. Everyone fails the yawn test.

It’s the most contagious thing ever – the yawn. Normal people yawn at the sight of another person yawning, hearing the sound of a yawn or even reading about yawns … {see… you are about to yawn aren’t you?}

I’ll give it 3 attempts.

If he doesn’t succumb, I am evacuating my seat.

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Alien identity confirmed!

If you thought that was silly, well, try killing 7 hours in an airport with 1 shoeshine kiosk, 1 safe-wrap kiosk, 1 luggage bag store, 2 sort-off newsstands, and 4 cafes – with one that plays MTV on the television set, the other some Italian gondola type serenade, a French brassiere wannabe with techno-house-dance music! and finally the last one with clinical surgery room type lighting with resolute loyalty and support for Rihanna (which I am not a fan and I am gonna come clean and say that I truly adore Chris Brown – woman/wife-beating does not deter me or dilute my affection for him in the least bit.)

Unfortunately the last cafe was where I got my Turkish Airlines complimentary breakfast in the form of a Hindi wrap and Cappuccino that was rescued by two sachet of ground pepper and a third of a sachet of salt. See, Hindi wrap was anything but Hindi … though honestly I have no idea what a Hindi wrap is supposed to be or what to expect (chutney? vindaloo at the least I suppose).

pHaque Complimentary Meal

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

In any case, it looked like chicken and that was the best option behind the glass counter, with some leafy stuff in a flat bread rolled into a ‘bolster’ shape thingy. Sinking my teeth into it …

“bleeessschhhhhh…. YUCKS!!!! ….”

 It’s one of those rotund looking deep-sea fish that pretends it’s a chicken!

eweeeeeee… bleeessschhhhhh… regurgitate NOT!

I hate those cunning fish.

Hard. Dry. Extremely fishy tasting.

God bless me if I ever ended up being a tuna canner’s wife… even in my next life.

As for the Cappuccino, despite being Lavazza coffee beans made with a Lavazza coffee machine, let’s get this straight: Turks are born to make only Turkish Coffee, Black Tea and Apple Tea.

Half an hour later – two geek chats that resulted in 3 different wifi passwords disclosed (yeshhhh!!!! I LOVE and adore geeks, haven’t you noticed?), I expelled the fish in disguise down Ataturk Airport drain pipe with gluey greenish-yellow cellulose that threatens to cling on my tonsils on the way out causing more reflux. 

Deciding to stretch my luck on finding some reading material from the newstand-cum-bookshop and the newstand-cum-toyshop-cum-sunglasses shack, I decided to see how far I’d get with a 2-for-1 postcard deal.

Don’t ask me why I do it. Don’t ask me why I get tempted with such silliness that could put me into a lot of trouble and risking everything. For kicks I suppose is the only honest answer I can muster.

The sweet ol’ chap didn’t know what hit him when we started chatting about Malaysia, Mahathir and Muslims while I had almost accomplished the 2-in-1 postcard mission. Studying his posture, I noted that he is bent over years of hard, honest labour. Immediately I aborted the 2-in-1 postcard deal and paid TL1 for them with a fifth of the TL I had collected over the last hour by lining up abandoned trolleys in their designated places. Yes, Tom Hanks and The Terminal comes to mind … and oh yes, I just spotted one lonesome trolley some 50 feet away at 11 o’clock … heh heh … excuse me, but I have to go ‘rescue’ the TL1 in there!

pHaque Ataturk Trolley Single

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

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Total ‘wealth’ made in 4.5 hours = TL5.

Total spent = TL1.

Even after posting my postcards, I’ll have TL3, going by what Lonely Planet says in terms of postage rates. ahhhHHHH… just nice for a cup which I would pass for cat’s urine.

Or… I could buy the Herald Tribune – the only English reading material other than the translations of the airport signage.

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

Under normal circumstances, I’d make attempts to learn the foreign language. Just enough to get by; deciphering road signs, amenities and menus. But this is not a normal situation and besides I am sleepy. I am not feeling well – queasy from the fish-chicken or chicken-fish and stomach bugs. I am exhausted from lack of sleep.

So right now all I want is some cheap thrills at the expense of others – read: pranks!

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

pHaque Postcard

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

crap! I am poor.

Postage for the postcards were TL3.75!

That’s a total reap-off. This country is expensive or maybe its me expecting more Europe influence standards and services with Asian pricing and not the other way around. But yes, we know from our history classes that Mr. Ataturk was one clever man with a vision.

Oh well, I’ll just have to work harder and by that I mean REAL hard as I spotted a Starbucks tucked by the gates as I was walking towards the mini postoffice. I’m estimating TL8 to TL12 …

That’s more than doubling the effort I had done over the last 4.5 hours and there aren’t many abandoned trolleys around thanks to weak property right laws that has resulted in the proliferation of extremely affordable luggage with rollers and wheels that I bet is more reliable than my costly Samsonite that when bust in Bran… or was it Brasnov?

ah HA!
yes! I shall visit the Arrival Halls below {smirk – I am indeed brilliant at times!}

 pHaqie Ataturk Starbucks

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved

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Jump in the air.

Flip like a pancake. Somersault like a pretzel (rolling on the dirty floor, way passing the 3-seconds rule)

pHaque Ataturk Row of Trolleys

Digital photo © {p}.Haque – All Rights Reserved





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