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Entry 53 // OUT OF AFRICA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Update by: Luke | April 28th 2011

I have been waiting for this to happen for a while. To put it bluntly Africa got old. I am not fond of it's "culture" and the way I am treated. I am so happy to be finally leaving. This is rare for me in my travels. I usually like everywhere I go. Africa has been so much different. My personality does not fit in well here. I have never been so excited to get on a 4:00 A.M. plane before. Seid orders up a cab for us at his house and follows us to the airport to wish us well on the next chapter in our adventure. See you Seid. Thanks so much for all the help!I sleep on the plane. This is new for me. I never sleep on planes, but I never ride an empty plane. Once airborne Everyone spreed out and I got a full empty row for me to sprawl out on. I can't sleep sitting up, but I can sleep anywhere if I'm laying down. I missed a meal somewhere in the air, but I woke up to see this as we were coming into Bahrain. (don't worry, I've never heard of it before either)We tromp through the airport wearing our riding boots and jacket not because it's stylish, but because you can only check so much luggage before they want you to start paying. Gulf Air was really nice to us though. Ben some how checked 46 KG's of gear in 3 bags without being charged any fees. I like Gulf Air.

Nick and I spotted the Applebee's sign way before Ben. We have been talking about wanting some American food for a long time now, and our hour and a half lay over gave us just enough time to fully enjoy the free coke refills. Yes, that is not a typo. Unlimited free refills. I am proud to say I am American when it comes to food.After breakfast and a few tweets from the airport, we hop back on a plane heading for Istanbul. This flight was also not full and I enjoyed a nap again. We land in Europe around noon. Plenty of time to do the customs stuff and settle into a nice hotel. We think. Well, America is on the list of countries that require a visa so Nick and I wait in the visa line while Ben saves $20. And that is not complaining. This is the cheapest and fastest visa we have gotten during this entire trip. Most expensive goes to Russia at $500 a pop. It's like an assembly line here. They peel off the sticker before you can even get your money out of your wallet, really fast. I've had longer toll booth experiences on the highway. The customs line, now this is a completly different story. The line stretches way past the cattle gaurds, so nautrally people try to cut in. People like us, but this time I felt a bit guilty so we walk to the end of the line like good sheep. Good thing too, because there was a line Natzi, who was calling people out for cutting. Nick and I could care less about this line. It's a line not in Africa so that makes us happy. After two hours we meet back up with Ben on the otherside. Now it's luggage time. Nick grabs our bags while Ben and I look for a trolly. They are all out. I find a big flat bed unused by a gaurd. I walk and start to pull it away. Gaurd turns me down. ok, back to the luggage and Nick smiles as he already has the luggage and two carts for us. Awesome, now off to find a cab to take us some place, and I hope it's some place warm, cause it's really cold standing outside on the sidewalk. Randomly we see some Germen bikers. They are heading into Iran for some reason.We get a cab and head off to a Hostel that Nick found via free wifi from a airport bar. (password 34istanbul if anyone is interested.) Cab ride into town. There is a huge old wall built around the city. Kind of reminds me of Rome. I'm sure I would have known about this if I did any research before hand, but this is why I like going into places blind. Everything is a suprise and exciting.Wow this city is big. 18 million I hear. In the top 3 largest of the world? Makes sense because we have been driving for 20 minutes and the city will not quit. The cab driver does not speak English, and we do not speak whatever the cab driver does. (Is it called Turkish?) It's odd that way more people could speak English throughout Africa than in Istanbul, the 3rd largest city in the world. The cab driver drops us off, and Nick walks into check out the place.

It's full. Ok, now what? We have a more gear than we can walk with, it's freezing cold, and we are hungry/tired. I volenteer to look for a place while ben and nick hangout at a diner and watch the gear. I return hungry and tired after an hour with bad news, and a picture of a round tower.All the hostels are full. Our best bet is to go a mile across the river to a new part of town. We already paid 30 euro in a taxi fair and do not want to have to deal with taxis again and again until we find a place. Nick gets a good idea of looking on his computer for lonely planet recommendations. He has all the lonely planet books on PDF files. He finds a few and get the waiter to call them on his cell phone.All of a sudden the waiter gets an idea and tells Ben to follow him down the road. (Did I mention everyone has been extreemly helpful to us so far.) Ben returns with good news. There is an apartment building we can rent for a few days. We can get two rooms with a community bath for 30 Liera total. $20 USD. That's a good price. We take it. As a bonus it even has a weak wifi signal.

It doesn't take Nick and I long to blow up a room. Our stuff goes everywhere.The bath leaves something to be desired. I'm not sure if I'm going to use that shower. I don't smell that bad right now.The apartment guys are very helpful with everything. Getting us the password for the internet, making sure we are comfortable. There is a juice stand outside the door which I take advantage of before we settle in for a solids nights sleep.We are tired, but we made it. It feels good to be out of Africa. Our bikes should be here in two days, so that gives us some time to check out the city, but for now it's bed time, both in this story and for me as I write this a few days later.




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