The eagle has landed – back on Canadian dirt again. The trip back to Canada from Turkey is horrendous, between 30 and 39 hours of flying and waiting to fly. Tracey and I were up Saturday morning at 2:20 am, after having gone to bed at 10, to finish packing our bags, cleaning and taking out the garbage before our 3 am pickup for the airport. Kaan whisked us along the lightly trafficked Antalya highway, dropping Tracey at International 2 and me at Domestic for our respective flights. Since I was so early for mine, I was able to get on the 5 am flight to Istanbul rather than waiting for the 7:15 – better to spend the hours waiting at Istanbul International than Antalya Domestic.
The next four hours were spent wandering around the airport and drinking the world’s most expensive small cappuccino (10 lira). Be warned: Turkish airports are notorious for their extortionate food and drink prices. About an hour and a half before my flight to Chicago was due to leave, the security checks began, with detailed questioning and meticulous searches of everyone’s hand luggage and bags. Once on the plane, the 12.5 hour flight itself was uneventful, but loooonnnng, especially because I found it very difficult to sleep and there was only one inflight movie worth watching, Suspect X, a Japanese crime film, and one documentary entitled Guardians of Nature, about saving animals in Turkey. Even though there was nothing else to do, I couldn’t bring myself to watch the rest of the crap on offer.
Chicago airport is enormous and the lineup to get through customs was long, although not as long as it might have been had there been more planes landing. After customs, a long wait for my bags which then had to be re-checked through to Vancouver, then a train ride to Terminal One to pick up my boarding pass, another long security procedure to get into the gate area, then a wait of some hours at gate B21 only to find out, as I casually glanced at the departure information board, that my gate had been changed to C22 without any loudspeaker announcement. Then, a dash down long hallways to C area and another wait for my final flight. The Vancouver flight was bumpy in an old plane with no frills, no blanket, no pillow, no food and few drinks on offer. However, it did get me home in 4 hours rather than four and a half, where thankfully my bags arrived and Ty was there to meet me.
Vancouver seems grey and cloudy and cold after the permanent heat and clear sky-blueness of Turkey. However, it also felt very good to be back, especially greeted so fondly by man and beasts. Brubin remembered me instantly and was delighted to see me; the cat not so much, since he sees Ty as his particular property. When we go to bed, Aran casts a baleful eye on me, and insinuates himself onto the pillows in between our heads. Back in the apartment, I had a moment of culture shock with the comparative luxury in which we live, after having been in some areas of Asia and South East Asia in which people call corrugated shacks and garbage dumps home. At the moment, I am quite jet-lagged and seemingly unable to sleep more than 2 or 3 hours at a time – hopefully that will pass soon. I hope to be able to sustain my desire to live a kinder, less angry, more gentle life here.
See a few pictures here.