Traveling is one of life’s pleasures and joys for me. I love to go new places, meet new peopl e experience new things. And this life as an expat teacher affords me multiple opportunities to do this thing that I love: travel. I travel to the place I am going to live for the duration of my contract and then I travel around seeing new places, people and cultures in the surrounding area on holidays.
Living in Turkey affords me some of the best travel sites in my new adopted country. I can go to a whole host of interesting and historical sites right here. And I have. I’ve seen Kapadokya, Istanbul, Konya, Aksaray and have an ever growing list of places to see. However, I still like to go outside of the country too. So with my spring break, I am leaving Turkey for the first time this school year for Paris, France. I have lovely friends living there and a very extra special friend coming to meet me from London. I just seemed like the perfect opportunity to get out of town, take a break and see something new.
As I said, this is my first time leaving Turkey since my arrival in August. I haven’t had to exit the country and I’ve certainly never been to Istanbul’s Ataturk Airport. But that is where I find myself today. As as the title of this post suggests, there is good, bad and ugly with the whole experience:
The Good: Turkish people (especially the women) love to get their hair done and there are hairdressers EVERYWHERE!! Because of travel arrangements, I got to the airport WAY too early to even check my bags. Unlike other international airports where you can just check your bag, go inside and shop, shop, shop this airport only opens check in gates 2 hours before the flight leaves. And that’s okay… but I had time to kill and some greasy hair (I took the 2am bus from Ankara to Istanbul). Thank God for the Kuafor!! I went in, inquired about a shampoo and style and the next thing I knew, I was agreeing to a haircut and the man searching out each grey hair on my head and dutifully cutting them out. I’d say he did a great job and I loved the feeling of being clean and coiffed!
The coiffed airport me...
The Bad: As I had taken the 2 am bus (which in and of itself was not a bad thing), I arrived feeling a little disheveled and in need of a bathroom. In Turkey, you are often required to pay for your use of the toilets. Usually, this means that the bathroom is sparkly clean and well stocked. Well, not at the Istanbul Otogar (bus station). The 1 TL I paid to be let in went straight to their pockets as it was clean-ish, stinky and lacking in basic materials (yes, squatty potties are a turn off for me at 7 am when I am bursting at the seams to go and am carrying a backpackers pack, a carry on and my purse… never mind that there is no toilet paper). I guess I expected more from the BIG bus station in the most metropolitan city in Turkey. However, at least the airport didn’t disappoint in this matter (and they’re FREE!!),although I was pretty sure my eyeballs were yellow by the time I got here.
The Ugly: So far the only ugly thing has been my greasy, post 2am bus trip hair… it was straight up gross!! But that’s all fixed… maybe the price of coffee could be considered ugly… but that’s airport prices for you… regardless of the city.