Antalya: Going to the Airport

The eGovShare 2009 meeting ( organized by the Government of Turkey and UNDP (among others) was held in the Kervansaray Hotel which is located in Lara, to the east of Antalya. The hotel has a U-shape. There is a 300 meter long hall in the middle of the U. All rooms face outwards and the transparent structure allows lots of light into the long hall. When one is allocated a room one is also told which elevator one should take. The hotel has 10 elevators in total and each of them is numbers in an apparent random way. I got elevator 24 which is at the end of the hall and very close to both the bar and the main restaurant of the hotel.

The last night of the meting included a so-called Gala dinner. I made sure I did not have to wear a tie -which I did for all the sessions in the 4 day long event. The food was not very good, not at all and the wine bare it made it as average. But we survived. And we went to the bar after the dinner was over to make sure this happen.

Not unexpectedly, the social evening ended sort of late -or maybe I should say early morning. I somehow managed to sleep 3 and a half hours and woke up at 5:20am. After a quick shower, checking email and doing all that other stuff one has to do before traveling, I was at the lobby of the hotel at 5:50. The long walk from my elevator to the reception desk looked longer than ever as no one was around. I was dying to grab a cup of bad coffee. No luck. The Nescafe/Nestle machines were all turned off.

I checked out quickly and met the other person, a Turkish national, who was also going the airport at this crazy time. The driver that was taking us to the airport showed up a few minutes late looking really sleepy and tired -much worse than me, that much I know.

We boarded a four door sedan. The bags barely fitted in the trunk. My travel companion had two rather large suitcases that took most of the space in the trunk. I usually travel light so I have no use for large cars or trunks.

It was 6 o’clock when we boarded the car. It was still raining cats and dogs as it did most of the previous day. We took off in the midst of the storm. After 10 minutes of being on the road, the car stopped all of a sudden, right in from of a bakery which had just opened for daily business. I thought the driver decided to stop and get (good) coffee for all of us so we could be really awake. And the bread looked so good -I love bread, I am a bread freak.

He however had none of this. The car stop and the driver tried to start it up again. And again. And again. And again. No luck. After a few minutes, my Turkish travel companion informed me that the car had run out of gas. I thought he was kidding so I laughed. No, he said, it is for real man. The driver decided to make a call. I gathered he was requesting another car to urgently come and rescue us. After 15 minutes of waiting in the rain inside the car (and still not getting any coffee or bread!) the other car appeared. My companion and I quickly switch cars to avoid getting soaked in the rain. The driver told us that he will take care of all suitcases, large and small.

We boarded the new car which was probably half the size of the first one. The bags will not fit in the trunk I thought. At any rate, the driver of the first car was waiting for the second driver to open the trunk. But he could not find the way to do so. After two minutes of trying to solve this without getting out into the rain, he decided that the only way to open the trunk was with the key -eureka!. So he did get out into the rain after all and helped the other driver -who by now was totally soaked- put the bags into the car. And one of them, the largest one, become my seat companion.

We finally took off to the airport. Luckily, we had enough time so the 20 minute delay did not create any troubles.

We were however dropped off about 30 meters from the terminal. By the time I reached the terminal door, I was also completely wet. And still no coffee in sight…

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