We arrived in Istanbul this morning after leaving our hotel in Nairobi at 2 a.m. It seems that every flight we had in Africa was in the middle of the night or required us to lose sleep somehow. As if that wasn’t bad enough, dealing with the morons at the airport was exhausting. Explaining that we were not going to the U.S. via Istanbul and that Istanbul was our final destination just didn’t seem to register with them. Trying to explain that we were traveling for 8 more months didn’t help. As a matter of fact, we’re pretty sure that only brings out the green monster of envy. Airport officials just kept asking for our onward ticket, but we don’t have one since we haven’t decided how we’re leaving yet.
Our entry into Kenya was equally frustrating, trying to reason with immigration officials who wouldn’t correct an easy mistake that ended up costing us an extra $29. Dealing with African airports and airlines makes leaving that continent a welcome departure. Even with all the turmoil happening there, we couldn’t wait to get to Turkey.
We immediately liked Turkey when we arrived. We breezed through immigration, baggage claim, and customs in less than 30 minutes, went to the metro and found out it was free today. Everyone is so friendly, helpful, and polite. Men gave up their seats for Sheri and wanted to help us figure out the right stop for our hotel. No one asked for baksheesh (tips).
When we finally arrive at our hotel we are welcomed like family and offered a beer for a welcome drink. Sheri made a comment that, contrary to what many people might think, we’ve been treated with the utmost kindness in mostly Islamic countries. The food is so good and tastes so familiar. I really like this place—exhausted, but content.