Last week I found out that I’ve been accepted to a film critics workshop what was taking place during Dokufestival, Prizren city, Kosovo. Yes Kosovo. And to go to Kosovo, the organizers put me in a Turkish Airlines plane with a layover of seven hours in Istanbul, Turkey.
Alles gut, I said to me, and I ignored the layover part until yesterday, when I started to google to see if a city-trip from the airport to the heart of the city is possible. It turned out that the marvellous Turkish Airlines has a special offer for tourists who have layovers in Istanbul: they offer free city tour – from the airport, with free meal included. The advertising sounded perfectly, especially when I read that if your flight departures earlier, the drivers can bring you back to airport in time to catch the flight.
Alles perfect, but there was a LITTLE problem. The checkin for the tours is closing at 11.30 and the tour starts at 12.00, and my arrival to Istanbul was 11.30 – thus meaning I had to run from the airplane to the Hotel Desk Information Point. Well – I decided to write them an email just to be sure I can do this tour, but I wrote them yesterday, meaning a weekend day, and their services were available only during weekday. So then I used social media to ask them about the tour. They even replied to me in within an hour, as you can see here.
And they redirected me to their call-center, where I waited for 10 minutes to talk with someone, a girl who assured me that there is no problem to attend the tour.
Thus being said, I was happy and eager to discover the great city of Istanbul, especially when I saw how beautiful was from above.
11.31: running to passport control.
11.41: still waiting to pass passport control
11.51: Hotel Desk Information Point … Where I found out that … I can’t attend the tour while the procedure has closed at 11.30. Needless to say that I calmly expained them that the call-center girl assured me I can attend the tour. But the Turkish boy said no, no, no.
I was soooo pissed off by this situation that I decided to return and wait all the seven hours inside the airport. But … It turns out that the biggest airport in Turkey has a problem with air conditioner so … Everyone was melting, me included. Not to mention the amount of trash that I saw everywhere. So I asked some cleaning man what’s happening with the AC, and he called his supperior because he didn’t speak English. So when the manager came, I asked him the same question, and his answer was … “Where are you from?”
The conversation went crazy, he was talking to me in Turkish and finally saying “fucking Romanians”. I replied “racist stupid Turkish” and then I left to melt down on a bench/ chair/ something.
12.30: I needed some internet conection to have activity during my seven hours waiting, so I found a boutique which sold wi-fi access for 10 Eur/ 24 hours. Everything could be perfect BUT … My ING Visa credit card was declined two times at the boutique, than again at Cafe Nero. Thank God I have absolutely super friends who can help me with the problem.
14.40: while writing this, the AC started to function. Feeling back in 2014.
Two questions are crossing my mind:
1. I can feel my luggage will be lost in this wonderful airport. How should I act ?
2. Next week I am returning to this airport for another seven hours. Same flight hours, no tour. What to do, what to do?