A sojourn in Turkey

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So there was a massive snowstorm across Istanbul last week, which prompted our Turkish Airlines flight – and a bunch of other flights – to divert to Antalya instead of Istanbul, which should have worked out well for us since that was our final destination where we were going to attend the Samsung Forum which showcases their latest in innovation and techie things. (For cool Samsung thingi bobs, check out my Instagram and Facebook). We were flying Turkish Airlines…you know those chaps with decorative ads on CNN?

Things were going OK. Since flying back to Istanbul was out of the question we were sure some suit with a big title in Turkish aviation would say, “This is a special case, allow these chaps in. We are happy to have them here in Antalya, the home of 500 five-star hotels. Let them come experience our hospitality.”

That didn’t happen.

We landed at 11am and by 1pm over a dozen re-routed planes had arrived at this small airport, which meant more folk who had plans to be elsewhere suddenly found themselves stuck in Antalya. No matter, Turkish Airlines were kind enough to give us a complimentary lunch of burgers, pizzas and sodas for lunch. Then they told us “You have shibad, ama? Sawa, si you guys chill here as we sort your maneno chap chap! We won’t be long.” Two hours later there was no sign or word from them.

By this this time the terminal was building into a frenzy. People who had plans elsewhere in the world; Dinners in Berlin, breakfast in New York, dentist appointments in Dubai, doctor’s appointments in Milan, a dinner date with Svelt in Oslo. All that ruined! And they were angry because nobody was saying anything. The melee, as expected, soon began. People started shouting and screaming in all languages; Hindi, Dutch, Arab, German, Congolese, Kikuyu, Russian, French, “Wee want to see zee captain! What eees wrong wiz you peeepo!”

The problem is there are only about seven people who speak English in all of Turkey (not counting the Kikuyu guy who sells mementos on Bride Street), and so the airport officials were at a loss as to what to tell this agitated crowd. They spoke back in Turkish and everybody responded in their own languages, spitting with fluent rage. It quickly disintegrated into chaos.

Through the locked door of the room we were holed up, we could see the immigration counters, and a bunch of officials in a cluster with their foreheads touching, seriously deliberating. Then some Arab looking guy with a Yankee accent started rapping on the glass pane with his knuckles. Folk started shouting. The Turkish fuzz arrived; grim looking Turkish chaps with pistols strapped to their hips. Their boss, a chap with bad hair (Most Turks have bad hair) opened the door a crack and said something in heavy Turkish, which I imagined loosely translated to “Calm your tits down!” More officials arrived and words were exchanged and nobody understood anyone and people shouted some more and the cops kept saying, “Stiiiiiiiiiiip baaaak, stiiiiiiiip baaaaak!” but nobody was stiiiiiping baaak.

Finally somehow they succumbed to the pressure and started allowing people in, one by one. You showed your passport and visa and were allowed in. The first Somali chap who showed up was turned away. Then an Indian was turned away. Then a Pakistani. Then finally when our group had squeezed our way to the door, we were all turned away. “But we have a visa, look here, this is a visa and it’s not from River Road, this is our final stop!” But we were told, “Kenyans wiiiiii will explain!” Explain what? “Wiiiii will explain! Stay away, please! Stiiiiiiiip baaak!” Apparently, since our port of entry was supposed to be Istanbul, Antalya didn’t have any authority to let us into the country! But we couldn’t go back to Istanbul either because it was snowed over, so officially we were persona non grata.

One by one other nationalities started streaming in through this glass door, mostly Europeans and Americans and anyone who didn’t look like they came from a country that has slums. Finally they made a decision to allow everybody in, but once inside we were segregated; all the whites were allowed to go straight to the immigration counters and all Africans, Indians and some Pakistanis were held in a holding area cordoned off by a ring of airport officials. Nobody told us shit.

It was now around 6pm, the temperature is 8 degrees and dropping and we are standing in this big crowd, all of us, with this ring of guards, legs apart, hands behind backs, surrounding us. We stood there for close to two hours as people with the right passports were allowed through.

I mean, what would you think if you were us? Sure enough, one guy who looked like he came from Vietnam or Cambodia started really causing a real stink, asking if we weren’t “human enough” that it was very “unjust” to keep us there like “animals” as the rest passed through. Why you do this? Why you do this to us? Don’t touch me! Do. Not. Put. Your. Hand. In. me. (Haha, it’s “on me”, Kunthea!).

