Day 0 – The Trip

Day 0 – Sunday & Monday – July 10 & July 11 – 2011

So I am sitting here in my room, I’ve just had breakfast, and we are leaving in 45 minutes to get our residency permits.

I figure this gives me enough time to setup my equipment and give you all a brief summary of what happened since I left Cleveland.

First, the flight out of Cleveland was delayed. Very delayed.  First 4:15, them 4:50, then 5:25, we left after 6pm.

I had a connection in Toronto that boarded at 7:25!

They assured me that this wouldn’t be a problem but in Toronto it was one story after another.  No one knew if I needed to get my bags or not (I didn’t) and one woman kept telling me that I needed to relax because I already missed it – just to deal with it an move on – oh and that her shift was over and she really wanted to go home.

I got to the gate (after clearing immigration, customs, and security – none of which I am now told I needed to do – except security) and boarded just in time.  I get there to find my seat is a middle seat between two other people. Before I can say anything a flight attendant told me that the plane was pretty empty and sit wherever.  I grabbed a middle section with three empty seats!  The 777 plane was HUGE!  personal movies at every seat and very roomy.

I started to watch True Grit with dinner and opted to have a swig (that’s a sip for the rest of you) of red wine and next thing you know they were serving breakfast.  I watched a little bit of Limitless (I had seen it so I fast forwarded around) and then we landed in Munich.

Wow was Munich organized.  They knew who I was and where I was going – they knew I had 2 bags and ever verified that they made it with me.  Spent almost no time there and then off to Istanbul.  I slept most of the way though I will admit I ate every meal they offered me 🙂 I am off of my diet for the entire trip though I still find it hard to just drink soda or totally overdo it.

When I landed in Istanbul it was hot – oh yeah now I remember – very hot – 38C or 101F.  Hot.  I already had a research Visa and even though I told them it expired 2 days before I left the country and was happy to purchase a tourist visa they just waived me though to get my bags.  I changed some money got my stuff (which WAS there) and headed to the domestic terminal to fly to Antalya.

At the domestic terminal (which is like a 20 minute walk with 4 bags on a trolley) they man was very distressed.  I had too many bags and they weighed too much.  First my 2 checked bags were 16KG overweight and he didn’t like that I had two carry on bags – I was only supposed to have one and it was supposed to be 8KB combined I was another 16KG overweight.  I didn’t argue with him – I just asked him what he wanted me to do – I clearly wasn’t go to leave the bags – there must be SOME solution. I also told him that I wasn’t going to check my 3rd bag (its got the cameras).  He just kept thinking and looking at me and finally handed me a slip saying I was 16KB overweight and to go pay for it.  Another line – did I mention it was hot – and it was 48Turkish Lira which is about $30 – which is GREAT.  So I came back and he was very happy to check my bags and ignore my other bag.  The plane was plenty big and I had no problems there.

A funny thing to mention was that when we landed both in Istanbul and in Antalya people started to applaud like big clapping of celebration.  In Istanbul it was simply quirky but in Antalya I noticed some of the guys getting ready to do it very excited to be the ones to start the celebration.

I got my bags in Antalya and headed out to be picked up but alas there was no one to be found.  I waited for about a half an hour and I purchased some WIFI 4TL/hour about $2.50.  And emailed telling them I was here – a few minutes later a driver and student came for me and told me it was 2.5 hours to drive to the field house.  They asked if I needed anything but I just fell asleep in the car.

When I awoke we were pulling up to the field house.  It was very quiet as it was after 10pm (we get up real early) and people greeted me and I found that there is 1/2 if not 1/3 of the people here this year and that everyone started to arrive on Thursday.  I had some bread and cheese and gave the pictures I brought.  I am sharing a room with a Dutch guy named Bert but pronounced much fancier than that.  I charged my equipment and passed out.

This morning I got up and had some breakfast – olives and cheese – and am getting ready for the day.

First we head to the police station to get out residency permits and then to a museum where I am to photograph an inscription.  I am limited on what I can post photographically (because of the research) so expect everything BUT that image later tonight 🙂

That’s what I have time for now – I will try and fill in the blanks later!