Leaving LA with Excess Baggage
It was with heavy heart and nervous stomachs that we headed to the Tom Bradley terminal at LAX. We wrangled our 8 cases, bike, guitar, golf clubs, 4 pieces of carry on, 2 memory foam pillows and a foam roller into the check-in line and hour early. We thought we’d stand more chance of getting it all on the plane if we got there early door.
Just as well we did. Minutes after we arrived, a tour party of 60 shopping-fatigued Turks shuffled their way into the queue behind us. Having bought up half of LA, they obviously had the same idea as us. I spotted one guy in a t-shirt “I can’t KEEP CALM, because I am Turkish”!
So I nudged Red and wondered aloud if there was a similar one for Redheads!
During the hour wait for the check-in desk to open we were surrounded by a cacophony of Turkish voices all competing for attention. It was a preview of our new-life, and a stark reminder that I didn’t understand a single word. The reality of what we were getting ourselves into… suddenly hit home.
Now I was beginning to wonder if they did a similar t-shirt for blondes from Norwich too!
Check-In Time at LAX
Vibrating with trepidation we wheeled our worldly chattels up to the Turkish Airlines counter. The check-in attendants face dropped as she reached for her calculator.
We had 2 cases within the 23kg limit and the rest were overweight or in excess of our allowance. One by one she racked up the charges and then sent us down to the excess payment counter for me to hand over the equivalent of the national debt of Alaska. All it all the process was pretty painless, and we were just so relieved to have all our possession checked in for the next leg of their journey.
Layover in Istanbul
We knew our layover in Istanbul would be brief and dripping with travel-fatigue, so rather that heading into the heart of the city for the night, we took a short jaunt to a hotel by the airport that meant we could cut down on travel time and optimise our sleep time.
I booked the Elite World Business Hotel via a hotel deal on Hotels.com, so that the 5 star comfort and service didn’t come at a 5-star price. It was a lovely hotel, and the bed was amazingly comfortable. The only downside was that there was a power-cut and the internet went out. And although the power came back on, the internet didn’t. I think this was a subtle reminder of what is in store for us in our new life in Turkey! But we appeased ourselves with a delicious dinner and wine at the hotel’s Italian restaurant.
The Land of Honey
Our shuttle to the domestic terminal left at 7am, so we got up early to make sure to take full advantage of the inclusive breakfast. Red wasn’t hungry, but decided to keep me company.
The breakfast was a veritable feast. A sultan’s banquet of immense proportions.
I was too busy stuffing my face to take photographs, but suffice to say, Red’s lack of hunger abated and he too joined me at the trough!
I did snap one picture of the honeycomb they had set up though, which should give you an idea of the quality of our feast.
I packed a little to-go bag of a couple of fresh simits and some packets of Nutella for the journey, then we headed to the airport.
The Shuttle was late leaving the hotel, and Red started to get anxious that we would miss our flight. He mumbled and grumbled on the back seat, and then fell into silence as we headed off to the airport. We got stuck in traffic and then circled back to the hotel after about 10 minutes on the road. Red started slating the late shuttle passengers that he thought were waiting from the hotel entrance, but fell quiet when the bell-hop opened the shuttle door and handed Red has foam roller he’d left behind in the lobby!
The second attempt at reaching the airport was done in meek silence and a wry smile!