Good lord, where in the world have I been? Yes, yes, I can hear you asking. People are begging, simply begging for a new post. I should have named the last post "National Poetry Month" so as to get a bit more mileage out of it.
But mileage, my friends, is something I do know something about, seeing as how I logged in about a trillion airmiles over the last couple of weeks. I feel more at home in an airport than anywhere else these days. That in-transit feeling is so delicious, and the coffee shops and bookstores are so convenient and tantalizing. Not to mention the wine bars and the tasting of single-malt whiskeys in duty-free. And the trying on of perfumes. I usually smell like a French whore by the time I get to the boarding gate.
Mr D and I had planned an exciting synchronized swimming of the air, where he flew round the world westward, via Bangkok, Hong Kong, Malmö and Copenhagen, and I flew eastward through... well, a lot of places actually... and we met in Athens. How romantic!
And yet. My flights were done via frequent flyer miles, friends, so you know what THAT means.
Yep. More legs on this trip than on a centipede.
O'Hare to Toronto to London Heathrow.
London Gatwick to Split, Croatia.
[Water ferry to Supetar, Croatia.]
[Fast catamaran back, from Milna to Split.]
Split to Zagreb to Frankfurt to Leipzig by air.
Leipzig to Dusseldorf to Frankfurt to Athens.
Athens to Istanbul to O'Hare. It's kind of in a straight line, right?
Of course it was all very romantic after we'd slept off all the jet lag and had loads of ouzo and baklava (not at the same time, natch!) We saw the Parthenon and the squid and fish market and the oracle of Delphi and the mask of Agamemnon and you know, all those Greek things. I'll tell you about that another time.
Because you don't want to hear about that, do you? No, you want to hear about my brief stay in a TURKISH prison! Because what would travel with me be, without some frisson of excitement for you? So you can shiver and quake in your boots, and think, "Thank God it wasn't me! Thank my lucky stars it was expateek instead!"
So. I even have pictures.
If you're in the airport in Istanbul, after you have some baklava and try all the flavors of Turkish delight in the Olde Bazaar, you should take a little walk past Burberry, Chopard, Longchamps, Boss and Fendi. Go past the duty-free, testing perfume samples as you wander through, and making sure that you spray each perfume on a different part of your wrists or the backs of your hands. Concentrate deeply to remember which perfume you sprayed where, and stare intently at the bottle of the one you like the most. You will remember the name of this perfume for maybe 2 minutes. Maybe less.
Go through the food court, and take the escalator up. Turn left, and walk through the upstairs cafe, toward the far back left corner of the room. Up three steps, and voilà, you are in the very last smoking lounge remaining in a European airport!
The Turkish government just recently outlawed smoking in many public places, and of course, Turkish restauranteurs, with their hookahs and fiendishly enthusiastic smoking Turkish clientele, were up in arms. Apparently, sales of outdoor patio heaters and cafe umbrellas are now through the roof. And yet, strangely, the government have kindly provided Turkish airport visitors the option of smoking al fresco on airport property. It's like a trip back in time!
And see how appealing it is?
Very prison-like, yes? Reminded me a bit too much of the Woking jail, in terms of confined spaces. Yet I must admit that the Woking jail's air was much cleaner, a clear benefit resulting from the United Kingdom's forward-thinking health concerns for incarcerated criminals like myself.
I just thought you'd want to know, in case you have some time to kill next time you're in Istanbul. Not that anybody smokes anymore. For pete's sake. What kind of girl do you think I am?