The flight to Israel from Amman, Jordan to Tel Aviv was just a 45 minute hop, and I arrived at 5:00 on a Friday afternoon, the start of the Jewish Shabbat or sabbath. From sundown Friday to sundown Saturday, Israeli public transit, stores, and many restaurants and services close down. The airport was like a ghost town, and the heavy security screenings I’d anticipated did not happen at all.
After an eventful, and quite honestly a rather stressful stay in Egypt, my next stop was Jordan.I’d made prior arrangements to meet a Bedouin guide named Odeid, who was from the southern part of Jordan at the Amman airport and he would be taking me to the famous archeological site Petra, and then to his Bedouin camp near the Saudi border. My flight out of Egypt was delayed a bit, but eventually I was in the air for the short, 45 minute-long flight. However, once I’d arrived, there was one little problem with me getting into the formally titled, Kingdom of Jordan.
Even though I’d read that the name Cairo was Arabic for “The Victorious One”, after only an hour in the Egyptian capital I began to wonder if something had gotten lost in translation, because to me, Cairo must certainly be the Arabic word for “chaos.”
In 2014, after exploring nearly every corner of Europe, I set my sights upon Turkey as my next vacation adventure. After spending a few days in the exotic and lovely Cappadocia region of central Turkey, hiking scenic desert canyons, staying in a hotel carved into bizarrely shaped rock formations, dining on wonderful food, and trying to learn a little Turkish, it was time to go to the big city, and as I boarded my flight and buckled myself in, I practiced the wealth of Turkish I’d acquired thus far. I knew merhaba (hello), but found “goodbye” in Turkish to be unpronounceable, so I avoided that phrase! Kelebek (which was the name of my hotel in Cappadocia) means “butterfly” and of course everyone knows what a kebab is. As the flight attendant gave her safety briefing, I added cikis to my vocabulary, which means “exit.” Oh yes, Istanbul, I am ready for you!