There was a dark short stocky chap from West Africa, given his accent, who we nicknamed Martin Luther and who walked through the crowd saying in that Armageddon voice, “This is exactly what it looks like, this is what it is, what you are seeing here is what is happening. We are being treated like this because of our colour!” Oh yes, it was getting interesting all right. The guards encircling us stared back with nonplussed faces. Meanwhile mothers shushed their crying kids. Outside, through the windows, the air was grey and unmoving, like a scene in the Walking Dead.

I assume the human ring around us was meant to prevent us from making a run for it, because Turkey is just the place we were dying to seek asylum in. We had all nursed a childhood dream to disappear into Turkey and this was our moment. This impasse held for a while. Some chaps with the right passports walking past us took a video with their phones, because that’s what you do at the zoo.

Meanwhile, Patricia from Samsung Kenya, completely upset, walked over to where I was standing and said, “Well, you look awfully calm, Biko!”

I was calm because I knew how this would end for us quarantined souls. A deal had been made long ago; we would all end up as slaves in Turkey. I knew it because that grim airport is the only international airport I have been to that doesn’t have a single open Wi-Fi. I think they shut it down to enable them to execute their barbaric human rights violations. We would be shipped to farms and estates to work for the hairy and wealthy Turkish elites. There would be a massive uproar of course. The world would cover its mouth in collective horror. Back at home there would be concerted efforts to release us – through hashtags of course. Obama, after much goading, would make a stern statement using phrases like “affront to the gains made by humans as a civilized race,” but he wouldn’t send the Black Hawks to rescue us. No – to use an overused American axiom – “Boots on the ground.”

This diplomatic standoff would continue for ages, meanwhile we would all end up working as slaves for different wealthy Turkish masters until all the twitter hangtags disappeared and we ended up forgotten.

The Nigerians would be sent to farms, naturally. The few Sudanese with us would be sent to factories. The Indians would be forced to work in carpet shops. Other Asians would be made to do jobs like walk the masters’ dogs, or clean the horses because they have brittle bones and kind faces that can’t upset pampered farm animals. The South Africans would get it the roughest because they would learn, after all this while, that they are, after all, Africans. Have you been to SA and asked one of them if they have been to Kenya and with a straight face they say, “No, I haven’t been to Africa?” Happened thrice in two different cities. And these are chaps with university degrees.

The Somalis would be sent off to the cold Mediterranean seas with their masters who own luxury yachts, as deckhands because even the Turkish watched Captain Phillip and they loved the part where that skinny Somali pirate tells the captain, “Hey, look at me, look at me, I am the captain now.”

I wasn’t too worried about ending up working in the farms, because amongst the Kenyans present, there were burly chaps who would do the farm work. Like Eugene from The Star newspaper and Martin of Techweez, large chaps with big hands. Straight to the farms. I would probably end up as a butler, opening doors, taking coats for the masters’ guests and kissing major Turkish ass. My slave name would be Pinto.

A cold wind blew through the lounge we were standing in. We clutched at our jackets.  Hands shoved deep in pockets.  The few Nigerians, donned in regal flowing traditional attire – because Nigerians hate looking at the BBC Weather to determine appropriate clothing – stoically stood there in their sandals, clucking under their breaths. We were upset and miserable. If you wanted to go to the loo, you were escorted by a guard.

Have you ever, as a Kenyan, been stuck in the airport of a godforsaken country because of some flight mishap, and gotten so lonely and miserable and a little scared and your phone is dead and you are the only black face and a black face is a rarity and people steal curious glances your way wondering if you own a pet leopard back in Africa, and you are cold and hungry because you only have Kenyan shillings in your wallet and you forgot to call your bank to enable your Visa, so you can’t swipe, and borrowing a phone to make contact is like trying to sell water to a drowning man and you just want to go back home to your mommy? But then suddenly you look out of the window and see a beautiful Kenya Airways plane nudging its way on the runway, with its snub-nose and gorgeous colours of our flag on its tail and you want to jump up and down with joy and chant “KQ! KQ!” like a child, and place a hand on your chest and sing the national anthem in trembly Swahili, and as you do, you suddenly see one of the KQ stewardesses walk briskly through the lounge – long-legged, thin smiled, straight backed and black as midnight, dragging a suitcase behind her and you run to her, hurl yourself at her feet and kiss it many times saying, “I’m sorry if I ever tweeted something bad about KQ, but please don’t leave me here. Please don’t leave me with these people. Please, take me home!” Then she pats your head reassuringly and you just start crying. Has that ever happened to you?

