After three wonderful day’s in Cappadocia we decided to return to Istanbul. We wanted to move on and get to Syria and we had just found out that the Syrian embassy had returned our passports to the hotel without the required visas in them. Apparently I had to be there myself to drop them off and pick them up, I knew it was never going to be easy.
Up early the next day with the usual chaos that ensues every morning the Ring’s have to get anywhere by a fixed time, we were picked up by hotels driver. I had a niggling thought in the back of my mind that we were going to run into problems at the airport with our passports or lack of them. The Syrians had the originals in Istanbul and we had photocopies, we didn’t need them on the train, flying was different.
Like I said, flying was different. The moment I handed the tickets and photocopies to the check-in girl it was kicked upstairs to the desk manager, who then kicked it upstairs to the police, Lisa said keep smiling, so I smiled. Luckily we had the adorable Elka and Axel, the two blue eyed, blonde haired wonders to keep the whole airport amused.
I was asked where our passports were by the check in manager with the top ranking cop standing beside him, I told them with the Syrian embassy for visa processing, he then asked me for the receipt from the embassy, I told him I didn’t have a receipt as I had arranged for the hotel in Istanbul to drop them off. I could see them looking at each other now. I remembered I had a business card from Mr. James Geary the Honoury Irish Consul in Istanbul, who I had met when getting letters of introduction for the Syrians. I produced this and explained to them that they could phone him and he would vouch for me with regard to my story. I was then asked when and where I had entered Turkey, I told them and they went off to verify the details of this statment.
All this time the whole airport was taking a personal interest in the four strange passenger trying to board a flight without passports.
The flight time was creeping nearer, we hadn’t received a verdict on whether we were going to be allowed to travel.
I was waiting nervously by the check in desk, still smiling indulgently at all the attention that was being heaped upon Elka and Axel and one cop ask’s me if they were my children, I insisted that they were, another one then asked me my nationality, I said Irish and he said, ‘no, your original nationality, I was starting to worry. I knew Lisa would be a basketcase if we had to spend the day in Kayseri waithing for the Istanbul train.
Suddenly chief of police reappears waving our photocopies, all smiles and comes over to the desk manager and myself , tells me my story checks out and we are free to travel. Welcome he say’s.
Special thanks to Mr. James Geary, Honoury Irish Consul, The good cops of Cappadocia for doing such a thorough job.