Saturday, January 25 2010
I need to get a transit visa. It's $15(US), but the man doesn't have change for my $100 note. He keeps shrugging his shoulders. I plead with him and give him puppy eyes. This is one of the benefits of traveling alone. People are more likely to carry out favours for single female passengers. Trust me on this one!
After going through immigration, I need to find the hotel desk. Because my transit time in Istanbul is for the entire day, I'm entitled to a free city tour. They tell me to come back at 08:30 - in 3 hours. I need to kill time.
I want to kick myself because my MP3 player battery has died. A man (who looks like security) approaches me asking if he can help and takes me to another hotel desk. They are very willing to stick my USB MP3 in their computer to charge.
I'm happy to see a Starbucks. There are a few people working on their notebooks so I figure there must be wi-fi. No - I have to pay to use it. After ordering my regular, Cafe Mocha (with no cream) I sit down and start my new book. There are a few Koreans around me and I feel a bit comfortable hearing a familiar language spoken around me.
After about an hour, I go to collect my MP3 player. The man behind the desk says he has no idea what I'm talking about. He asks if I'm sure that it was him who helped me. He breaks into a grin and then I know he's kidding.
"I remember your face," I tell him.
"It's because I'm handsome, right?" he asks.
Of course I said, "Of course!"
I still have time to kill so I go to Gloria Jean's. I'm going to be on a Cafe Mocha high for the day, that's for sure. After an hour, it's time to go back to the hotel desk. The city tour is about to start.