Well, that didn’t happen to us either.  There was no KQ.

We were alone.

In bleeding Turkey.

With nobody to help us.

At some point before we were quarantined, there was an elderly British lady, completely red in the cheeks, who screamed in the face of one of the airport officials: GET. ANYONE. FROM. TURKISH. AIRLINES. DOWN. HERE. NOW. PLEASE! And she kept repeating it, accentuating her words, hoping he would understand. He didn’t. I loved how even in anger she kept adding, “please” at the end of her request. Quite Bri’ish, innit, luv?

Anyway, Turkish Airlines officials never showed up. After the burgers, they simply hurled us under the bus. Not a single official from the airline came to assure us that we wouldn’t end up as slaves. They were probably watching us all on their CCTVs and giggling like little girls at a rugby game. It’s surreal just how nonchalant they were.

This is the dhing. Often the way most airlines treat unhappy passengers is like how a man handles a displeased girlfriend. If your woman all of a sudden has taken to complaining, saying stuff like “You never make time for me, you are always hanging out with your boys. Am I in this relationship alone? Tell me, Mark, so that I know! I don’t want to feel like I’m forcing myself on you. I don’t want to feel like I’m the only one in this relationship but I’m starting to feel that I am. So tell me what the hell is wrong because you have changed, you are not the same Mark I started dating. In fact on my birthday you kept me waiting for two hours, you kept saying ‘I’m almost coming, I’m almost there!’ Then you show up and you come with this stupid bracelet as a gift! Mark, you have been with me for two years now, have you ever seen me wear a bracelet before? Eh? Stop touching me and answer me! Have you ever seen me wear a bracelet before? Exactly, I don’t wear bracelets because I don’t fucking like bracelets, haalllo! And yet you bring me bracelets on my 30th birthday?! [She actually said it was her 29th birthday but are you going to point that out now?). You are not serious, Mark, you are just not serious. You are not taking me seriously and you aren’t taking this relationship seriously and I’ve about had it up to my tits. Then this bad habit of you coming to my place drunk at 4am has to stop! You make me feel like a whore, getting drunk and coming to try and have your way with me, like I’m your plaything. Do I look like a plaything, Mark? Do you think I can’t go out and hang out with my girls until 4am? I can, Mark, but I choose not to because I’m mature! I’m a grown ass woman. But I hate it when you come over like that Mark, it makes me feel so damned cheap. Sniff. Why don’t you make time for me, Mark? Am I not important? Do I have to beg to spend some time with you? Wipe off that that sorry pussy face and answer me! What do you want, Mark?”

And it goes on and on as you stare at your shoes. What do you do gentlemen? When it’s at that point? I will tell you what Turkish Airlines would do if it they were Mark. Turkish Airlines would bury its head in the sand and pretend she isn’t mad. Hell Turkish Airlines would pretend she is invisible; that what he is hearing is coming from a hologram. Because if Turkish Airlines reached into all its pockets and emptied them out, you will not find one single fuck in there. And none to give.

I have very fond memories of Turkish Airlines. Of their bland sandwiches with cold cheese peeking out shyly from the sides praying you don’t actually eat it. I have fond memories of the pilot saying stuff in English that sounded like someone was reciting the lines of a dirge from the bottom of a well.  I mostly remember the legroom in Economy, and how I tried to catch some ZZZs, but it was so cramped, I had to slide my long knees out in the aisle and a passing trolley almost took out my kneecap. I remember sitting next to Eugene, a big man no less, and trying to get into a comfortable position to sleep and fearing that I would end up with my head on Eugene’s large shoulders and people would think we are a couple. Not saying that Eugene wouldn’t make a nice girlfriend (albeit with big elbows), it’s just that we are both straight and wouldn’t want to give an impression but. Have you ever dozed off in a plane and woken up to find your head on the next guy’s shoulder? Do you know how awkward that is? Especially if you drooled on his shirt? And you have to wipe it off with a sheepish look? And you know he will NEVER wear that shirt again? Turkish Airlines might not read this, or even care but someone please tell them that they have earned a place in my top-5 list of Airlines not to transport my dog in.

