Talking Turkey

Saturday January 14th.

Portsmouth to London is two hours by coach. Or three if you count hunting down your luggage which was accidentally taken by the wrong passenger at the stop before yours.

London to Istanbul is four hours by plane. With me sandwiched between a tall teenage athlete with dirty-blond hair on one side, and a cuddly Japanese guy on the other - dozing off and unknowingly laying his head on my shoulder. Oh the hell of it.

Istanbul airport is, I quickly decided, a victim of nerdthink. That is, it's a place designed according to the needs of designers, as opposed to users. To find the check-in for internal flights, you follow the signs for "Departures" but not "International Departures", until you find signs for "Internal Departures". You then check in not at "Check-in" but "Other Nationalities" if you're not Turkish.

Now, each departure gate is actually two gates, labled A and B, though sometimes they're just be two sides of one desk. Gate 2A on floor 3 is labled 302A...but floor 3 is below floor 2.

The directions in english to the airport mosque are to the "Masjid" - a transliteration of the arabic word.

The flight time information panels don't tell you the flight times. They tell you the time they expect to tell you the flights are about to leave.

Which is announced by an automated female voice on the tannoy, saying "Passengers for the flight ... P ... C ... One ... Zero ... Two ... Eight ... are kindly invited to go to gate ... Three ... Zero ... Two ... B".

There are several tannoys in overlapping areas, sometimes speaking over each other. And some areas employ a woman to act as a mini-tannoy, standing and shouting scripted instructions to passengers. However, I've no idea what these instructions might be, as they don't come with translation.

This kind of thing may be systemic to turkey. My plane ticket managed to calculate from a 45 minute gap between connecting flights and a four hour time difference to a 3.25 hour stopover.

Is that really the symbol for a mosque? Because it looks like something else to me. Not that I'm complaining. They're both places you kneel and worship.

No comments:

Post a Comment