Well – an eventful 24 hours… We had an email yesterday to tell us that we were no longer travelling to Diyarbakir – something about military flights?! Anyway, the upshot is that the situation in that area of Turkey has changed significantly and it is no longer viable for us to be running teacher training there.
My instructions were to fly to istanbul and then await further instructions…not totally reassuring, but if the worst comes to the worst I decided, I could stay in a hotel in istanbul. (by the way, I know that istanbul needs a capital I but my computer won’t do a Turkisk capital ‘I’ with a dot – otherwise it would be pronounced something like Ustanbul!)
Anyway, our instructions arrived, and I dully went to the Turkish Airlines counter. There, we changed our flights to Gaziantep, unfortunately travelling via Ankara rather than direct, as there were no spaces – another interesting aside is that according to the Internet in the UK at the very moment we were trying to rebook, there were still spaces, but according to Turkish Airlines there weren’t – interesting to say the least!
Anyway, a couple of hours wait and our flight to Ankara was due. We had half an hour in Ankara before catching the Gaziantep flight, the last of the evening. As we were waiting in what felt like the dungeon of istanbul Airport, we began to get concerned as despite having very little Turkish between us, we managed to work out that our flight was delayed by 30 mins – leaving no time at all to catch the next flight.
We spoke to a guy on the desk at the gate who either only knew one phrase in English, or there genuinely was ‘no problem’. To be fair to him, only the English would assume that he SHOULD speak English, and we didn’t even try to use a dictionary or online translator. Anyway, it transpires that there was a problem, namely that our next flight had already left when we finally landed in Ankara, and our only option was to be put up in an airport hotel by the airline, ready to fly to Gaziantep the next day.
So at 4am we had a hasty breakfast, and headed back to the airport, sans baggage, as we had been able to leave that at the airport the night before. We arrived at istanbul and connected with our flight to Gaziantep with no further issues, but part of me mourned the fact that we could have stayed in istanbul rather than take the flight to Ankara and we would have been able to go out and about!
And so, twenty-four hours after leaving Manchester, we arrived in Gaziantep. A quick call to our local organiser, who had thought as we were foreign we would be flying in to the international terminal…an interesting concept, and one I have pondered on several occasions on the flights in Turkey, usually every time we taxied past the VIP terminal…and then we were off. After consultation he decided that we would be best to meet the other trainers first, scope out the course accommodation, then head to our hotel.
We also stopped of for lahmacun on the way, my first experience of it, although Anette who I am travelling with is German and often went for Turkish food when she lived there.
And so finally to our hotel. I think we lucked out as our hotel is lovely. Clean, tidy, well equipped (although I am not sure I shall be needing 4 pairs of slippers that are too small anyway).
And so to bed…