My arrival in Istanbul was “almost” perfect. “Almost,” because when I arrived at Austin airport perfectly well thanks to Tomas’s impeccable driving, the first inconvenience arose: a flight delay to Houston by a serious storm. This delay increased with the passing of the minutes. First, it changed from 4:00 to 5:15; then it went to 5:45; a little later, it was 6:45 and finally, 7:00. Here I began to worry as my flight to Istanbul was leaving at 9:00. I said an inner prayer wishing that everything would go well and that I arrived in time.
Suddenly, I hear a totally unexpected “We are boarding now!” Happy at the new development, I get on the plane and take off. Now there’s a good chance of catching my ferry to the island. We land an hour later than expected. A little anxious, since the ferry leaves in an hour, I know that I still need to pick up the bags, do customs, change money and get a taxi in this time span. I take paper and write: “Everything is super easy. I go from side to side like an arrow. The suitcases appear perfectly. The boat takes me without problems “.
I walk with intention to passport control, which turns out to be at the end of the world. Good thing I only have a backpack on me, loaned at the last moment by Becca, Tommy’s girlfriend. When I make it to the luggage carrousel, I see my white suitcase coming right at me. I had bought it white to be able to recognize it easily. Only the small black one was missing. Suddenly, here it is! It appears to be mine, but it’s upside down. I’m not sure … “God! Yes! It’s mine!”
I walk with a little difficulty since handling two suitcases and a backpack is not something I usually do. I walk by a currency exchange place where I get manage to get Turkish lira. I go without pause to the exit, although in fact I needed to have a bathroom, but I resist the temptation not to lose any time. I look at the clock. It’s 5:25 “Oh, maybe I will be able to catch the boat!” Of course, I still have to find a taxi in the chaos of Ataturk airport. I reach the street; there is a long queue and I am on the opposite side. I have no time to walk to the end of the line, nor do I have the strength to do so. I advance to the edge of the street; I raise my hand and stop a taxi.
With my precarious Turk, I tell him where to go and I realize that he does not know. I call my friends, Ariella and Loni, and luckily Loni explains how to get to the Mavi Marmara Motor Iskelesi and makes it clear that the ferry leaves at 6:30. Totally calm about having more time than I thought I had, we get to the right place. I realize that it is practically impossible for me to walk with the two suitcases in this cobbled street made some 10000 years ago. I signal to a gentleman, show him the suitcases and ask him to take me to the end of the jetty. “Evet, evet,” he says politely.
The landing gate is closed. I turn to a group of women and tell them inquisitively: “Mavi Marmara motor?” They look at each other and respond energetically: “Yok, yok!” Convincing me that I did not stop there. Panic! I call Loni who can speak Turkish, but cannot get more information. Out of nowhere, a European looking couple shows up. We stop them and ask them desperately. The guy answers us in something that sounds like Italian, “Yes, yes at 7:30” Thank God! Still more time available…
I reach the closed door and manage to see someone inside the hidden ticket office. He opens the door gently. I buy the ticket and he tells me that I can leave my luggage and wait in the nearby cafe. I follow his suggestions and when the time comes, I board the ferry and arrive at the island without problems. On the way down, the island with its houses, the restaurants and the people becomes real. There they are, Loni and Ariella waiting for me at the jetty. A deep emotion engulfs me. I love this island. “Thank you, Cavit!”