Monday, November 9, 2009

*yawns* ... *rubs eyes* ...

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?



SkylersDad said...

Hey! She is alive!!

Welcome back and nice to hear from you. As far as the smoking thing, I never could stand smoking. Both of my parents were chimneys, and they both died from it. I remember the old days working in cube city at an electronics firm, and a cloud rising out of each cube.

Christine said...

If I ever take a trip I will not go frequent flyer. I am sure I would get lost with that itinerary. Yup, very sure.

Anonymous said...

Yea! I've missed you so much... I check every night to see if you're back... You can color this old traveler green with envey! (Can you imagine this: I have not left our farm for over a week! :-) )

Mr London Street said...

I think you're the kind of girl who aced those 'what we did on our holidays' assignments at school.

@eloh said...

"French whore".... oh it was like finding a lost friend to read this.

My youngest son had a French girlfriend for nearly three years... I had to ban this from my vocabulary. She was a sweet girl but she smelled like a "whoops"

expateek said...

Thanks for the nice comments, guys -- I was on a pretty extended break!

@eloh -- I thought long and hard about using the expression "french whore" especially after all the blogosphere hysteria recently over the c- word, not to mention my worries about alienating my huge French audience. One must be very very careful these days. (Or NOT in my case.)

MLS -- I think I need more assignments, you slave driver, you!

my west-coast Anon: but your beautiful farm -- why WOULD you ever wish to leave it? There's a lot to be said for being happy at home!

Christine -- it was an exceptionally bad itinerary, that's for sure. Normally it's not quite that complex, but I wanted to get to a lot of places in a short amount of time. Astonishingly, no missed connections! Huzzah!

SkylersDad -- yes, the prison-like atmosphere is a good reminder of what a personal prison the addiction of smoking truly is. I was there *cough* for *cough, cough* research purposes only, and to provide you with some visceral, vicarious excitement!

Tennyson ee Hemingway said...

very nice post indeed. and great to see someone enjoying their trip. so many people complain when they go away, that it's great to hear some positives with travelling.

Madame DeFarge said...

Hurrah to see you back. Boo for the endless travel (which i'm sure was not entirely enjoyable) and yahoo for the last bastion of unhealthiness in Turkey.