We flew to Bodrum Saturday morning. It’s nothing to get there, just a 40-minute flight, but, of course, you spend hours and hours at the airport. And the security at the Istanbul airport is more rigorous than anyplace I’ve ever been as we had to go through two full-on security checks before boarding and then once on the plane, they came through and made us all individually identify our carry-on bags. This either makes you feel very secure or, if you’re like me, wonder what sort of risks are they confronting that they have to be so meticulous.
The funny thing is, the drive in from the Bodrum airport took us much longer than the flight itself. And it could have been worse. There was a big bike race going on, the Tour of Turkey, and much of the 22 miles of highway between the airport and Bodrum was closed. Which is why it’s always so great to be traveling with Sidar. At the first road block, he had the van driver pull up to a police car and Sidar hopped out. I saw him showing my business card to the policeman and pointing at me. A few minutes later, we were told to follow behind an official chase vehicle. I asked Sidar what he had said to the policemen. He said he’d told them I was a famous American journalist here to cover the race and so they let us through.
Twice more we got stopped. Each time Sidar told them some fanciful story and we were waved through. While the drivers of other cars halted at busy intersections and along the side of the road wondered why we were getting through and they weren’t. Not exactly ethical but what could I do? I was just the passenger.