Departure


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Asia » Turkmenistan » Ashgabat
May 22nd 2014
Published: October 1st 2017
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The more experienced of a traveller I become (and I will reach 100 countries on Saturday), the more chaotic my departures seem to get. I am a failure as a traveler and clearly cannot be taught.

That aside, I'm off. Well, we're off. The kids left first, on the 20th, so that they could spend a couple of days in Istanbul, where they had never been before. We gave them a list of usual suspects (Hagia Sophia, Blue Mosque, Topkopi, Basilica Cistern), and they also took the ferry to the Asian side of Istanbul and wandered through suburbs. This morning, I took Paul to BART at 4:45am, so he could catch his flight. He's currently (as I write this) in a cab from Ataturk to the kids' hotel, to meet them for dinner.

I had a meeting in Berkeley in the morning, which I attended but left early. I then rushed home, took care of final packing, because there is always final packing. Pas and I went to the bank to get yet more cash for tips, then we went to BART. I left Pas with the bags and drove back to the house. I started walking down the hill but suddenly got a horrible feeling that I had not packed my new camera – my Mother's Day gift! So I ran back to the house but could not find the camera. I figured I must have packed it on Saturday but didn't cross it off the list (which was true). So I ran back down to BART, but we had still missed the train.

I took a call on BART. Arriving at airport, we went to check Pas' bag in the International terminal, since he is going first through London. I decided I might as well check my bag, too … but they could not get it all the way to Ashgabat. Fortunately, Pas was still there, so we added it as a bag for him. Otherwise, I would have had to buy a Turkish visa, go through Immigration in Istanbul, go get my bag, go through Customs in Istanbul, recheck my luggage, go through security, etc. We went to the lounge to have a quick drink (cheers!) then I went to get on board my flight to Los Angeles, which was on-time.

At LAX, I walked from Terminal 7 to the International Terminal, then checked on with Lufthansa. They offered me a ton of money if I would switch from business to economy, so I agreed to it … but it turned out they didn't need my seat (which was a bit of a relief, but I could have used the cash). The plane was a brand new 747-8 – lovely, with large loos, but seats were very hard. Maybe Lufthansa requests particularly uncomfortable seats. In any case, I had dinner (trying to keep the sugar out), then went to sleep.

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