Unfortunately, because I’m writing this, it’s obvious we didn’t end up in slavery. I’m not a doorman somewhere in Ankara. I’m not Pinto, but after that episode, God knows I could use a pint.

 

[Image Credit: Times Online]

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147 Comments
  1. Hahaha, sorry Pinto.I know that feeling,right? How one’s chest swells at the sight of KQ bird in a foreign airport….Make it back home safely.

  2. Unfortunately after reading this, Turkish Airlines would bury their heads in the sand and assume you didn’t say all that! What an unfortunate experience!

  3. So many “hahahaha” moments despite experiencing racism, (I know i shouldn’t be laughing but hey! Blame Pinto for describing the experience so comically).

    Have you been to SA and asked one of them if they have been to Kenya and with a straight face they say, “No, I haven’t been to Africa?” Happened thrice in two different cities. And these are chaps with university degrees……..I call this philistinism at its highest degree.

    1. I mostly remember the legroom in Economy, and how I tried to catch some ZZZs, but it was so cramped, I had to slide my long knees out in the aisle and a passing trolley almost took out my kneecap. I remember sitting next to Eugene, a big man no less, and trying to get into a comfortable position to sleep and fearing that I would end up with my head on Eugene’s large shoulders and people would think we are a couple. Not saying that Eugene wouldn’t make a nice girlfriend (albeit with big elbows), it’s just that we are both straight and wouldn’t want to give an impression but….

  4. That part about being frustrated in an Airport and seeing KQ wishing you could get on it, Happened to me in Jo’burg. Had been waiting for hours and no one was telling me anything then I saw the Flag on the tail first, then Kenya Airways on the side. I literally cried as fellow Kenyans boarded coz I couldn’t get on that flight. Swore never to hate on KQ again.

  5. Ouch! Someone tripped over your live wire. the irony is in the image they have put out there on our screens about that little paradise up there when you fly with them. You must have wished you had flown with Wetangula on that flight. right?

  6. “I’m sorry if I ever tweeted something bad about KQ, but please don’t leave me here. Please don’t leave me with these people. Please, take me home!” Then she pats your head reassuringly and you just start crying. Has that ever happened to you?
    Well, that didn’t happen to us either. There was no KQ.

    I almost saw redemption staring at your face only to show you its bottom again.

  7. And here I was thinking you were busy buying Turkish delights for all of us ardent fans. Kumbe you almost became Pinto! Pole kwa kazi.

  8. Hahaha, First of all, I am so humored by this, you are narrating a very unfortunate incident with so much laughter, Reminds me of ‘Laugh at my Pain’ and the times you digress to let your imagination work, I marvel! Thank God you are back, And when i was following the different devices you kept posting at the tech dhing, Had no idea what you had been through before!

  9. I concur with Kimulu. ’twas a long wait mpaka I was thinking Biko ng’oad me from the subscription list. Phew! Glad I was wrong

  10. Hahahahahahahaha! That’s a few minutes taken off work to read how I would make a good worker on account of big hands. I could ask ‘why always me?’, but that would imply I’ve been described as such before. Nay! This is a first! 😀 😀 😀 😀 ! A trip to remember that was. Anybody who’s not buying the above, Biko has the words, I have the footage. Find me on Facebook and see for yourself. 😀 😀 😀 😀

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  11. I was on that same flight… what a nightmare that was in Antalya… the way we were treated like Mabusu no one giving us any updates and no one speaking English…squeezing through that small door was the worst. Very well written article i wish i knew you i would have come hang out with you guys 🙂

  12. Then she pats your head reassuringly and you just start crying. Has that ever happened to you? Well, that didn’t happen to us either. There was no KQ…. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA.

  13. I know the feeling. Was once stranded in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. The guys from the hotel were supposed to pick me from the airport but they forgot. And the chaps at the customs thought I was running away from Kenya to be a refugee in Kyrgyzstan!!! All this time guys were coming out of the offices taking pictures of this ‘ape’ on their cell phones. Now who goes to be a refugee in Kyrgyzstan of all the places. Pole Biko!

