In late 70s, we had social chaos in Ankara. I was in the 3rd year of mechanical engineering undergraduate program in Middle East Technical University in Ankara.
I decided to go to United Kingdom that summer for my compulsory summer training. My family supported me with their limited resources.
We purchased round trip to Paris by AirFrance. I got my passport and went to UK, first to London then to Wolverhampton in Midlands. I had a very useful summer training program in an U.K. company, learnt a lot. I spent some time in London, for British Museum, Buckingham Palace, Tate Galery.
I also had many pleasant memories with British girls, young, beautiful, generous, helpful, and all with mini or even micro skirts first time in history. All helpful to teach English to a poor eastern young student.
It was time to return home. My charter flight from London Gatwick Airport brought me to LaBougeot airport in Paris. The next AirFrance flight was from Orly airport a few hours later.
Orly situated on the other side of Paris. Charles DeGaule was still in construction. I took shuttle bus and had almost 1 hours to go to Orly.
Anyhow we arrived on time. I had enough time for check-in, fortunately no luggage to deliver, boarding pass, all done. I passed customs, passport control. I assumed to have some time to spend in Duty-free. Year 1970s, all duty free items were special for me.
While I was spending some time in duty-free, I heard someone trying to pronounce my name on the loudspeaker,
"Mr. Haluk Direskenelli, please proceed to gate number etc. urgently, this is last call for you".
They all pronounce my surname with double "L" which gives me a special Italian charisma, I don't know why.
Then I moved to the gate, handed my boarding pass. He allowed me to pass the gate. I was at outdoors, to the airplane. But that gate was for 2 different flights. Two different planes were waiting for the last passengers to board. Both ready and waiting. Which one to Istanbul?
There was a French mechanic in between, I asked him "Istanbul?" he either did not understand, or ignorant, he could not answer.
I decided to board the plane on left, looking for someone to verify. I climbed the stairs, no one available to ask. Then a young beautiful French hostess shouted in French "Where are you, we are waiting for you? Get your seat immediately. Fasten your seat belt? We are to leave as soon as possible, " sort of wording in French which I feel the meaning.
Immediately after, they closed the doors, we took off. But I had no idea where we were going. Right flight? I was getting scared to ask for verification.
After 10 minutes, we reached an appropriate altitude, seat belt off- sign. They started liquor service.
And I asked to that beautiful French hostess,
"Is this plane to Istanbul?" - response "Yes,"
"How about other plane?" - she replied "to Vancouver, west end of Canada".
After so many years, I could not go to Paris a second time and never step on Vancouver.
I still wonder what would happen if I had chosen the other plane.
However I could go to Vancouver, and decide to stay there.
Then I could go to a new local university, get married, get rich, get influential, I don't know. I could be first Turco in politics. I would certainly be bilingual even trilingual.
You never know which plane is correct plane to board.
Your comments are always welcome !!