A couple of weeks ago, I left Turkey to fly to England for Christmas. I was going to spend some time with my family and was really looking forward to the break.
In the winter, it’s difficult to find a direct flight from my local airport to London so I have to fly via Istanbul. I knew I would have to wait for around 6 hours so I went armed with my book, my 2012 diary to fill in and a note book to make observations!
Once I had made my way from the domestic to the international terminal, I headed for the passport check point. Of course, being British, I queued quietly. This did not seem to be true for many others. I assumed that the ones that just pushed forward were probably late for their flights! The men behind the desks checking our passports were actually quite pleasant which I have to say is quite unusual, especially in Turkey. Even when a young guy is standing in front of them having their passport checked and decides to make a phone call! Unbelievable.
Once my passport had been stamped, I headed for one of the many coffee shops. I found a table with my tray of goodies and whilst I was eating and drinking, I did a little people watching. I just love it. Listening to all the different languages, looking how people are dressed and even what bags they are carrying.
Then it was time to fill in my diary for 2012 and read some of my book. I soon became fidgety sitting down and decided it was time to stretch my legs and have a quick look in the shops. By now I was into half of my ‘killing time’ before my London flight. After deciding there was nothing in the shops that I couldn’t possibly live without, I grabbed a newspaper and looked around for a free chair. Istanbul is a strange airport in that it has very few seating areas, unlike, say Heathrow. I suppose the idea is that you then have to go into a cafe or restaurant and spend money!
Anyway, no seats available but I spied a really bright pink carpet ( later realized it was in front of a Prada sign, only the best for me). A lady was sitting on the carpet with her young child so I decided it would a perfect place to sit and read my newspaper. There I was reading when a male voice asked me if there was any more space on the carpet! I looked up to see a smiling face and wittily replied “Yes, but you have to be careful as it’s a magic flying carpet (Turkish connection!) and we may take off.” He told me he would take that risk and settled down beside me. He introduced himself as Reza. He lived in Chicago, was a dentist and was on his way to Dubai to help a friend whose son was coming over to Chicago to go to university.
We spent the next couple of hours telling each other about our lives and it was fascinating listening to Reza’s story. I did ask if I could repeat it in this article and he was more than happy as long as he got to read it sometime, no problem I assured him.
So, here is a little of Reza’s story. He moved to Chicago from Iran when he was just a baby. His parents enjoyed American life but were still quite traditional. At 18 years old, they told Reza they had arranged a marriage for him and of course, he had to comply. The wedding day arrived and he stood with his bride whom he had never even seen, let alone got to know. The wedding ceremony was finished, then the bride’s father decided Reza was not ready for marriage and promptly took his daughter home. For 3 Years!!
Anyway, they eventually lived together and have a wonderful son who is now 26 years old. Many years later, they were divorced. Then, ( I guessed this part and was right) Reza married a much younger foreign lady and the marriage only lasted around 3 years but produced another lovely son who is now 6 years old.
He told me that when he got back to Chicago, he was taking his young son to Disney Land for a Christmas treat. His son had telephoned him to say he wanted ‘ The Nanny’ to come too. Reza was quite happy but how did his son’s mum feel about this? “It’s my decision,” replied his son. The Nanny is around 22 years old and lovely so no great hardship for Reza. Who knows, maybe she will be wife no 3!
We spent the whole time laughing and suddenly I realized I needed to get to my Gate for my flight. After quick goodbyes and exchanging email addresses I hurried to catch my flight to London.
I have to say it was one of my most fun times waiting at an airport and I have done it many a time, so thank you Reza for joining me on the pink carpet. And I hope you enjoy ‘Your’ story.