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North Texas Artists in Turkey: We're Home


by Anne Bothwell 26 Jul 2010

Our flight home was supposed to be a pretty straight shot – Istanbul to Frankfurt to Dallas. We had to leave for the airport at 3:15 a.m. Friday and didn’t arrive home from our last dinner to pack until 11:30 p.m. Thursday. So some of us (hello Sarah Jane, Barbara and Pam) stayed up all […]

CTA TBD

Our flight home was supposed to be a pretty straight shot – Istanbul to Frankfurt to Dallas. We had to leave for the airport at 3:15 a.m. Friday and didn’t arrive home from our last dinner to pack until 11:30 p.m. Thursday. So some of us (hello Sarah Jane, Barbara and Pam) stayed up all night. Alp took us to a pedestrian mall near the center of town and we marveled at the crowds – families, couples, groups of teens, having tea or a drink or a meal, strolling, packing the streets at midnight.

It was marvelous. Also a Big Mistake.

That early flight out of Istanbul had mechanical problems, which meant we missed our connection in Frankfurt. Collecting our checked luggage and rebooking 11 people took about six hours. And our big group had to split up. John Lunsford, Ben Fountain, Jamie Baker and I wound up flying to Zurich around 4 in the afternoon.  Chatting with Jamie on the plane, I fell asleep for a moment in the middle of a sentence. WE spent the night in Switzerland at the Park Inn, a nicely designed budget hotel. Over drinks and dinner in the bar, John was still going strong, watching for birds in the field outside and regaling us with stories about former teachers (Hattie Hornbeak – what a perfect name) and an annual fourth of July party he and friends used to throw, which involved a parade and other frivolity. “Of course, we had a harpsichord player every year,” he said, sending us over the edge into delirious giggles. Definitely time to crash. Up early Saturday for our leg to New York. And a fabulous 10 hour layover in JFK. Our plane to Dallas was delayed about an hour. We got in after midnight – 8 a.m. on our Istanbul time – more than 50 hours after we got on the bus to the airport. By the end of it, Ben and I were monosyllabic – congratulating ourselves that no one lost his temper or cried on the long trip. But John was still chatting away. I’m convinced the man could have an entertaining and informative conversation in the middle of a hurricane.

Everyone’s back and we’ll be playing catch up this week. I have several guest blogs coming in from my fellow travelers and I’ll be posting slide shows and a few more notes to catch up on parts of the trip I wasn’t able to share while we were on the go.

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  • sarah jane

    Oh Anne. I too fell asleep mid sentence on the plane talking with Ginger. I’ll have to tell you too of my tales of sobbing on the floor of the Munich airport when I realized I missed my Chicago flight after running like hell through the airport. On no sleep. Good times.

  • Nancy Rebal

    A member of another Istanbul to Dallas fragment checking in here, with serious jet lag. Ginger and Rick Geyer, David Searcy, Tim Coursey and I were rerouted from Istanbul through Munich/JFK/Dallas rushing to make connections all the way. I can attest to the heroic dash that Sarah Jane made in her long skirt. We were trying to wish her onto her earliest flight. So sorry, I know she was desperate to see her husband and kids. We had a squeaky clean Munich hotel with free toothbrushes which helped a lot. I read A New Life by Orhan Pamuk all the way across the Atlantic. It was worth the disorientation I feel now. What a trip. Can’t wait to hear the reports from my spectacular group of fellow travelers.

  • Kim Alexander

    Merhaba, from another straggler. I got diverted to a conveyer belt of a hotel in Frankfurt. As I dined from a bland dinner buffet, three brilliant French travel refugees played verbal tennis with me in categories ranging from sex and politics to more sex and politics. On the morning bus back to the airport the next day, I also met an American who had left his backpack on a train in Israel. By the time he rushed back, the police had blown it up. They offered to replace his belongings, but he felt too sheepish to take them up on it. No such drama for us in our travels through Turkey, though. I felt safe at all hours…um, except for that one cab ride going the wrong direction on a freeway at night. Even with headlights rushing at me, I failed to weild sufficient passenger authority to rectify the situation. When we exited on a dark, curved ENTRANCE ramp I decided to emulate a limp drunk, with the idea that drunks seem to chance better in a head-on. Happy to say that our tour did not satisfy my curiosity about Turkish emergency care. I imagine I went in the wrong direction plenty of times in Turkey, but the friendliest people in the world made every wrong turn right.