DAY EIGHTEEN – Thursday 7th April
Boo. It’s the last day of the holiday. I’m going to need at least a week off to recover from it. The trip back to Istanbul Airport is a drag – quite literally. It seems the manager of the Asmali Hotel has forgotten his previous offer to drive me there after the check in disaster on Saturday. Still, at least it’s a dry and sunny day – the first one since I’ve been in Turkey.
It’s a well known fact that stuff always costs more at the airport. A captive audience means over inflated prices. But 2.50 Lira for a bottle of water is ridiculous – five times the amount it costs on the streets. And of course you can’t take it through security so they can screw you there too.
The PA system at Ataturk International needs to be heard to be believed. It seems that anyone can butt in during announcements to make their own. Some are calm and measured, whilst others – even though they’re only announcing a flight – may as well be proclaiming Armageddon. Slightly hungover from the night before, the sound of a foreign woman screaming in your ears on the toilet isn’t exactly pleasant.
Thank goodness, then, for British Airways. Polite and friendly service as before. When they’re not on strike, the cabin crew a great advert for the company. Which is more than can be said for some of the staff at St Pancras Station.
I’ve always loved the feel of St Pancras. It gives you the impression of having arrived in a Proper Country. But changing my train ticket so I can get home earlier doesn’t prove to be all that easy.
“You want six o clock train?” shouts the unhelpful woman at the East Midlands Trains desk by the platform.
“Yes - I want to change my reservation. How much will that be.”
“I don’t know – you must go to the booking office downstairs.”
“But this is the Customer Services desk?”
“Yes. No tickets or prices. Go downstairs.”
Welcome home. “So how much will it be?” I ask the man in the office downstairs.
“I dunno. Erm… a lot. Seventy quid.”
“But my original ticket was £61 for the whole return.”
“Yes – that’s just how it is.”
How very British. If there’s a barrier to be put up, we’ll glady do it for you.
Thanks for following the travel blog. More when I next go on holiday. In the meantime it’s back to the radio stuff.