I like to think I am a light packer. And to be honest, I really do believe that I am. However, airlines don't.
What else am I supposed to do with my work suits, casual, formal and sports attire, handbags, shoes and jewellry? Aren't they all essential to a girl's well being?
I know you answered that question right!
So, when I arrived at ESB airport with two suitcases and a carry on, I didn't look out of place or ridiculous.
However, when the airline declared that every piece of luggage was overweight by dangerous proportions and insisted that I unpack, I did look the fool.
Hell no, heffa!
"I'll pay", was my sweet response sprinkled with a dimpled smile.
"Fine," the attendant said with a no nonsense strictness often associated with German people.
Scribbling on a card she had just printed, she indicated that it would be 200USD.
My shock was clearly evidenced by my stationary stance making the attendant say it even louder, eliciting audible gasps from people standing in line behind me.
And moved on to clear immigration and wait at the departure gates.
Would you trust a foreigner?
I don't think that I would. It had taken me almost two years living in a small city in Turkey to attain that level of... trust. Well, let me put it this way: Turkish people were now willing to test the waters so to speak.
So, one day when I was quickly between errands, trying to grab a quick lunch and noticed a lack of funds, the cashier in a small Tanturni diner quickly responded, "Next time, don't worry."
I was so surprised.
If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know what my initial experience was like when I came to Turkey.
I was surprised that my experience had changed in the two years from serious, and I do mean serious, suspicion to trust.
I was grateful.
War torn, unstable, dangerous... a living hell and nightmare. Don't believe the hype my friend.
I touched down and was ready to hit the road. But in a place where cash is king, my unexpected baggage expense had put me back considerably.
Scouring my new neighbourhood for anything akin to a corner store, I stumbled across one not far at all from where I was staying.
I needed a few toiletries to start my day and as I entered the store, I quickly realised all the other things that I would need over the course of the next week or so.
As the cashier tallied up the cost, we indulged each other in light conversation and as he came to the last item, I asked "How much?"
Could a blank stare last an eternity?
Mine sure did.
Just only 24 hours on the ground, I had still not assimilated the currency of Iraq into my brain. Numbers tend to have that affect on me and so I avoid them at all costs. But now was not that time to have such an aversion.
The cashier slowly brought me out of the hypnotic state with,
"20US," and a smile.
I think he understood my reaction all too well. How often do you hear 20,000 at the corner store.
A manageable price on any other day, was now a stretch.
Counting the notes in my wallet, I looked over my purchases, determining if I really needed shampoo right now.
Seeing all this transpire, the cashier, with no judgement or even a hint of anger, interrupted my analysis and said, "It is not a problem, you come back some other time. Take everything, come back some other time and pay me."
Another blank stare led me to realise that this was now becoming a trend over the last 24 hours.
"Are you sure?"
"Absolutely. "No money, no problem."