North Macedonia
Basarova Korija

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    • Day 16

      Aboard TK1854 ... Catching Up

      March 13, 2020 in North Macedonia ⋅ ☀️ 63 °F

      Lunch has been served on TK1854 ... our “air chariot” to İstanbul. We’ve got a little more than an hour left on the flight ... time enough to catch up on the story of our travel day thus far.

      For a ship that carries nearly 6,000 people, disembarkation this morning was easy-peasy. We left the cabin minutes before 8:00a ... just as our group number was being called. The elevator doors opened seconds after we pushed the down arrow ... with only a couple people inside. That was a miracle on a disembarkation morning as usually several elevators go by before one arrives with enough space to accommodate three people with carry-on bags. Our good luck continued at the gangway. Not a single person in line!!! Not sure where the crowds were, but we weren’t about to complain as we swiped our ship’s cards to let the crew know we had disembarked.

      Allure of the Seas is a long ship, so she was assigned to a berth with two terminals — B and C. The aft gangway directed us to Terminal C, where we whizzed through immigration, collected our checked bags, and walked outside to the transportation area. Our only dilemma? Where was the taxi we pre-ordered waiting for us? The driver had no way of knowing that we were at Terminal C. A quick phone call to the booking company — using the WePhone app — alerted the driver. Problem solved. I’ve said it before ... I’ll repeat it again ... we love our T-Mobile plan, which includes unlimited overseas data at no extra cost.

      By 9:30a we were at the airport. Inside the terminal the crowds had queued up at various airline counters ... only a small number of people wearing masks. At the THY counter, Mui asked the business class agent if she could check us in so mom would not have to stand for long. She graciously agreed. In fact, once the agent matched mom’s face to her passport, she directed the two of us to a seating area at the far end of the counter, leaving Mui to complete the check-in formalities.

      Once we cleared the security checkpoint and immigration for the departure passport control, we made our way to the gate. By this time we arrived, we had barely ½ hour to board ... a process that went smoothly once it was underway. By 11:15a Mui and I were in our exit row seats in row 21 ... mom in her aisle seat in row 24.

      The aircraft pushed back 30 minutes later and was 🛫 by our scheduled departure time of 11:15a. We set our watches two hours ahead and settled back for the 3½-hour flight to İstanbul. The meal service has been completed ... choice of chicken or pasta ... chicken was the better option and all’s quiet on the plane ... no evidence of any coughs or other respiratory issues ... which is a good thing. All in all an uneventful flight ... the best kind.

      Time to put the iPad away in preparation for landing. More later.
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