Phil —
In Istanbul, I arrived early from Bombay after one of the most miserable loadings I have ever seen — the Turks make the Indians look good!
When I got in early for my transit to Ben Gurion, I was early. The Israeli security — imagine! working behind Turkish customs/immigration at the height of the Erdogan walkout on Simon peres [I don’t blame him for that!] — cleared me quickly. I can’t think why looking at that passport with all the stops!
I went to the gate the Turks had up on the monitor. I checked with the counter, and they said, yes just after the next flight to Germany we will be loading. I sat down to read [snoozed?], suddenly looked at my watch, and realized it was flight time. I walked over to the counter and said, “Is it late?” Something in Turkish and I, of course, shouted. No Tel Aviv flight here, the next flight in a few minutes is for Bengazhi — I kid you not! Where is the Tel Aviv flight? Don’t know. Miles to a monitor, may be the worst designed airport in the world and Erdogan is probably right to want to build another one on IMF loan money.
The monitor indicates the new gate is all the way across the whole damned airport. I am dragging  my beloved old Burberry [which I have already almost lost twice on different checkins and flights] and a worn Brooks Brothers briefcase, too, full of “documents” picked up in Bombay from my old Cultural Freedom crowd [would you believe it! they are still functioning under that name under Tata auspices!], but I start running with all 30 pounds or so of it. I run, pause and breathe, limp, collapse at the new gate — it has just closed by seconds and the SOBs won’t open it, argue with me about the constant gatechanges in Istanbul, and make the very good argument everyone else was on the plane! I had said, as a throwaway line to get sympathy as I had approached, “I am going to have a heart attack.”
Several of the seartwarmers started milling around and started screaming for a wheelchair, which didn;t come for a half hour while I collapse and recuped, and I ride through the whole GD airport, again, like the Queane of Sheba, ferried by a nice, goodlooking young Turkish boy [oh those Turks!] He takes me to the Star Alliance waiting room where there are half a dozen beautiful Turkish maidens [Greek, no doubt!] and keeps insisting, with my demurring, that he come and pick me up for the flight. It was to be six hours — yep! six frigging hours — later for a night arrival rather than late afternoon and the trip to Jerusalem with all those lunatic drivers with the highest accident rate in the wor.ld. I keep saying no — was he getting paid or was he really just a nice kid? I will never know.
Anyways, as they say around here, I go and gorge on the best Greek food I have had in years — everything from domilakis to wonderful Ouzo and wine — and hook up my netbook in a quiet room, admire the changing scenery and all the really weird people around [Eurotrash. Indian migrants, terrorists in sheeps clothing, etc.], snooze, and make the next flight in good time — without the wheelchair or the young man.
But when I asked the cardiologist/company rep, there was no record of my near heartattack [or so I really thought] on my pacemaker when I checked in a couple weeks ago.
Go figure! I thought at least there would have been a bump. Maybe it doesn’t work on Turkish standard time! Or could I have pulled the electric cord out on my chest to my heart through the blood vessel and it got jossled back in place? Who knows? only Tonto..

One response to “Travel

  1. YOC, you’re lucky to have left Turkey alive. Your posts fascinate. I hope you will have something to say about the NYT piece today about no al Qaeda connection to the murder of AMB Stevens.

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