Sunday, February 22, 2009

Holy blog-less people, Rat-man!

Hi Folks!

Not that anyone has noticed, but I have been off the blog for about a week now.

Let's see...last I wrote, I guess, was Greetings from Turkey, then Mom's passport.

OK, so passport found, met up with Mom and Dad, my kiddos, and my soon-to-be-ex, and the soon-to-be-ex-family-in-law. (Howzat for the use of the dash?)

The story is long, so if you have no time to read, I suggest you just look at the pictures....they will be in the next post. I have to split them up a bit or they get too long.

Oh, no, sorry....not going into all the lurid details of the divorce, you nosey parkers. I was just going to tell you about my vacation.

After the last post about the airport in Turkey, I reported back to the transfer desk (I was switching airlines, so had to do the generic route instead of airline-specific) at the appointed time 1230. My flight to Amsterdam is at 1435. I have plenty of time.

Well, the guy disappears with my passport and my e-ticket printout.

I ask his colleagues where he went and they don't know. No one knows. So, I grabs a chair from behind the counter and plops myself down in front of the counter, with my i-pod on full blast, and starts to take a nap....I got at least another hour before I starts to get nervous.

The guy comes back and says there is a problem with my passport and the airport police want to talk to me....OK thinks me.

Apparently, they didn't like the fact that the extra pages that were inserted do not exactly match the original passport. Now, anyone who travels a lot knows that immigration agents are very haphazard in the way they stamp documents. Stamps that should take up 1/4 of the page can often take up the whole page. So, when you travel alot, you add extra pages to your passport (all under the fine supervision of the US Dept. of State), so you will have room for all the bozo stamps and full-page visas you get on the trail.

My passport was issued, as requested, with additional pages inserted from the very start, so I wouldn't have to go back and do it again later. It came kit-and-kaboodle with the extra pages, straight from USDOS. The extra pages also have a raised seal on them, testifying to the fact that they constitute an official part of the document.


The guy went away and came back again, this time with a 'supervisor' from KLM (the best airline in the world, by the way). The supervisor could tell me nothing more....Airport Police will come and talk to you any time now. It is now 1350....flight at 1435.

I am exhausted....don't really even know where I am...but I know whatever happens I need my passport. I am dreaming of Turkish Prisons!

Now, keep in mind, that during my long layover in Istanbul, I had left the controlled area on my passport, had a smoke, took a look around on the other side of the airport, had another smoke, and then walked back through immigration....all while killing time for the transfer desk to open.

The time is getting tight, and the airport police have not come to see me. I sit in the purloined chair, just in front of the one is going to get in front of me on this little adventure.

Finally, it's 1410 and I am really afraid I am going to miss my plane (who knows when the next one will be)!!!

So, I grabbed the 'guy' as he was passing and told him to give my passport or I was going to call the US consulate. He got nervous...but not as nervous as I was. Finally, I decided to pull the ace from my little rubber-banded wallet. My Department of Defense ID card. I told him to show this to the police and tell them that this card was issued on the basis of the very same passport they were holding, and that if I didn't get it back right away I would call not only the consulate, but the defense attache.

Two minutes....passport, ID card, and boarding pass.

Rushed to the gate, just in time for the end of regular boarding....only to find that the dang plane that was to take us to Amsterdam hadn't even landed yet...

More pleasant adventures, and pictures, in the next post!!!

Love and Peace to all!

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