I got back to Denizli airport pretty early for my flight, just over 2 hours early in fact. I didn’t want to take any risks what with driving a manual transmission car for the first time in my life and all. Figured it would be better to miss rush hour.
I was hanging out for a bit and then decided to go up to the Turkish Airlines check in booth to get my boarding pass I noticed the computer sign above said some words I hadn’t seen before. Iptal edilen. I wasn’t sure about this, so went to ask the agent. She didn’t really speak much English but after a bit another agent came over and explained the flight was cancelled. Wha? They told me to go over to the Turkish Airlines desk and ask about arrangements.
The Turkish Airlines desk explained that my flight was cancelled, and that I had been booked for another flight the next morning. Um, bummer, majorly. Now, please recall that the airport is about 30 minutes away from anything at all, and probably 45 minutes to an hour from Denizli (and one and a half hours from Pamukkale). I asked, so what am I supposed to do? They said, well, we called you, you should have made arrangements. I pointed out that my phone number had a foreign code, that I didn’t have a phone here. They were pretty aghast I didn’t have a cell phone, which was funny and irritating at the same time.
They then suggested to have my ride bring me back to wherever I was. Obviously this was a problem being that my ride was a manual transmission Mercedes Benz rental car, parked in the parking lot outside. I sure wasn’t getting in THAT thing again, and definitely not paying for it. I asked, is there a bus or taxi? Nope. I told them, well, I’d have to stay overnight at the airport, I didn’t know what else to do. They said I couldn’t do that because it closed in two hours. All right, I said I’d sleep outside. They weren’t giving me any other option. I’d had to do something like this before in Marseille, France a few years back, when the train station kicked everyone out at 2am for four hours, but it was slightly different in July just a few km off the Mediterranean, with a bunch of other people, you know?
I made to go sit outside and I guess someone finally relented, they referred me to another woman who explained all this to me again (I guess they thought I didn’t understand) and I explained everything over to her again, that there was no way for me to leave or go anywhere. I think she felt bad, being that we were the same age, and she decided to see what she could do. All of a sudden, Turkish Airlines was offering to bring me back to Denizli to a 5 star hotel, where there would be a “much fun party”. Uh, sure, sounded better than hanging at the airport!
Just about then two confused-looking Korean sisters, the same age as my younger sister and I, came up to the booth with the same problem. They worked the deal out for them also. We had to wait about an hour and a half for this shuttle to come, and then we found ourselves on a bus back to Denizli. The girls won the favor of everyone on the bus when they were able to get the son of the driver to stop crying by playing with the toggles on their knit hats. The people at the airport had said that we would be told where our stop was. All of a sudden, the ticket collector came up to us and yelled, “Now!” We got off in a busy intersection with no identifiable hotel in sight. Then we saw a guy with a car waving to us to get in. Uh, this could possibly go very wrong. But at least I’d have two random Korean girls to keep me company.
After a long drive we ended up on the complete opposite outskirts of the city at a place called Anemon Hotel. It was pretty swanky, if mostly abandoned. There was some event there for some more busloads of Korean tourists, who appeared to be the only others in the hotel besides the staff and us. The rooms, while SUPER swanky, were kind of freaky- you could see into the bathroom from the room and vice versa! Super weird and NOT a turn-on.
The girls and I went down to the reception to see about the “much fun” that was promised us. There wasn’t really much going on and the concierge didn’t know of any events. There was nothing in walking distance from the hotel, either. We decided to get something to eat at the restaurant A buffet was set out for the tourists but it was kind of awful. I decided to opt for a dish of sea bass with vegetables, which turned out to be very fresh and tasty, if slightly on the expensive side for me (20 lira, but a steal for a deluxe restaurant, about $11). The girls were super nice and we made the best of our bizarre situation. We toasted to New Years’ early and headed off to bed around 10:30pm, as we were advised to be downstairs for our ride back to the airport no later than 5:45 am.
The next morning we set off and got to the airport and on our flight with no issues. We got to Istanbul Ataturk airport around 9:30 and decided to take the subway together, as we were all staying in the Sultanahmet area near the tourist sites. Some websites I’d read said it was very confusing to get to town on the subway, but it was pretty easy. We did have to transfer once, but it was no deal at all. Someone gave us an Istanbulkart (local metro card) as we were about to get on, so I paid all our fares with that.
The girls got off at the stop before me and I waved them off and wished them good luck with the rest of their travels.