A couple of years back, I took a trip to Istanbul, alone.
When I first arrived, it was 5:30 am local time. I was exhausted so couldn’t wait to get to the Airbnb I had booked near the Blue Mosque.
The owner of the property owned a travel company and said he could arrange for me to be collected from the airport for a fee. I agreed. Makes sense.
However, the whole experience was a total nightmare! Firstly I had to wait for his driver at the airport who didn’t arrive for 30-odd minutes after I had come out. Hmph, annoying but not the end of the world.
Secondly, he took me to the travel company address (not the property address), dropped me off and left me there. No instructions. Errr okay what do I do now? So I rang the guy who answered after a few tries, 10 mins later. “Oh Mr Faisal, yes ok I will send someone to bring the keys to you and take you there. please wait 10 minutes.”
I waited 24 mins actually. In the dark. In the cold. With heavy luggage. In a random and not-so-nice part of Istanbul. Multiple Ayat Al Kursi type scenario.
Anyway someone did come and then took me to the property through lots of back alleys. No help with luggage by the way. After 5–6 minutes we got there… And I got worried. Maybe it’s just horrible from outside, I rationalised to myself. After all the pics were nice. After two flights of stairs (no lift) lugging around my bags, I got there and there was a stunned silence. This was NOT what I was expecting. This was the mother of deceptive photography!
It was cold, smelled damp and although I could see it was definitely the same room as the pics, it was a shadow of what those pics looked like! I was supposed to be working this week, how am I supposed to work from here?
I was too exhausted to argue and the guy was only a dogsbody who spoke no English. Let me get some kip and I’ll call the owner later.
I lay on the bed… It didn’t feel good. Then I started getting itchy. I can’t do this, I’m quite a low-maintenance guy but this takes the proverbial.
It was now 7:30. After I scratched for the third time I had enough, right I need to call him now. A fellow Muslim guy I’m sure he’ll be good and we can come to a resolution. Or so I thought.
He wasn’t. He was being difficult. Unnecessarily difficult. I had already paid for the week, but luckily if I cancelled only an extra day plus an admin fee would be taken.
So I did.
Then he started arguing with me saying that I owe him more money for the airport pick-up. I refused to pay saying that the fact you’ve got an extra day plus extra from me I am not paying. I also realised he had majorly overcharged me for the airport trip, it being at least twice the amount of the normal rate. Cue lots of angry messages from him. Plus he wanted me to come to his travel shop and return his key.
I walked out thinking I’ve cancelled now, it’s still early so I should just get out of here and book another place. He doesn’t deserve the money and I’ll just leave the key here. But I didn’t just in case.
So I walked. And walked. I stopped for some coffee and started searching more places. I couldn’t find anything at all. Everywhere decent was super expensive. And much of it was not available due to the extremely short notice. I was super exhausted as you can imagine. I walked until I found myself going past his shop.
I thought about it.
I don’t know what it was but I decided to honour my agreement. Even though he was terrible with me and the experience had been absolutely horrible so far, the right thing to do was to pay as I had previously agreed on the price of the pick-up with him. So I went in, gave the key back and paid the money. He wasn’t there but at least my own conscience was clear.
Then I sat at another cafe and all of a sudden I see the most amazing deal. A one-bedroom apartment in a really trendy part of Istanbul, with 40% off, and 1 room left within my budget! I didn’t see it when I searched previously so maybe there had been a cancellation.
So I booked it. And loved it. It was near to all the best food places, transport, was super clean and modern. Very convenient indeed.
Always do the right thing. Even if you don’t want to.
Sometimes even if it’s all going wrong, trust in Allah and he will set you right. Things happen for a reason.
You can find the original piece written by Faisal on his blog, which you can access here.