Friday, December 06, 2013

Another long flight home

Woke ~6am for breakfast, ran into my host (who I said goodbye to last night at the KFC dinner), had breakfast with him. Said goodbye, again. Ended up sharing the elevator with him. Said goodbye, again? Went to room to get bags, checked out and ran into him yet again leaving the hotel... where I said goodbye a fourth and final time (he's not going to the airport that I know of).

I arrived at the airport around 0720, and made it through two security checkpoints, picked up my boarding pass between them, and was at the gate 7 minutes later. The metal detector right at the street door made it very crowded, but the one before gate wasn't really. There are only two gates, A and B, on either side of the check-in counters. Small airport. But, while walking out to the plane, I could just make out the snow-capped Taurus mountains looming in the distance. They are bigger and closer than I thought, but it's odd that I hadn't noticed them until just now.

The flight itself was easy, staying awake proved more challenging, as I was up until 2 am local attempting to prime my body clock for the 7-hr time change. I probably fell asleep a few times, waking only as the beverage/snack cart came by. I always seem to regain consciousness just as the flight attendant is finished serving the row before mine. While I was still a little sleepy as we disembarked, I couldn't help but feel folks around me were being unnecessarily pushy.

I had to walk the length of the Istanbul international departures area as domestic transfers come from one side (the right, if you're facing passport control) and my "not-codeshared-with-Turkish-Airways" check-in counter is all the way on the other (left) side. After passing through security, I grabbed lunch in the food court, a döner durum, but it wasn't as good as others I've had (or for that matter, the inflated airport price either).  While walking around the terminal, I passed a yellow TravelersBox kiosk that would convert my money (from Turkish lira) and deposit into my PayPal acct (in USD). I'm interested in trying it, just wanted to understand their fee structure first. I went so far as to give them my email address, then got an email from their customer service team asking me why I didn't actually use the service.

During the flight from IST to LHR, the pilot came on to say "we'd like to apologize for the length of the flight, but we are flying into a rather strong headwind. It's a 180 mph headwind, so we are effectively going 180 miles per hour slower, every hour." So, yeah, there goes any free time at LHR.
We landed at 4, and the gates for my DC flight are closing at 4:45. I used the fast pass lanes, ran into a coworker returning from Helsinki (I think) after our Copenhagen meeting earlier in the week. Made it to the gate two train stops away with only minutes to spare, but along the way, I did see a cool mirrored art installation in Terminal 5 outside the lounges...which I found only after missing my turn for the train. On the plane, I settled in to my seat to watch Simon Pegg's The World's End, which was pretty hilarious. OK, so the epilogue was a bit flat and , but I guess the movie needed it. Excepting that one bit, I don't know that he's made a movie that's less than hilarious. 
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