Bangkok By Way Of Istanbul
We’re a traveling family. It’s been hard to find anything to write about that is even remotely related to travel… since we haven’t really been doing much of it for the past year. That all changes today. Our hang-out-at-home streak is broken.
Bangkok. I’ve had my eye on you for some time now.
We took a night flight out of Boston Logan and laid over in Istanbul, Turkey. Of all places in all the world. Hello, old home. You’ve changed. Now, where’s the fresh simit?!
With 9 hours to kill, the plan was to grab a coffee in the international terminal in Istanbul, collect ourselves for a few minutes and then head out to our favorite old restaurant. Then, on the return flight in June (when we arrive in Istanbul at 8 am), take the kids over to the Golden Horn for the big sights. I know a few hours can’t possibly do it any of it justice, but this will be the appetizer to someday when we come back to get the main course.
Those plans changed as soon as we landed. Scott bumped into an old army buddy in the international terminal and they got to talking. Hi Charlie! We got to meet his wife. Hi Laura! She homeschooled her kids and…. man… they’ve done some incredible things. I couldn’t let an opportunity to pick a successful homeschooling mom’s brain, so we got to talking.
After that, we literally couldn’t find immigration. I think, when you get off the plane in Istanbul, you either go into the terminal or onto a bus to a different area for visas and entry. There is not an obvious way to get to that other area once you’re inside the transit zone. I know, I know. I have a hard time believing that too… but Scott and I are smart people. We looked for over an hour.
Defeated, we found an empty gate and set the kids up to play. Enter a second family. The kids eyeballed each other for a bit. Things looked promising so they progressed to butt sniffing (figuratively, not literally). Within 30 minutes, they were thick as thieves. It took us parents a bit longer (because naps). However, once we got talking there was no going back.
I don’t make friends easily. I can be awkward and gawky and often (unfortunately) exactly what you would expect from someone who has a degree in physics (but not at all like Sheldon… just normal weird). These folks… these are my people. Their kids are ages 6 and 3. They’re worldschoolers and adventurers and just all around fun, interesting, happy people.
After 3+ hours of running around and playing and giggles, the kids were worn out for the second flight. They slept on the plane and arrived in Bangkok refreshed and ready.
When I die, if I get to go talk to the powers that be (St. Peter? God? Buddha? Allah? Energy…. someone in management) I’m going to thank them over and over again for making sure we got traveling kids. We would be royally screwed if the kids weren’t cool with being a little uncomfortable and willing to go with the flow. I like to think about a great big arena where future kids are bidding on future parents and we’re all up there with our stats on display. Scott and I are described as “Must be willing to travel. Must be flexible and patient. 100% Guaranteed a good time IF you are capable of keeping up. All others need not apply. ” They weren’t sure Jack had it in the patience department, but they were willing to give him the benefit of the doubt. So far, so good.
Departing for an adventure, but leaving Grandmom behind:
“This seat is comfy,” said no one ever about steerage class in a US carrier. But our traveler found a way to make it work.
First glimpse of the Bosphorus: (still every bit as beautiful as it was years ago)
He didn’t know why he was excited, he just knew simits were something to be excited about:
Arrived in Bangkok and what did I do?! Boom…. 3 days in a row I worked out. Goodbye old ways, the new sherif is officially in town: