Our main focus today, was collecting our Pakistan Visa at the Consulate, here in Istanbul. We got an early start, thank goodness, because there were a few surprises!
The good news is, we did get our Visas, but it would require some more waiting time; you know, just to ensure we REALLY appreciated it and all. 🙄 I am so over these delays! When it was our turn at the Consulate window, we handed over our Passports again, and we were told to return to pick them up by 2PM. WHAT! This would mean four hours from that time. It was a little frustrating because he told us our Visas were ready. But, for some reason, it would take four hours to peel the back off and adhere them inside our passports? Sooooo, off we went to find a “taksi” again, to go over to hang out on French Street, and see what that was all about. Come to find out, I had been in the French area before, at least a part of it, and it is very close to Taksim Square. I got a Turkish Bath a month ago around there. Nothing really indicated we had the actual French Street, but the district name of “Beyoglu,” we did see, and that was right. The other indicator are the gas street lamps, which are unique to the area. Its a nice place with huge, old French building, with exquisites architecture. The main square is on a wide road that only has a trolly. Other than that, it is pedestrian. I wanted to ride the trolly after we got our shopping done, but we never saw it again. Bummer. Oh well, it was fun to see, regardless. I didn’t take a lot of photos, because during the day, the electric wires and lines crossing over the walking area, between the buildings are very distracting and unsightly for photos. I’m sure at night the place is lit up like a runway and very pretty.
For our shopping, Daryl got a lightweight jacket and a pair of long pants. I bought boot socks, and a new carry-on suitcase. I had gotten a new e-Bag back in 2017, and I now know that three years of wear and tear is about all these bags can handle. That bag has really traveled the world, just like me. But I clean up wsy better than my bag. It was dirty and smelly; this after I had taking it into a shower with me and scrubbed it. No matter what I did, it never seemed clean, and never smelled good, either. The zipper was tearing, and it was ready to break. I was happy to say so-long! The e-Bags are not a cheap brand, and I was surprised how heavy the bag was for a carry-on size; while empty. For now, I got a far less expensive and lighter bag for $20 that will take care of my needs for at least another couple of years.
We headed back to the Consulate, ahead of time, since we were done goofing around, and it was a darn good thing. You see, the President of Turkey was making his way to Taksim Square, as we were heading back to the Consulate. NOT GOOD. The roads were blocked and it took so long to get back to the Consulate, which was normally a 20-minutes affair. The $20 one-way was a drag, too! Ugh. BUT, it is all water under the bridge as that was our LAST trip (five in total) to the Comsolate, and we do feel such releif to have our Visas and and now we can be done with that chapter! From here on out, we know we are going to Pakistan, and that’s all that matters!
The next thing I did, after we got our Visas, was to line up the Mobile Medical Technicians, with the help of our good friend, Taskin, from Galatolia Suites. He helped me arrange a 9:30AM appointment for us in the morning. He is so nice, our friend, Taskin. The mobile unit will roll up to our hotel, and they do our testing for us in our hotel room. Easy-Peesy. We have no reason to believe our PCR test will be anything but negative, (for COVID19) and we are ready to get on that plane Friday night and blast off! Our friend in Pakistan is just a dear. He is lining us up with some fun activities and site seeing in Lahore and the outskirts. We are not use to being so spoiled!