Istanbul is such a beautiful and wonderful city. It’s the ideal place to be stranded if I say so myself.
The Blue Mosque at Twilight
While walking around on Wednesday a carpet maker tried to get me to come into his shop to see his fine selection of carpets. Now, we already know my tolerance for the carpet makers is low so I of course declined but he was really funny, at least. The situation went something like this….
(Carpet Seller): Yes, please
(Me): No, thank you, I don’t need a carpet
(Carpet Seller): Why not
(Me): I just am not interested and also I don’t have any money for a new carpet
(Carpet Seller): Oh, that is too bad… but why you have no money?
(Me): I just don’t know how much more time I am going to be here, my flights were cancelled on Monday and rebooked for Sunday.
(Carpet Seller): Oh, well, step right through here, these are magic carpets… they fly you home.. and over here (gesturing to larger carpets) we even have a first class
On Tuesday, I wandered to the other side of the city to the KLM Service Center where there were very options for the immediate future. As the future was uncertain, I really just wanted to get out of here. I inquired about flying out of any of the open airports (Madrid, Rome, Athens, Istanbul (direct to JFK), Tel Aviv, Cairo. It was much more complicated than it really needed because I had bought two separate tickets, one ticket from MSP to Amsterdam to MSP and the second ticket from Amsterdam – Istanbul – Amsterdam, so of course they could not just reroute my city, which just didn’t make any sense. I thought, well, why can’t you just change my ticket to an open-jaw (allowing me to essentially fly into one city and out of another)… No, that will not work and all of these options were quickly becoming more expensive. To fly out of Cairo was going to cost me $1640; Tel Aviv was out of the question because it would have cost me even more. Flying directly out of Istanbul to JFK was the only possibility, but they would not connect me on to Minneapolis, I would have to buy another ticket. . . which seemed to be wrong. It seems that instead of getting stranded passengers home they care only about creating more headaches. So in the end, they rebooked my tickets for Sunday 25-April-2010. I was happy as some people I had talked to were not able to fly out until the…get this, beginning of May or later.
The Hagia Sophia at twilight
Nazar (blue eye) Known by many names, Nazar Boncugu – “Evil Eye Bead” (or Evil Eye, Blue Eye, Blue Eye Beads, Glass Eye Bead, Eye of Protection, etc.) these lucky charms are believed to “reflect evil” and “protect the wearer” against the “evil” associated with envious or covetous eyes and/or other negative thinking or energies that may be directed at the wearer or his/her home, car, personal belongings.
Well, the very next day flights began to slowly resume. I called the KLM Service Center and asked about moving my flights forward.. Yes, there is availability on the flight form Istanbul to Amsterdam but not on the Amsterdam to Minneapolis sector. I asked her to rebook that portion, as I had many places I could stay once I got into the Netherlands. Then, of all places, KLM had setup an account via Facebook to help stranded passangers. You send them a message and they help you out (since the wait times were awful. I was on hold for 40 minutes or more just waiting to talk to someone). So I inquired them about my flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis and at first they would not help me, but with my power of persuasion I was able to bend them to my will and THANKFULLY they were able to change my ticket from Sunday to Saturday and now I will be home tomorrow!!!!!! VAN HARTE BEDANKT AAN DE KLM.