Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Turkey(part 1)

Well, to start a story you have to start from the beginning, or at least my old-fashioned sense drives me towards this thinking. So, I shall start the story at the 1st of August, when I was notified that we-my family- are going to go to Turkey, Istanbul to be specific, soon, very soon actually, try the 16th of August and I should plan the trip. As excited as I was to actually go somewhere outside of the vicinity where I was born and lived, planning a trip for my highly- demanding family seems a little bit daunting, or maybe right down scary. Anyhow, armed with man's only friend and enemy nowadays, AKA the internet, I embark upon the journey of flights, hotels, tripadvisor.com, virtual tourist and several others. A few days have past and I was capable of making the flight reservation, according to my parents' request, from the 16th till the 23rd of the summery month. Hallelujah, but wait, after a hearty lunch one day, can't remember the date, before the 16th by a week and a half or so, I was searching for a hotel; a nice clean hotel to meet my family's standards, when I was accused of being too slow and unproductive in my search, so I was joined by another family member to lead the hunt for the perfect hotel.
To tell you the truth, I was a little offended, but you have to roll with the punches and all that matters is for us to actually GET to Turkey.
All is well, except for one thing, the VISA, we totally forgot about this one, I call the embassy to be received by a very unfriendly Egyptian voice, who seems to have forgotten any phone courtesy he has learned, telling me that I should first come to the embassy at 6 or 7 AM to schedule an appointment, idiot as I am I thought it was EASY. Anyhow, after forcing myself out of bed the next day, I took the family passports, travel documents, etc... and head for the Turkish Embassy. I was greeted by a long unwinding queue of weary Egyptians, waiting for their turn to talk in the intercom. Fine, I waited in line, noticing a young Egyptian who seemed friendly, I asked her what was going on. Turns out, I should wait in line to talk to a person through the intercom to schedule another appointment, where I will hand in the passports and application. I did just that, my appointment was to be Sunday the 12th.
I go back home, tired and sleepy, I crash on the bed, I wake up at noon or so to find a raging war, including 12 missed calls and messages on my mobile, what appears to be the french revolution knocking at my locked door. I try to open my eyes and with difficulty, I open the door. My sister rushes in asking me "When are we going to get the visas?"
"Say What? Visas?... No, I still have to go on Sunday to hand in the applications and passports."
"Then what did you do Today?"
I get into the whole issue AGAIN, after I've already told my mother. Anyhow, I get accused of being irresponsible , apparently I should have called at 7 am to wake them up and tell them that we haven't got the Visas. Fine, I accept the accusation and I insist that my sister comes along on Sunday so that they will rest easy and I won't be accused of anything AGAIN.

Sunday comes, we wake up early, go to the embassy, this time we wait in front of urine-infested door. Yep, Egyptians seem not to mind peeing on other countries' properties. After a while, herds of people join us in waiting in front of the forsaken door; it starts to get stuffy. My appointment is at 9:00, but up until 9:50, they haven't opened the door. Fine, calm down I tell myself. Five minutes later, some guy comes and shoves himself in front me and my sister,who squeezes my arm so that I don't punch him in the face. We wait again, this time conversing the possibility of picking up self-defense classes again- we want to scare the guy- and it worked. The door opens at last, a guy comes out with a paper in his hand, but never mind the fact that my name is first one on the list, the guy whom we scared enters first. Why? He's a travel agent who has bribed the doorman. Anyhow, as he enters I shove my arm in his over extended belly and he doesn't say a word. I'm still angry, but at least I've avenged my wounded dignity.
The embassy turns out to be a very small, dirty room, with decaying posters of Turkey plastered on the wall and an assortment of garbage in the corner.
The rest is very simple,we give the guy responsible the documents, he tells us to come pick it up on Tuesday, which we did.

Everything was now available, flight tickets, hotel reservation and Visas. Nothing left except getting ourselves to Turkey.

For people who're going to Turkey:
Ada hotel in Istanbul is great, a little bit pricey though because it's situated in Sultan Ahmet, but the family running it is very nice and helpful, the rooms are clean and the neighborhood is very safe. In addition it's a close walk from the TramVay "metro" , as well as main attractions such as the blue mosque, aya Sofia, Topakapi palace, basillica cistern and much more.

2 comments:

gjoe said...

7amdella 3assalana ya cesario, wa7shana wallahy..yalla neroo7 Retro :)

waiting for Part II

Cesario said...

Thanks hon, Allah Yesalemek, and I really would like to go to Retro.
:)

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