Friday, 5 October 2012

Panic at Istanbul Airport

After touching down, going through Customs and Immigration, collecting my luggage and saying farewell to my travelling companions, I went out to the Reception area hoping to see my driver who was collecting me from the airport.  Nobody there with a placard with my name on it - but no panic as the flight had arrived 15 mins earlier than expected.  So I waited, and waited ................ and waited.  After 30 mins I was beginning to get worried, so I approached a woman in an information kiosk and asked her if she spoke English - she did (a little) so I asked her if she could find me the telephone number of the clinic, which she did and I tried to phone, but couldn't get a reply.
I then asked at one of the kiosks (where they had computers) if I could use one to Google the clinic - and I sent a message to the clinic saying that I had arrived, but there was no sign of a driver.
I then went outside to have a cigarette and two young Turkish guys approached me rather purposefully - fortunately they only wanted a light for their cigarettes lol.
There was a guy there who was in charge of the taxis who fortunately spoke a little English and I was contemplating getting a taxi to the clinic and I explained the situation to him.  He asked me if I had the telephone number of the clinic and he then phoned them for me - and with a smile he said "Five minutes" Wondering what the hell was going to happen to me in five minutes, it was with some relief that a man approached about 3 mins later with my name on a placard.
He drove me to the clinic that Engin uses for anybody undergoing hair transplants where I met Engin and he apologised profusely for the mix up at the airport and then I met the transplant team - all women and although only the surgeon herself spoke English, the other members of her team were warm and friendly.  After she explained the procedure, she asked me if I could dye my hair to make it easier for the team to perform the preparation of the hair and follicle for each individual transplant.  The surgery was set up for the following day and then Engin drove me back to the apartment - which as a long trip through a traffic congested Istanbul to the complex of apartments on the other side of Istanbul where I would be staying for the next fortnight.

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