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    1. Tom, hahahahahahhahahahahhahahahahhaha….I can’t stop laughing. Pole though. Kyrgyzstan. Africa is so bad, we want to be refugees anywhere!

  14. “my top-5 list of Airlines not to transport my dog in.”. ahahaahaha .. once is schiphol after a dreary stay and flight from Paris and while waiting hours for the connection to Kenya.. I glimpsed the KQ uniform .. the animal print brownish sweater..tears kissed the corners of my eyes and the KQ lady hugged me and told me ..In beautiful Kiswahili.. ” Kuja twende Kwetu Nyumbani!” I swore never to be too hard on KQ. Love your writing maaan!

  15. Isnt karma such a female dog Biko? U were here recently narrating to us parandeep’s saga with his luggage on some budget airline.you told us how you enjoyed seeing him try to put his point across.its your time pinto! Pole sana though

  16. Woah..this experience you guys had makes me feel like a cry baby when I have lamented being stared at in Asia, being interrogated on entry into and exit from Cambodia like I seriously wanted to ‘set camp there’ or being stopped for ten minutes or so, on entry into Croatia while all the whites whizzed by and being asked very strange questions (no matter that Croatia is in the EU and I have a Dutch resident permit along with my Kenyan passport).
    You guys deserve a public apology from Turkish Airlines and some compensation, that is wrong and racist treatment may I add!

  17. That’s it, if you don’t have the right passport you will get such kind of treatment in western and some Asian airports…and the way we treat these foreigners so well when they are in Kenya, almost kissing their asses and calling them sir. Try living in Europe and see how they treat foreigners especially from third world countries then you will never kiss their asses again. Sir my foot

  18. That KQ paragraph. Perfect!!

    (Now about that writing master class, could it be offered as a habit? Tams and Kimani would be much the better for it.)

  19. Man! How you managed to squeeze in that displeased girlfriend piece…hahaha! Great read as usual. Already Looking forward to the next one.

  20. The Somalis would be sent off to the cold Mediterranean seas with their masters who own luxury yachts, as deckhands because even the Turkish watched Captain Phillip and they loved the part where that skinny Somali pirate tells the captain, “Hey, look at me, look at me, I am the captain now.” Hahaha!

    I can help but just laugh at how you people were “hijacked”. So sad an experience! You remind me of slavery. How could Turkish airlines colour- bar you mazee.

    Don’t they know we are one? No. Jew. No back. No white.No. Oh come on! The world need Jesus.

  21. Also, I am with you on the crappy treatment by Turkish Airlines. I boarded a clean, time-keeping Turkish Airline with polite, trim-waisted attendants from Chicago to Istanbul, only to be bundled (with other Kenyans) into the opposite of said clean, etc plane from Istanbul to Nairobi. They also lose baggage-like all the time.

  22. That rant by displeased girlfriend and how you pieced it to Turkish Airlines! Hehehe-as a hand fits in a glove

    Pole for the ordeal. That maltreatment you guys received and the outright discrimination is despicable! Totally irksome! Reminded me of the horrific, nightmarish experiences I’m reading about in my current read-Britain’s Gulag

  23. Wow…that puts things into perspective,init? I had my own crazy moment with airports and flight this past weekend. Delayed flight, missed connection, re-routing through South Africa for what was to be all of 35 mins….but no, they said I needed a transit visit to be on their soil for 35 min. Result: deportation within 8 hours. 3 countries in 2 continents in less than 48 hours. NOT.FUN but I have read your blog and thought…..my experience wasn’t actually that bad. I’m home, safe and sound and happy you are too.

  24. In December, KQ pulled a “Turkish Airline” on a group of us from Accra. We were looking forward to coming home for the holidays and 3.5 hrs at the airport and none of the “long-legged, thin smiled, straight backed and black as midnight” flight attendants or customer service said jack!

    We got canned soda though; that should count for something right?

    I have my reservations on the National carrier lately!

  25. am stiiping back and enjoying this despite being 1:51 AM am laughing like that owner of a luxury yatch looking at my somali ‘captain’ and thinking of my butler Pinto…… I mostly remember the legroom in Economy, and how I tried to catch some ZZZs, but it was so cramped, I had to slide my long knees out in the aisle and a passing trolley almost took out my kneecap. I remember sitting next to Eugene, a big man no less, and trying to get into a comfortable position to sleep and fearing that I would end up with my head on Eugene’s large shoulders and people would think we are a couple. Not saying that Eugene wouldn’t make a nice girlfriend (albeit with big elbows), it’s just that we are both straight and wouldn’t want to give an impression but….

