I had a nice long sleep in, in my air conditioned room in Bucharest. I went down and had breakfast before going back up to spend the remainder of the morning watching TV on my lap top in my room. I'd never been to Bucharest before, but the thought of grappling with the heaving dirty metropolis in the heat really didn't appeal to me today.
I had a nice long skype chat with Mum and then my passengers started filtering back in to go to the airport. At this point I was sitting and chatting to Pauline in the lobby, when my phone made the noise it makes when I get a skype text. I looked down and the message was from Jen at Absolute Africa, letting me know I got the job. I screamed out ran around and hugged everyone. I'M GOING BACK TO AFRICA! I screamed. I then skyped Mum again to tell her the good news before jumping on the airport transfer bus which would take us to the airport to get on a plane to my favourite city in the world…. Istanbul.
We arrived at the airport way to early, but that's how I roll. We had a coffee and then I checked everyone in for their flight, much the same way I did with the taxi's in Brasov. I was the flight captain and I made Cherie my co-pilot. I'd had to spread everyone over two bookings, so of course I could only be on one.
We sat near the gate for a while and the passengers shopped for duty free items. I had a Gloria Jeans coffee, I know that sounds boring, but normal coffee is so hard to find in this neck of the woods, so yes it is worth writing about.
We boarded our flight and were in the air for about an hour before we touched down at Sabhia Gocken airport on the other side of Istanbul. For anyone that doesn't know, Sabhia Gocken airport and I have a history. Memories of being stranded at the poxy little shed like airport in the middle of no were in 2006 came flooding back. I stepped off the plane and did a little happy dance, I was so glad to be back in Turkey.
We got on the little bus that would take us to the terminal, went through passport control and collected our luggage. Our airport transfer was waiting for us in the arrivals hall and we got straight into the minivan waiting outside. Once I had everyone loaded up, I pointed my camera towards the back seat and said, Everyone say Istanbul! ISTANBUL! Everyone yelled as I took their picture.
We drove over to the European side and I did my Fez driving tour on the way in, pointing out the Bosporus bridge, the Dolmabache Palace and the Golden Horn. We arrived at our hotel, which was off the main street in the Sulanhamet and went straight out for dinner. We had dinner at a roof top restaurant overlooking the Blue Mosque which was all lit up for Ramadan and I sat their telling stories about all the buildings with the people I was telling them to hanging off my every word.
The passengers were tired so they decided to go back to the hotel, I however, was also tired but decided to stay out anyway in the city I love so much and hadn't seen for the longest time. The first order of business was to relocate Akbiyik Caddessi, or the Strip at the Fez tour leaders affectionately called it. I did this with no trouble and stood and looked on at the place where I had once had so much fun. It was slightly bittersweet as I knew I had left this place for all the wrong reasons and would probably never have as much fun here as I had four years ago.
After my trip down memory lane I went for a walk through the gardens outside the Blue Mosque, which were alive and swarming with people celebrating Ramadan. There were families having picnics, men selling cotton candy and corn on the cob and even one man with three small rabbits who asked me, Rabbit tell your fortune? What a dumb question, Of course I want the rabbit to tell me my fortune! The man had a board filled with coloured slips of paper, which he placed under the smallest rabbit's nose until the rabbit pulled one out. He then gave it to me to read, Apparently, I will find my true love this year. Slightly skeptical on that one I'm afraid Bugs.
I left the Blue Mosque gardens and went for a walk up the other side of the street where I found the lamp shop I had bought my favourite lamp from. I went in and started chatting to the owner, Masoud, who of course invited me to stay for tea. I ended up sitting outside his shop drinking tea with his until about 2am, at which point I excused myself and went back to the hotel and to bed, completely content with my life.