Author’s Note: This post has been updated to include previously promised photos.
I’ve had to spend the last few days in South Africa recovering from my trip from Istanbul to Cape Town.
Me in front of the Blue Mosque before leaving Istanbul! #ferdinand #magellan
It sure was a doozy. All in all, it took 28 hours from door to door, meaning I had an average speed of 186 miles per hour during the trip. Here’s a summary:
– I left my hostel in Istanbul and walked to the tram station. It was oppressively hot out and I was quickly drenched in sweat.
– As soon as I cooled off on the air conditioned tram, I had to walk three blocks from the tram line to the metro. So much for cooling off.
– Board the metro and ride its entire length. One hour and a half hours into my journey, and I’ve finally arrived at the airport.
– I find the Emirates check in area. Sadly, there’s no self-check-in kiosk. This is bad for several reasons. 1) It means they’ll inspect my luggage – which is way heavier than it is supposed to be 2) I’ll have to talk to an actual human being.
– As lines are more of a formality In Turkey, I have to jockey for position in line. The guy next to me and I exchange the lead as we round the corners at least four times. Though I am clearly in the pole position, he tries to sneak past me when they call for the next customer. A swift kick to his shins ensured that I got ahead.
– I walk up to the counter attendant and put on my biggest smile. First she assigns my seat, I get extra leg room in the emergency row. The smile is working. She’s great.
– “Do you have any baggage?” Yes, but I was going to carry everything on. “Can I inspect your cabin bag?” Oh, of course you can. Smiling my best smile so I can try to get out of checking my bag. I can feel our first fight coming on.
– I plop my backpack on the conveyor belt and try to leave my foot in a position where it is still bearing some of the bag’s weight. She notices and looks at me. I awkwardly withdraw my foot.
– “Sir your baggage is so heavy for a carry on. I have to check it.” Like have to have to? “Yes.” Like really have to? She stops smiling. “Yes.” Okay. I’m going to take a few things out.
– On the floor of the Istanbul airport, I have to open up my bag, dig through it looking for my day pack, take out my valuables, and pack everything back up. There’s a line (more like a mob) of impatient travelers behind me and the counter attendant is looking down on me judgingly. At one point, I think I hear her scoff at me as I hurriedly jam everything into my day pack.
– I head to pass port control. I’m fuming about surrendering all my worldly possessions to the airline. It’ll be my luck that my baggage never arrives in Cape Town.
– Realize that I forgot both my book and my headphones in my luggage. I choked under pressure. I guess that new episode of “Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me” will have to… well, wait.
– Make it to gate. Sit down. The man next to me tells me he is fleeing Libya to relocate to Kuala Lumpur. I hesitantly tell him I’m from the States.
– Interesting fact he tells me as everyone lines up to board: “In Libya. You always have to wait in lines. Want petrol? Line. Want food? Line. Need documents? Line.”
– He wants to work at his friend’s restaurant in Kuala Lumpur and never go back to Libya.
– “We have three governments in Libya: 1) ISIS …” Honestly, I was caught off guard by this and don’t remember the other two.
– I board.
– Captain comes on board – “We’re expecting a few bumps. I realize this journey will turn into a blog post.
– This plane is enormous. It’s a 787. 400 passengers. I could run a 100 meter dash down this. Contemplate doing so – there are worse ways to get thrown off an airplane.
Nifty invention by Emirates, you stick one of these stickers onto your chair so the attendants know if they can wake you up. I was woken up for food, for obvious reasons.
– 4 hours and 14 minutes into journey, I take off.
– Fall asleep.
– Wake up to the woman next to me yelling across the plane to her friend. She gets a dirty look.
– Land in Dubai at 1 am. I would estimate this is about 8 hours into the journey, however, I forgot to take a time point)
– I have a seven hour layover, so it’s time to get comfortable.
– The passport queue is seemingly miles long. I may spend seven hours in this line.
– As I walk through the metal detector, all sorts of alarms go off. I believe it’s what they call a Def Con 1 alert. The security agent’s eyebrows raise in confusion as he sees that I have triggered the mother of all alarms. I’m sent to a security kiosk.
– I get a “personal inspection.” They even run one of the chemical swabs on my clothes.
– The man takes down my information and releases me. I hope I’m not on a list anywhere.
– Use my meal voucher at Burger King. I think it had an approximate value of 1USD, as it seemingly
A picture is worth a thousand words: my fries at the BK in the Dubai Airport.
had no effect on the price of my meal. Also my fries arrived in an absolutely savage state (shown at right).
– I try to sneak into the business lounge so I can sleep. As I walk past the desk. “Sir, Sir! Can I see your ticket?” Put on a big smile. They weren’t buying it.
– Find a chair where I can put your feet up. Fall asleep until 6 am.
– Search up and down the Dubai airport for a place to charge your phone. Side note: the Dubai airport had been really hyped up for me. I’d heard a lot of people say it’s really impressive. I was expecting a theme park inside. In reality. It was just a very large airport. And its Wi-Fi was awful.
Time point taken at some delirious point in the Dubai airport.
– I estimate I walked at least a mile and a half before I found a “recharge station.”
– Board plane: 10 and a half hour flight ahead of me.
– I wish I had a Game Boy and the newest Pokemon game. Ten year old me is furious with current me for leaving the house without one.
– Watch The Woman in Gold, Insurgent, and the beginning of The Fellowship of the Ring. Remember that I’ve been meaning to reread Tolkien.
– Have to fill out South Africa’s health Survey. Number six trips me up a bit. “What countries have you visited in last minute?” Give me a minute… I have to think about that.
– 25 hours and 59 minutes after leaving my hostel in Istanbul. I land in Cape Town.
– Got a cab to the hostel, found a restaurant nearby, and promptly fell asleep.
In other news, Cape Town is delightful.