    Always sweet reading em’

  26. ” But then suddenly you look out of the window and see a beautiful Kenya Airways plane nudging its way on the runway, with its snub-nose and gorgeous colours of our flag on its tail and you want to jump up and down with joy and chant “KQ! KQ!” like a child, and place a hand on your chest and sing the national anthem in trembly Swahili.”

    http://mytinytwocents.blogspot.com/

  27. This happened to us exactly our luggage came in 4 days later n we were leaving back to nairobi the next day n when we arrived we looked like confused kenyans in the airport who had no idea we were to land in Turkey after all. N we spoke english n they jus responded in turkish n this happened everywhere. I totally feel this article.

  28. That bit about only 7 Turks who speak (or can communicate) in english, is so true. I was once stuck at the Instanbul Int Airport for over 5 hours after missing a connecting flight to Paris…..and could barely find a Turkish Airlines or airport official who understood me. For crying out loud, its an international airline at an international airport used by people of different nationalities!

  29. “I have fond memories of the pilot saying stuff in English that sounded like someone was reciting the lines of a dirge from the bottom of a well. ” Surely Biko! Where did you hear a dirge being recited from the bottom of a well? Fantastic writing.

  30. Turkish Airlines might not read this, or even care but someone please tell them that they have earned a place in my top-5 list of Airlines not to transport my dog in.

    Am on the floor, the entire piece is hilarious even if the experience was horrifying….. Wolololo Pole sana for the poor experience…. You have a way with words

    Turkish Airlines will bury their entire self in the sand so don’t expect any apology.

  31. I know Eugene. Yes, he has big hands, the kind that you want to fall into. Now, aren’t these the same guys who said we have primitive energy? They should compensate you! Well written piece though!

  32. Pinto, they probably would have made you a herdsman I had to delete herds-boy, herding the thick woolen sheep…………..great piece as always.

  33. Great piece Biko …I have never been stuck in an airport but the way you tell it sounds horrible.However,it was funny .”do not.put your hand in me” …did he actually say that,ad despite your ordeal you must have laughed at some of the things being said by those complaining.

  34. “I remember sitting next to Eugene, a big man no less, and trying to get into a comfortable position to sleep and fearing that I would end up with my head on Eugene’s large shoulders and people would think we are a couple. Not saying that Eugene wouldn’t make a nice girlfriend (albeit with big elbows), it’s just that we are both straight and wouldn’t want to give an impression”.

    From this, I discern that you should be the female in this relationship and not Eugene. It’s the females who normally have their heads on the males shoulders!!! I did take note of that.

  35. We just flew on that airline last week, and I swear on all that is holy (and a few unmentionable and unholy things) that I will never use them again. Horrid. One flight late, one flight missed and one flight cancelled, all in the span of a week. And no compensation. I’m just grateful they didn’t make us stay in their airport.

  36. So unfortunate Biko! I know this Turk (that’s how they are referred to?) I do a side hassle for. He’s a burly millionaire in the construction industry. Man, am going to shake him off a few coins (dollars that is!) and get you that pint! So sorry what you went through!

  37. Hm. Sounds like you met a few assholes. Sorry. I was however hoping you’d give us additional anecdotes about the others…You know, the Turkish people who aren’t provincial?

  38. Great piece Bikozulu!
    Grateful my wife pointed me in the direction of your blog two weeks ago (I have since read all your (and Clay’s on India) pieces! – ‘Get a Girl a Book’ remains my favoured piece. It shimmered!).

    If I said this piece made for edifying reading, I would be pulling a ‘turkish’ on you. It was, nonetheless, extremely hilarious and enjoyable. (#waitingonKQ). Please keep them coming, for they are welcome nutrition for my ailing heart (assuming that adage about laughter being good for the heart is true), and stress!!

