Dateline: Istanbul, Day 1 – A Delay

Istanbul, Turkey
22 June 2009

I got up extra early this morning, around the the crack of 9am or so to find several messages from Charlie.

I finally left the hostel just before 11 and made my way to the central train station via the metro. My plan was to reverse my route that I took coming in.

Amazing, everything worked out great! I got on the metro, got to the train station, walked back through the entire train station to the other side, found a bus to the Boryspil airport, and all was good. Even better, I had lots of time to kill, which was surprising because I had left later than I planned.

My plane out of Boryspil was a bit late, but we eventually did get off the ground and I slept most of the way, as I usually do on flights less than 3 hours.

Getting through Turkish customs was pretty easy. I bought a visa before going through customs1, picked up my bag, and cleared customs via the green line2

I decided the best plan was to wait for Charlie. His plane was scheduled to land in about three hours and I wasn’t sure he could figure out where to go.

I found a food court and grabbed some lunch, which was an adventure in-and-of itself. In my attempt to eat local foods, I try to stay away from places such as McDonald’s and Burger King. I found a nice little place to eat that had a combo meal for something like 13 liras3.

The picture on the menu looked good, so I said “Combo please with Coca-Cola.” The woman at the register asked what I wanted, so I said, “Combo Meal,” trying to repeat the the words on the menu as close as I could. It was no use though. She waved over another woman who was able to translate for me.

Well, as it turned out, you still had to pick what you wanted for the main course with the combo meal. The titles weren’t very descriptive, so I just asked her what she liked and went with that.

Slightly frustrated, and even more embarrassed, I quickly devoured the entire meal (I didn’t have a chance to get breakfast before I left due to problem solving Charlie’s flight issue).

With at least another 2 hours until Charlie’s flight arrived, and feeling a bit worn out, I decided to seek refuge in the local Starbucks.

Not wanting to miss him, I waited about 30 minutes after Charlie’s plane landed before I headed over to the area where the passengers came out. Unfortunately, it would be another hour until I saw his happy face. When Charlie finally emerged, I’m pretty sure seeing me standing there was the happiest moment in his life.

We made our way down to the metro, up to the tram, and all the way to the hostel with a minimum of fuss. Despite the fact that he had just been traveling for over 24 hours, Charlie still wanted to go out. So we made a quick tour of the surrounding area before going to bed.

DSC_0989
18.0 mm || 0.5 || f/4.0 || ISO200 || NIKON D70
Istanbul, Istanbul, Turkey

In summery, I feel like this day exemplifies exactly why traveling by air sucks.


  1. Note: They don’t take Russian Rubles or Estonian Kroons 

  2. I’ve got nothing to declare! (And I don’t know why I’m shouting)  

  3. about $7.75 

Closure

I’m currently sitting at the airport waiting for my boarding call1. I’ll short board my flight to Seattle. I tweeted last night that I was “going to bed. Leaving for Seattle in the morning.” I received several concerned comments from friends regarding my trip back to seattle, so let me first allay your fears of some impending doom in my life: I am fine. I am simply flying back to Seattle for Ben Towne’s memorial service. I will return on Sunday.

The complete reason behind my desire to attend his memorial service are a mystery even to me. As best I can tell, it’s 33% for me, 34% for Jeff and Carin, and 33% for Ben:

For Ben, I was fortunate enough to meet him a couple times when I was helping Jeff with some computer issues. This was over the summer of 2008 and at that time Ben’s prognosis (at least in my mind) was good. He loved the movie Cars and had an extensive collection of Hot Wheel’s that I’m pretty sure rivaled mine when I was his age.

For Jeff and Carin, because of what Jeff has done for me (perhaps without even knowing it). Jeff (along with a few other key players) was instrumental in my high school Christian experience; and for that, I will always be thankful. Jeff has always been a fantastic youth minister and I hope that he returns to it. I’ve met Carin many times and she’s an absolutely wonderful and energetic person. She’s also a great, and at times humorusly sarcastic, writter. Her updates to Ben’s CaringBridge site were an amazing insight into the hard journey she and Jeff have taken.

For me, this is not the first time I’ve had to deal with a someone dying from cancer, nor (unfortunately) do I suspect it will be my last. Several years ago (early 90’s), I had a cousin, Jesse, die from cancer. The part that makes it difficult was the age difference. Jesse was only 5 months older than me. She was also the only older cousin I had. Her death put a two+ year gap between me and my next eldest cousin, Katie, who is about the same age as Brian (my brother). I didn’t realize it fifteen years ago, and I still can’t grasp the full ramifications of her death. How would my life changed had someone closer to my age been around? We both would have been out of college right now. For years after her passing, my Aunt and Uncle had a bell called the Jesse Bell. I haven’t seen it in recent years and I sometimes wonder where it went.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve asked myself if it’s even worth it to come all this way. Sometimes I think yes, other times I think not. My hope is that I can get can some resolution, both on Ben and Jesse.


  1. Well, I was when I started writing this post. I’m now in Seattle 

Busy

Things have been busy around here of late. This next week will be even harder.

AEM Exam tomorrow, Digital Logic Exam on Friday, Information Systems Exam a week from tomorrow.

I also fly out a week from tomorrow.

Fluids Project due on Thursday. Digital Logic take portion of exam due on Friday.

Fluids homework due Wednesday, Friday, and following Monday. Information Systems homework due Monday and Wednesday. Engineering Circuit Analysis homework due tomorrow and a week from tomorrow.

Then Thanksgiving.

More Snow

Brian and Quinn both just let me know that it’s snowing in Seattle and sticking. Looks like I got out just in time. My flight yesterday was delayed 30 minutes so they could de-ice. I slept the whole way. I’m good on the plane like that.