Somehow, I’m in Istanbul.
And somehow, despite near-insanity, sleep-deprivation and more Airbnb face-palms – I’ve learned a few new things in the past 36 hours.
Thing #1: No matter how early you go to an airport, time disappears faster than a glass of sav blanc at a boring dinner party. Yesterday, I left my aforementioned Airbnb five hours ahead of my flight time. FIVE HOURS IS A LONG TIME. But was it enough to relax? NO. Was it enough to trot on board with fresh skin and dry armpits? NO. Did I get a beer in? Well, yes, but it was a morbidly overpriced pineapple-flavoured 2.8% can of Taiwanese hype, so it did little more than fill my guts with gas.
Thing #2: Chinese love to queue. They will queue everywhere, anywhere – outside a noodle shop, in front of a cherry blossom tree or around a toilet door. Ninety percent of the passengers on my flight were dithery old retirees in a large gung-ho Chinese tour group. They spent the entire duration of the 13-hour flight queuing for the can. My initial thrill at being granted a first-row seat (with all that extra leg space!) was quickly garrotted by the constant bumping and jarring of bumbling Chinese elders eagerly awaiting to relieve their ancient bladders.
Thing 3: Food in Turkey is cheap, delicious, and oh, cheap. My tailor-made sandwich of cheese, ham, olives and tomatoes was a sweet $4. My dinner of yaprak sarma was $3.50. My bagful of novelty chocolate bars and biscuits (they’re important, lay off) came to $3. I won’t discuss the taxi fare from the airport.
Thing #4. Turkish TV remote controls are impossible. My host’s instructions: Büyük ve toplu aleti kullanıyorsun. Üzerinde kanallar yazıyor. Kırmızı bir düğme.
This translates as: You’re using a big, dumb tool. It’s got channels on it. A red button.
Thing #5: People who take babies on long-haul flights are very stupid people who should not be reproducing.
Thing #6. A bottle of good Turkish shiraz is a mere 29 lira ($NZ8).
Thing #7: My host does not own a wine-opener. This information came to hand only after purchase of aforementioned bottle.
Thing #8: Turkish people will open their doors to a crazy-eyed, sock-footed woman clutching a wine bottle and miming a corkscrew opener. They will still not, however, actually own said corkscrew opener.
Thing #9: Attempting to open a bottle of wine with a knife will break the knife and slice your thumb open.
Thing #10: Running to the store to buy a new corkscrew opener is a sure way to ruin your own night when you discover that the f***ing corkscrew cannot reach into a now hacked-off piece of cork.
Thing #11: Beer provides the strength you need to shove a spoon handle through said cork.
Thing #12: It is entirely possible to drink wine through a cork.
Thing #13. I will see Istanbul tomorrow.
Oh, here’s the view from my balcony.