Monday, 27 August 2012

One thing an iPad can't do

Today is the day when all the teams arrive at the Olympiad. Of course there were some early arrivals, which in my case required a trip to the airport at 1 o'clock in the morning (to meet one of the PNG team). Surprisingly even at that time getting through customs was a slow process, and it wasn't until 2am that we made it back to the hotel. As I had volunteered for this bit of hand-holding, I was also required to deliver said team member (R. Jones), to his correct hotel this morning. Turns out the traditional method of using a taxi may not always work in Istanbul. The instructions were simple: First to the tournament hall (which was visible from the pick up point), and then on to the Adela Hotel. First sign of trouble was when the driver missed the turn off to the tournament (15 seconds into the trip). Then he stopped in the middle of a freeway to get me to right down the name of the hotel. He then got out of the car and began to ask other stopped drivers where the hotel was. They were no help, but I had my iPad on me and quickly brought up a map of Istanbul. "Here" I said. He looked at the iPad and immediately drove off in the wrong direction. As it was a freeway, opportunities to turn around were somewhat limited. Eventually we convinced him of his mistake and he went in the correct direction. However he still had no idea about the location of the hotel, so we convinced to take us back to the start point by saying "Wow, wow, wow"  over and over again. A somewhat surprised concierge greeted us, and when we explained the situation, flagged us a new taxi, sending the old driver away, both bemused and empty handed.
(* Embarrassing postscript - Tried the same journey this afternoon with a driver provided by the organisers. He went the same way as the taxi, but I decided against pointing this out. Turns out the taxi driver possibly knew where he was going, and Google Maps on the iPad had lied to me. The driver duly delivered me to the *only* Adela Hotel in Turkey)

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