  39. And THAT’S how I ended up NEVER flying Turkish Airlines, laughing like crazy while choking with rage. In fact, I am stiiiiping baaak from anything Turkish henceforth…

  40. Thank you, Pinto. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My boss offered me the choice of five flights to The Promised Land and Turkish was on it. Now it isn’t. And after the horror stories of BA, it’s no longer on the list either. Those ones through Doha or Dubai are out too; too near the slave-trading routes too. That leaves that crusty, unhappy partner of KQ. Pinto, could you say something nice about KLM so that they treat a poor, unlettered Kenyan boy from the rolling plains of Kilome with a little bit of love? Could you, please?

    1. Samson, about Emirates.. Their standards are high, their food is good, inflight service great, clean blankys..they are always on time, they take off and land smoothly and don’t get me started on Dubai Duty Free… Emirates anytime!

  41. Now you have gone and made me cry…cry because 1) I have a meeting coming up in Izmir in two weeks and 2) my 8 year old son does not want me to go to Turkey because the last time I was there in October, I spent 24 hours in a cell!!!! Yes, a cell. And so this has taken me back to an airport cell – no, a cigarette smoke-filled cell – because all the female immigration police in charge of us came for a smoke in the small toilet within the cell (i have never seen more irrational, insensitive, stonefaced people in my life…) sigh! I am glad you are back safe. I dread my trip – but the East still has the cheapest five star hotels to hold meetings for global organisations…..so I will go. I am sure I will survive, cause that’s what we do, right? Us guys with the “wrong passports?”
    Nice peace as usual

  42. Hahahaha! Who would have thought – here we were busy looking out for next post kumbe the Turks have Pinto locked up!

    Dude how you turned this nightmare of an experience into such a hilarious piece amazes me.

  43. ” …I have never been to Africa…” reminds me of Ethiopia, where as a Kenyan, I was frequently asked , are you from Africa? Biko you should do a piece on Ethiopia and Addis Ababa.

  44. I am always elated when i check my email and see your name…Biko zulu new post…somehow, my day brightens up there and then. You have such a way with words that has me loling for a loooong while. Keep it up Biko and thanks for making my days.

  45. The moment i saw the photo i knew this was going to be quite a read..Superb for my monday blues asante sana Biko. 😉

  46. Maybe you should not travel for a while Biko ,you clearly have the worst luck!!!…DWL…in other news… you know with that forehead you keep talking about you wouldd never be a house slave right?let alone a butler?hehehehehe

  47. Biko you made my day.
    I have not used Turkish Airlines and I am now afraid. SAA is another one.. And the worst bit is that the feel like they are doing you a favor ferrying you to SA!
    Emirates & KQ still top my list.
    How is Etihad? Their rates are good 🙂

  48. Biko you have actually cut through my soul with your scribe pen. A I m always apprehensive about the west and the thick unseen barrier because of our nationalities and color . I LOVE my mamaland like crazy with all the soaps acted in the political ground and the corporate world. I feel you dude…..

    thanks for the nice piece that has made many know about the so called and loved Turkish airlines…and to imagine we travel frequently there for most of the stuff in our boutiques and clothes shop….nkt

  49. Now i am just choking on laughter when i should be working. Biko, you have a wicked way with words. The experience sounds horridly maniacal. MTA huh! Pinto indeed.

  50. Nowonder they are the only airline which flies to somalia. I travelled with them once to Israel. .On our way back they cancelled our connecting flight from Telaviv to Instabul just after checkin ..With no communication from them…We ng’ethya at the airport from 11am upto to 8pm when they hurled us to a 5 star hotel (the only place I smiled). The following morning it was Telaviv marathon. .which meant all roads closed ..no taxis…n we had to walk all the way to the airport…All the excitement of being the first time to fly…Not mentioning how ukambani dancers waited at JKIA arrivals invain for their only daughter from their entire village to make it inside a plane

  51. People started shouting and screaming in all languages; Hindi, Dutch, Arab, German, Congolese, Kikuyu, Russian, French, “Wee want to see zee captain! What eees wrong wiz you peeepo!”

    lol

  52. The wishful KQ moment…. I had a real one in London heathrow…after a BA flight delayed for 4 hrs in JFK… Hence missing my connecting flight from heathrow to NBO. BA folks (after offering a cold sandwich for lunch) said we would have to wait for the following day flight, same time. I was devasted as I needed to get back home to my kids after having been away for long. After begging (literally)… I was switched to a KQ evening flight. I will never forget the moment I saw the KQ crew… I was in tears… Hugged the lady and when she asked.. *whats wrong? I simply said … I am home….