Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Back In The 'Bull: 2011

It's fucking hot. The airport was crowded (a small haci flight with their endless checked plastic bottles of holy water, dazed walking patterns and holier-than-thou pushing style, plus a flight from either Iran or Iraq, which has a special passport control area wherein like a thousand people comprise a heaving, shoving mass about 10 feet square, with assorted children and burquas flitting around the edges, in a giant space that could easily accommodate them if they believed in the queue) but we breezed through so fast we beat BE and MIL to the greeting area.

I accomplished this partly by cheating, where I abused LE's citizenship status by getting us into the citizen passport check (around 7 people waiting) instead of the foreigner passport check (around 50,000 people waiting). The officer kept tossing our documents back to us disdainfully, which I took personally, especially because LE has just gotten tall enough to peek over the top of the counter and any small, cute part of him is usually enough to melt the coldest officer heart. But as soon as we passed, the officer started yelling at another guy that he'd been waiting an hour for his break, so then it was okay and I felt better. At least he didn't tell me to fuck off because he needed a piss and a cigarette.

All here!
The other part that made it so quick was out of my hands: this was the first trip in 3 years where none, yes, NONE of my bags went missing. Last year, all of them went missing. In previous years, it was just some of them, but missing bags means waiting hopefully at the carousel for up to an hour and a half, and eventually coming to accept that none of the bags that keep coming around will be mine.

If there is a large crowd waiting for bags, it doesn't mean yours will come eventually. It means everyone's bags are lost and you'd better freaking hurry up to the Havaş lost luggage office, skipping the line waiting politely outside the window and muscling your way in to cheerfully grab a passing worker to sort things out. You have to get into the office before everyone else realizes they have to actually go into the office (the window is just a structural feint or distraction, as no worker ever goes near there). The worker is always happy to deal with a cheerful foreigner rather than attempt to help the increasingly angry and bigoted crowd of foreigners in the window. Sometimes, if I've made a foreign friend while waiting for baggage, I'll get him/her sorted out while I'm at it.

Anyway, lost bags have become so much a part of the Turkey entry routine that it was a bit of a shock getting through without it. And all the foreign friends I made while getting bags also got their bags, so I didn't have to worry about leaving anyone in the lurch.

I hasten to add that the Turks are not in the least at fault for the lost baggage. They're super-champs about finding stuff and delivering it to your door with a smile (though they do dick you around quite a bit until they have the bags where they can see them so it's pointless to call). The worst lost bag delay I ever had on the Turkey side was when it dumped a foot of snow and their home delivery trucks couldn't get through, but even then, they phoned several times with weather-based ETAs. It's the foreign airlines, in particular Delta (who are quick to blame it on KLM and Air France) and United (who always blame it on Lufthansa). The apparent purpose of so-called "partner airlines" is to create the ability to blame fiascoes on the other airline. British Airways also loses stuff too, but that tends to be more of a Heathrow problem than BA's. Anyway.

I get to pull my head out of traveling for now. Time for Back In The 'Bull 2011 Highlights and Lowlights:

1) Our toilet was leaking.
2) The kombi wasn't working.
3) BE was a complete dick.
4) BE had drunk all my gin, which explains some of the drunk-dials to my folks' house.

1) I get to learn some toilet-repair vocabulary with the plumber. Usually, I'm okay with toilet repair, but this is a new one (out the bottom, onto the floor). Also, the toilet was doing this when we moved in, but as broken things tend to do, it wouldn't perform the leak when the plumber was there so he pronounced the toilet fine. Up till now it's been intermittent enough to be fine, but any toilet leak is never fine because you never know if it's poop water or tank water all over the floor.

2) As for the kombi, I wanted a cold shower anyway. Maybe I would have liked to ease into the coldness a bit more but it was still breathtakingly refreshing.

3) Despite being a dick the whole ride from his parents' house to ours, BE still did most of the shit-work of hauling the four giant bags up four flights of stairs. Neither the plants nor the fish are dead. Sometimes I'm inclined to think BE's really a nice guy on the inside and only a dick on the outside. It's a fine difference, but worth mentioning. And man, am I glad he didn't leave me to haul the bags myself because I might have died. Especially because I was already teeth-grindingly upset about the dickishness on the car-ride over. And also borderline insane from the 20-hour trip and not having slept at all during said trip.

4) The gin problem was easily remedied. Plus I have a duty-free Grand Marnier nightcap awaiting me for the next few months. Ha!

I'll teach you to break, bitch!

5) And I fixed the fuck out of the kombi. After phoning BE to get the number for the plumber and ask if he knew any kombi secrets, I felt like I was being some shitty and helpless female, especially because I was still so relieved he helped get the bags up the stairs. So I got call him back, all, "Hey, I fixed the fuck out of the kombi." I just left out the part where I hadn't figured out how to turn the gas back on the first time I'd called (for some inexplicable reason, BE had shut off both the kombi and the gas, and the only reason I'd mentioned the kombi to him on the phone was because I thought he might know where the reset button is, like on my past problematic kombis). But also there was a flashing red button that I fixed by holding it down till it stopped flashing. Hah!

 Anyway, it's nice to see our house and air it out, and find nothing has gone wrong except there are a few scary dead bugs lying around.
 As for the heat, I'll just have to suffer. And our arrival home has coincided nicely with pazar day, which means I get to go do something fun, plus get some food in here because I felt rather like a bachelor with my dinner of cheese, bread, and olives last night.


Nomad said...

I think "dick" is the word for the day!!:)
Glad to have you back, Stranger.

Stranger said...

It's kind of good to be back, thanks Nomad!