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What I did wrong when I entered Turkey

13. February 2016

So yesterday I went to Turkey to celebrate my 44th birthday with some very nice friends in Izmir. I guessed that I had gotten pretty used to this almost regular trip from Berne, Switzerland, via Istanbul to Izmir, but then I totally failed at a certain point. At the Istanbul border control I saluted the officer in charge with a nice:

“Günaydin!”

Which means “Good morning” and is totally okay because it is a more than common phrase in Turkey.

Except the fact that it was 16:00 in the afternoon.

The officer realized that and answered in pretty perfect German:

“Wo kommen Sie denn her?”
(Which means: “Where are you from?”)

I said:

“Germany.”

And realized in that right moment that he must have known this already as my passport was a German one. This is what brought him (the officer, not the passport) to the following question:

“Berlin, München, Hamburg …?”

I answered:

“Aus Berlin.”
(Which means: “From Berlin.”)

And I thought maybe he had been living in Germany for a while as he knows the language and the country. So I asked him:

“Haben Sie mal in Deutschland gelebt?”
(“Did you live in Germany?”)

His answer suprised me:

“These are the only two sentences I know in German.”

I guess this guy just really trolled me.

Ein von @cpachter gepostetes Foto am


Next, while waiting for my transfer flight from Istanbul to Izmir, I realized that I had made a mistake. A small mistake. I had read that I am allowed to take a maximum of 1 liter of beverage with an alcoholic content less than 22% with me to Turkey. And then I recalculated: I had one bottle of sparkling wine which is 750 ml and one bottle of beer with 0.33 liter. Together this is 1.08 liter of alcoholic beverage – 0.8 liter exceeding the maximum amount. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan would not like this.

But I decided to take the risk. To be a brave man fighting for every free man’s right to wear as much alcohol as he wants! To keep up the good mood and the party. And see – I am already here! I am not writing this post from a prison cell.

(Of course, actually, I am writing this post from a prison cell. But, you know – propaganda and all that stuff. I am not allowed to report that I was arrested.)

This image is not really related to the subject of this post, but it shows the view out of my window as I am writing this.

This image is not really related to the subject of this post. It just shows you the view out of my window as I am writing this. See, it is not a typical prison cell outlook.

What else happened at this airport? While waiting at the boarding gate, a beautiful, yound lady with an elegant headscarf came to me, looked me deep in the eyes and said:

May I use your Wifi, please?
I can not connect to the one of the airport.”

I gave her the password to the hotspot of my mobile phone. Then she startetd immediately to do a VoIP phone call. I guess I lost 50% of my roaming assets at that moment.

By the way, this time I used Turkish Airlines to get from Switzerland to Izmir. Among the three airlines I know that are going to Turkey, they are the most reliable one: you can rely on that they will always depart at least 20 minutes late. But you can also rely on that they will, nevertheless (however they do this), land at least 10 minutes before scheduled time!

This is fantastic because you know you don’t have a problem when to get to the boarding gate late. On the other hand, this brings  you to situations like the one I experienced yesterday:

Because of departing late and still having the will to be at the destination on time, the flight time from Istanbul to Izmir was cut to less than an hour. So when I was served my food by the flight attendant, right at the same moment the cabin crew announced that we would have to get ready for landing. You know, putting back the small table in front of you and stuff. But nobody took care.

Not even the cabin crew:

This picture was taken during approach for landing in Izmir. The flight attendants are still serving dishes.

This picture was taken during approach for landing in Izmir. The flight attendants are still serving dishes. Good thing I have already learnt that Turkish people are pretty relaxed.

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