Friday, February 24, 2012

Istanbul Home

On Wednesday night, I went out with the two receptionists again. The driver began racing in his ten year old car despite my objections. He confidently proclaimed, "I know the racers on the road. I know the tricks. If I had a better car, I would win." Later he asserted, "I know how to crash." He said no one would get hurt and that during the would-be crash he was in control. That's what I wanted for my last night in Turkey, a car accident.

But we didn't crash. Instead, we ate at a kabob place along a street filled with them in Aksaray. It was delicious, then I went back to the hotel to sleep for my flight home.

The trip home was long and tiring. On the metro, I smiled at a baby who smiled back, much to the delight of another man watching us. The Delta flight didn't have tvs in each seat. Instead, we all had to watch the same thing. I hadn't been on an international flight like that in years.

After the flight was over, the man in front of me, a middle aged man with graying hair, tattoos covering his freakishly muscular arms, and twirl earrings advised me to watch my head as he lowered the overhead bin. The bin stopped 8 inches above my head. The man looked embarrassed with his miscalculation. I said, "It's never an issue." A minute later, he bumped his head on the bin looking for the cell phone he had just dropped.

I was able to skip most of the massive line at passport control because of my connecting flight. The passport officials flirted endlessly with young women getting their passports stamped, holding up the line. When it was my turn, the man didn't say one word to me. I laughed as I left.

As I got my bag, a tall black airport official asked a confused little Filipino woman where she was going. The woman ignored him. He joked with me, "That's what I get for trying to help someone. Did she think I was going to rob her? There are 300 federal agents here." He then happily told me where to go.

After going the wrong way on the Air Train, I righted myself and began helping non-U.S. visitors who asked for my help. It felt good to help people after so many people in Turkey had helped me. Still, I wasn't walking for an hour and half to bring someone to their destination. Vague points were the extent of my help. In America, especially in New York, that makes me something of another Gandhi.

The man sitting next to me on the puddle jumper to DC was too tall and took over much of my area. It was frustrating and the trip was getting to me, although the man was apologetic. Finally, I made it home.

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