A couple of years back, I took a trip to Istanbul, alone.
When I first arrived, it was 5:30am local time. I was exhausted so couldn’t wait to get to the Airbnb I had booked near the Blue Mosque.
The owner of the property owned a travel company and said he could arrange for me to be collected from the airport for a fee. I agreed. Makes sense.
However the whole experience was a total nightmare! Firstly I had to wait for his driver at the airport who didn’t arrive for 30-odd minutes after I had come out. Hmph, annoying but not the end of the world.
Secondly he took me to the travel company address (not the property address), dropped me off and left me there. No instructions. Errr okay what do I do now? So I rang the guy who answered after a few tries, 10 mins later. “Oh Mr Faisal, yes ok I will send someone to bring the keys to you and take you there. please wait 10 minutes.”
I waited 24 mins actually. In the dark. In the cold. With heavy luggage. In a random and not so nice part of Istanbul. Multiple Ayat Al Kursi type scenario.
Anyway someone did come and then took me to the property through lots of back alleys. No help with luggage by the way. After 5–6 minutes we got there… And I got worried. Hmmm maybe it’s just horrible from outside I rationalised to myself. After all the pics were nice. After two flights of stairs (no lift) lugging around my bags I got there and there was a stunned silence. This was NOT what I was expecting. This was the mother of deceptive photography!
It was cold, smelled of damp and although I could see it was definitely the same room as the pics, it was a shadow of what those pics looked like! I was supposed to be working this week, how am I supposed to work from here?
I was too exhausted to argue and the guy was only a dogsbody who spoke no English. Let me get some kip and I’ll call the owner later.
I lay on the bed… It didn’t feel good. Then I started getting itchy. I can’t do this, I’m quite a low maintenance guy but this takes the proverbial.
It was now 7:30. After I scratched for the third time I had enough, right I need to call him now. A fellow Muslim guy I’m sure he’ll be good…