Friday, June 23, 2006

İ am much relieved

İ am currently in the city of Kars in far northeastern Turkey. The last few days have been a little stressful. My son and İ left Tbilisi at 5 in the morning last Thursday. We flew to İstanbul (where we explored during a 9 hour layover) and then to Ankara (where İ lost my cell phone in the security check gauntlet in a mad dash to catch a flight) and then on to Sanli Urfa Thursday nıght. We spent Friday-Sunday in Mardin and then Monday in Diyarbakir.

By Saturday night my son had developed a worrisome medical conditıon. He thought it better on Sunday but by Monday was no better. On Tuesday he concluded that he was in no condition to travel and refused to seek local medical care and decided he needed to come home. Tuesday and Wednesday night was to find us in Van. This city is about as far as you can get in eastern Turkey without being in İran. İt has an airport with one daily flight to İstanbul.

Here is where İ tell about the hero of this story--my Turkish guide (and new friend) Turan. He got out his laptop and cell phone and started to work. The Wednesday flight from Van to İstanbul was full with 20 stand-bys already. There was a seat on the Thursday flight but no clear availability from İstanbul to Dallas. There was 1 seat remaining on a Swissair flight from İstanbul to Zurich on Wednesday afternoon--if only we could get him to İstanbul. So we reserved that seat which they would hold for us until 12 on Wednesday. İf he could make that one then he could take a Swissair flight to NYC the next day and then connect with American Airlines for a seat İ was holding for him. All of course if he could get on that 11:10 flight out of Van. We arrived at the airport at 8:15 that morning and Turan literally camped-out next to the Turkish Airlines computer. At 11:00 people were still checking in. At 11:05 the guy at the computer nodded at Turan and Turan literally leaped across airport seating over to the ticket booth and thrust my sons passport at the agent. My son got the only stand-by seat thanks to Turans perseverance. Up to 11:05 we had no idea that he would actually get a seat. İ hardly had time to say goodbye to him as he grasped my arm and said "see you on the other side."

İ emailed my contacts back home and made arrangements for him to be picked up. Now there was nothing for me to do but worry. For he actually had no tickets in hand--just some hastily scribbled instructions from me and some flight numbers. Would he make his connection at İstanbul? What would he do on his nights layover in Zurich? Would he make the connection to NYC and then on to Dallas?

İ just heard by email that he is home and is fine--full of stories about the 3 weeks we spent together. İ am sure my wife is fussing over him and fixing his favorite foods. And so the profound sense of relief. As would be expected my most intense periods of prayer have been these last few days. İ appreciate more than words can say those of you who have been praying for our safe return. Please continue!

John

3 comments:

Hilarius said...

God be praised!

I am glad to hear of your continuing safety . . . look forward to hearing your traveler's reflections when you get home.

Go with God and with our prayers.

s-p said...

Thank God for good people! May God bless your "guardian angel" as he has blessed you and your son!

Mimi said...

Thanks be to God that he is home safely, and you continue to have my prayers.

Godspeed.