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These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 39
Homeward Bound
So we arrange for transportation to the airport the night before, through the hotel. That's the last thing I want is to miss my flight home! I don't know whether it was because I was still not feeling %100, or because of the chants from the Blue Mosque, or whether it was because I was excited to be going home, but I certainly did not sleep well that night. I haven't had a good nights sleep since I left Kapadokya. Haven't really eaten that much either. In fact I was a little concerned about what the long trip home was going to do to me. I know Joanne was concerned about that also. We get to the airport and catch our flight to Ankara without any problems. We are both pretty worn out not only from this trip, but we were on the go alot ever since Joanne got to Kapadokya. She has been gone for 3 weeks, I've been gone for 3 months. Yeah, we're looking forward to going home, but we still have a 20-some hour trip ahead of us tomorrow before we get there. It's early evening when we arrive in Turkey's capitol city and the real test of our travel agents expertise is upon us. Not just do you have our reservations, but do you have our luggage that was supposed to be here a week ago? Maybe that's the reason I didn't sleep last night. No, they have all of our bags AND our reservation. Wow. I am definitely impressed. This whole trip went off without a single problem. I absolutely have to recommend them again. Argeus Tourism & Travel. If you ever need travel services either to or while in Turkey, these are the guys. This trip could have really been a nightmare, but it was just the opposite. It was just what we wanted and asked for. Absolutely a trip of a lifetime. Especially for me, having been able to experience a dream come true by flying balloons in Kapadokya.
Well, we're not home yet... not by 20-some odd hours. We catch our shuttle from the hotel to the airport at oh-dark-thirty and get on the plane headed for Germany. Because Joanne's flight was booked several weeks before mine, this first flight is the only one we'll have together. But when Jo booked my flight, she made sure that we at least had this first flight together. When we get to Frankfurt, by the time we figure out that I need to go to the other terminal to catch my flight, I am walking out the door of the one we are in when the security guy says the shuttle is just leaving now, if you run you can catch it. Joannes flight left out of the terminal we were in. I felt really bad, because I didn't have time to kiss her. As I ran out the door I turned and waved but it was going to be quite some time and a whole lotta plane travel before we saw each other again. I didn't get over it until I did see her. Then I made up for it, but we won't go there :-)
For some reason, while we were in Ankara checking our bags, there was some confusion and all of our luggage got checked with me. So, when I get to Atlanta (which is where I flew to from Frankfurt) I've got like six bags plus my carry on to take through customs. And about 45 minutes to do it. Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world. Every year since 2000, using passenger numbers, Atlanta is the busiest airport in the world. And I've got more luggage than will fit on one luggage cart. To go through international customs. Yeah, this ought to be fun. It was surprisingly painless, if you exclude having to load the luggage cart, then unload it to put the luggage through customs, then load it back up again. It was all there and there were no glitches getting through customs. In fact, if you exclude the sheer number of hours, the trip went very well. The only thing that happened was that right as we were pushing away from the gate in Atlanta (on the way to Salt Lake City) a passenger got sick and puked. So we had to go back to the gate, get the passenger off the plane or medically approved to fly or something. Not to mention the clean up in aisle 3. We left Atlanta just over one hour late. Hmmmm.... my itenerary says I've got 45 minutes from the scheduled arrival time until scheduled take off for my connecting flight. It was going to be close without this happening. At this point, all I want to do is get home, but believe me, after what I went through just getting to Turkey (see Chapter 1) I am so close to home now that this doesn't really bother me much. Besides, I know if I miss my flight in SLC because of this, I will get another flight paid for. And if I have to spend the night in SLC I know the airline will pay for it. Although to be honest with you, if I was in Salt Lake and no flights were leaving until morning, I might just take the bus or something. Well, turns out I don't have to worry about it. The pilot had his foot in it (is that even possible?) and made up about 40 minutes of the hour we were late. My connecting flight in Salt Lake City was held until I got there. Okay, there were actually 3 of us and it wasn't just me. But after almost 30 hours of travel, I had to run through the airport to catch my last flight. When I got on the plane I was as tired as I've been in a long time.
So I get into Idaho Falls about 2 hours before Joanne. Now you have understand, Idaho Falls is not a busy airport. I'm the only one there after everyone from my flight leaves. So I've been sitting there, half sleeping with all my luggage pile around me for an hour when one of the guys that works there says "Hey! You can't stay here!". I try to explain to him that I'm just waiting for the next flight but I'm very tired, in no mood for any hassels and there seems to be some sort of misunderstanding. He was gonna call security or the cops or something because he was afraid I was gonna live there or something. We finally get it straightened out but now my blood is pumping and I'm not going to sleep. That was pretty much the last little event. Joanne arrived on time and we were home. FINALLY!
When I first started to prepare to come to Turkey, I knew then that I didn't know what to expect or how it was going to turn out. So even though some aspects of the trip didn't work out as I would have liked them to, other aspects were far better than I thought possible. All in all I enjoyed my time there and look back with fondness and remember the good things. I am only reminded of the other parts when I am first thinking about a good memory. There is no way I would trade the experience for anything. One of the main reasons I decided to take on this adventure was for the experience. And I got it.
If you're reading this, chances are you've read the whole saga. My thanks to you, for without those people who were interested enough to read at least the first 19 chapters (while I was still blogging live) and expressed to me their enjoyment in doing so, these last chapters would never have been written. Again my thanks and appreciation for your time, I hope you found it to be entertaining and worth your while.

If any of you have any questions or comments about this saga or my time in Turkey in general, please feel free to email me. Or hopefully, you will book a flight in the Tetons with us and we can talk about it in person.

P.S. - I ended up losing between 10 and 15 pounds that last week in Turkey. About a month after I got home, I experienced an intestinal blockage and while at the hospital had some blood tests done. About a week after that, I got a call from the regional disease control office. The guy said my blood test revealed the Campylobacter bacteria, so he was required to ask me all these questions about how I may have contracted it. Once I told him I had been in Turkey for 3 months, he seemed to relax a bit. That's what had made me so sick, Campylobacter. For more some basic FAQ on the bacteria, click here.
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