11 July 2008

Carmel/ Indiana, America!!!

IndianaPlanes, Trains, and Automobiles


We Made It!! Our trip back to America from Turkey went something like this… We left Sandpiper in her slip at Ece Marina in Fethiye at 1am and grabbed a cab to the city bus station. At 2 am we hopped a one hour bus ride to Dalaman Airport where we caught a 5am Turkish Air flight to Istanbul. From Istanbul International Airport we checked in at the Delta gate with our baggage and was checked in for our stand-by tickets to JFK/New York. Then we checked out of Turkey through customs and then had about 3 hours to kill before our flight was scheduled to take off. So we wondered around the Istanbul Airport.

Istanbul Airport is quite large with flights going and arriving from all over the world. So lots of different people to check out. We decided to cruise the food court to kill some time and was happy to see a Burger King, a place we have not seen in years. Then we saw the prices…$18.00 for a meal deal! Then over to another corporate American icon, Starbucks, where the cheapest cup of coffee was $10.00! And all the other restaurants were just as expensive.

Then there’s the ‘Duty Free’ shops where things are supposed to be cheap because no taxes. But the prices are higher then if you were at home paying the taxes. We did cruise by the perfume and lotion section where Amy doused herself with $300.00 perfume displays and I lubed up with $200.00 lotion for free.

At 11am our gate opened and we went through another security screening to the boarding area where we had our fingers crossed hoping they had 2 empty seats for us. Just our luck, the lady said "I have one business class seat and one economy seat for you." We were pretty stoked, until she came back saying that some new paying customers had arrived and now we both had seats in economy. No problem, as long as we got on the flight. Right before the flight was to depart she came back and said “Sorry! But your seats have been taken.” We then watched our plane depart without us and we were told to return the next day.

Then we were walked through the airport, through customs, and had our passport stamps canceled, then taken back to baggage claim where we got our luggage. We then held a quick ‘Team Sandpiper’ meeting and decided that there was no way we were going to stay in the airport for 24 hours. So we hopped a train that runs under the airport to downtown Istanbul.

The trains are really easy to catch and super cheap. We made one transfer and were soon downtown where we found a really cheap hotel to stay for the night. As soon as we got our bags in the room, we took off and jumped back on the train to the ‘Grand Bazaar”. The Grand Bazaar is full of thousands of shops and stalls, and it was not soon before we were completely lost trying to figure out how to get back to the train.

Day 2 had us back at the airport with an exact repeat of the day before. This time we were given boarding passes and told to board the plane and seat row 6. To our surprise this found this in Business Class where we were handed champagne as soon as we were seated and Amy was putting on her complementary socks and blindfold. I was a bit skeptical thinking that at any minute we were going to be asked to leave our seats as a paying customer had arrived. But our luck held and the airplanes doors shut.

I have not been in first class or business class in years, and have to give Delta credit as having super pimped out seats. The seats are fully electrical and lay flat. There is so much leg room that you cannot reach your magazine in the seat in front you without standing up. And each seat has its own flat screen TV where we watched movies, cable TV series, and played video games while we were being served fine wines and eating fine cuisine. There was so much going on that we did not sleep for the whole 12 hours. After we told our stewardess that we had not been home in 3 years she kept bringing on the wine.

Much too soon we landed at JFK, New York to find our flight to Indianapolis had been canceled and that there would not be another flight for 24 hours. We found the closest flight that would get us to Indianapolis was going to Columbus, Ohio. We soon had the last 2 seats on that flight. We were a bit late leaving as when we boarded the plane it was completely dark and the pilot was next to the ladder exlpaining that the guy who was supposed to plug the plane into power had never shown up. So there was no power to the plane.

After we found our seats in the darkness the pilot came by saying that the guy who had the machine that helps to start the engine had never arrived so he had no idea when he would be able to start the engines. An hour later, with the engines running, we were on our way to Columbus, Ohio.

We landed at ten, we grabbed our bags and hopped into the first taxi we saw. That took us to the Greyhound Station. If you have never rode Greyhound before, I have to say it’s a far cry from being in the Business Class in Delta. Welcome to America! Most of the people at the Greyhound station at midnight are an "interesting" group. We were quickly approached by a woman who claimed not to be a prostitute and needed $25.00. Entering the station you encounter all kinds of interesting people with all kinds of problems whom have no problem walking up to you and telling you what they are upset with.

Two hours later our bus for for Indianapolis showed up. We got on board, along with our with our diverse crowd. 45 minutes later the driver came aboard and asked if anyone knew how to get to Indianapolis.

Three hours later, at 4 am, we arrived to the bus station in Indianapolis where Pat and Shannon (Amy’s Mom and Sister) were waiting for us. They took us to Pat’s house where we are presently living for the next 3 weeks till we figure out how we are getting home to Sandpiper.

‘Team Sandpiper’ will be in Carmel Indianapolis for the next 3 weeks visiting friends and family. Stay tuned for more…

Tom and Amy

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