Istanbul was cloudy and cold while we landed after a 9.30 hours flight from Dhaka. The flight was delayed by an hour due extreme level of inefficiency by the checkpoint before boarding the aircraft. When our turn came at the queue, with 50 more passengers behind us, they started shouting that the gates are closing in 5 minutes so hurry up! As if it was our fault that they’re slow and inefficient. Harassment even at the last moment before leaving Dhaka. We didn’t sleep the whole night to catch a flight at 6am which eventually became 7.15am. And Nabila forgot to pick the travel pillow in a hurry but thankfully, when she went back at the plane’s exit point, someone else brought it for her.
During the flight I walked around the aircraft a few times as my severe back pain was killing me. And dozed off a few times for short naps before waking up in pain again. I took pain killers and still had to go through tough times. This is the primary reason why I am taking a 3 nights break at Istanbul before boarding to Toronto bound flight which is another 12-13 hours. Nabila was enjoying Cartoon movies and laughing like a toddler during her flight. As many times she went to the washroom, I went with her to use it after she comes out. The reason is that, she cleans it up so well before she uses it, that I get a clean one to use. We laughed about the Turkish cabin crew looks like Sultan Suleman TV series casts.
Let’s get back to my first day experience at Istanbul again. We landed and let everyone to pass who are always running when the flight lands. Then we took our hand carry items slowly and about to move, we saw 5-6 Bangladeshi labourers arguing with the cabin crew. Unfortunately, our Bangladeshi brothers don’t speak English and cabin crew doesn’t understand Bangla. So, I thought playing a translator I can resolve their issues. It was about their connecting flight to another country in the Middle East and half of the people in their group has left the airplane while half remained inside, not knowing what to do.
Anyway, we landed at the new Istanbul airport which was so big that we had to walk for a long time, felt like a mile or more before reaching the immigration, they call it passport kontrols in Turkish. Several aircrafts landed and hundreds of passengers were in the queue but surprisingly the line moved faster. While my turn came, the officer hardly took 5 seconds and I was like- this is it? Hey, it took my Dhaka officer over 10 minutes! Since we’re not used to it, I doubted whether the grim looking officer is doing his job correctly. 😛 Alhamdulillah we didn’t face any problem anywhere yet.
After Nabila was also cleared within a blink of an eye, we headed towards our luggage claim. We were the last ones and only 4 of our bags were having all the fun at the carousel. I tried to pull a trolley and a Turkish girl from the airport came and started saying something in Turkish. We had to pay 5 Lira for a trolley! Thankfully, my mom gave me 25 Lira a few years ago and it worked here! Nabila pulls her muscle while she wouldn’t let me collect our luggages from the carousel, I kept on telling her that my back is fine now but she wouldn’t listen. Now I had to carry our luggages, 5 in total and a bonus- my wife. Thankfully, by the grace of Allah, she recovered after sitting for 10 minutes.
Took us a while to find our hotel guy, who were tired of holding our names so put it down and so we couldn’t find him first. Finally we found him after asking others and this smart guy helped us get our tourist bus while the driver was extremely friendly. The only problem was we didn’t understand anything he said in Turkish. No English. We communicated for about an hour without knowing each other’s language. He got a ticket on his way by the traffic police but we have no idea what he did wrong. He would have been cursed in Dhaka for driving too sensibly and he gets a ticket here! We didn’t have to stop anywhere in traffic but he kept blaming how bad the traffic is in Istanbul! I said, you know nothing about traffic John Snow! He dropped us at the Sultan’s inn hotel at Sultanahmet. After checking in, we took our room with a beautiful sea view that separates Asia from Europe. After taking a shower, both of us dozed off at 5pm at the afternoon and woke up at 4am in the morning next day. A long slumber and woke up to listen to magical Fazr azaan from blue mosque just around the corner. We didn’t take dinner and now waiting for a breakfast and a wonderful day at Istanbul for day 2. We’d take pictures for you.
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