Saturday, January 19, 2008

Still with Istanbul in my head...

Yes, South Africa was not t be, after all, at least, not this time. I took the KLM flight out to Johannesburg, which was very comfortable and spacious, where I had three seats over which to lie and sleep. I was one of teh first off the plane, but when I go to the immigration desk the lady behind the counter toldf me that my passport was full and she was not going to let me into the country. She made me wait a good while before calling over her supervisor who agreed that my pasport was full and that I would not be allowed in. The second supervisor agreed with the first and soon I was shown into an office on the mezzanine floor where a man behind the desk also agreed that it was full and told me, with apparent glee that I would be put on the next flight to Amsterdam and that he would be fining KLM for having let me onto the plane.

A half hour later, I was back on the plane which had brought me to Johannesburg and facing another ten-and-a-half hour flight back to Amsterdam. Again, I had three empty seats over which to stretch out and sleep and before I knew it, I was back in Amsterdam, of course without my suitcase and having wasted 24 hours of my life and a thousand euros of the company's money.

Anyway, it was a great opportunity to sit back and enjoy the thrill of reading Orham Pamuk's 'Istanbul - memories and the city'. A surprisingly easy read, it is a perfect book to obtain a greater insight to that wonderful city, written by someone who has lived there all his life and is, indeed, a Nobel Prize-winning novelist. And, this was just the right time to be reading the book, so soon after we deepened our knowledge and experience of the city. Also better to be reading the book AFTER one has just visited the city and ben to so many of the places being mentioned than reading it BEFORE visiting, where one has no vision or idea of the palces which are being described.

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