This seems silly now (not the least because the problem was solved), but I was really worked up yesterday about our Internet. People who have been here longer than us keep telling us that things always take forever here, so you just have to accept that and relax. The funny thing is, Turkey is not that much different from Russia in terms of how things are done. The key difference is that this time now I know how Mike felt in Russia. At least there I could talk to people in my own language, for what little good it sometimes did. Here we are helpless, and if it wasn`t for our guardian angel in the face of Sedef, an administrator from Mike’s university, or a my new lovely local friend Esra, I don`t know that we would have get anything done. (Warning: rants ahead!) (But also some nice photos)
First, it’s our mobile phones. In Turkey, if you bring a mobile phone from abroad and use it with a Turkish sim card (the three main providers are Turkcell, Vodafone and Avea), you can do so for about a week (or perhaps a month, it’s hard to get accurate information) for free. Afterwards, you must pay telephone tax of 115 Turkish lira, take the receipt to a mobile provider shop, pay another 40-50 lira and have it activated. Now, to do all that you also have to have you residence permit and your police registration. And preferably, an Turkish-speaking friend and only go to large shops. Apparently, even if you follow all these steps it still might not happen as some shop workers don`t want to go into the trouble of trying to communicate with foreigners and perform re-activation. I say apparently, because we still don`t have all our documents yet, so we haven’t even attempted to do that, but Mike’s colleagues have not been successful in their attempts to reactivate their phones. If you don`t do the registration and tax, your phone stops working in Turkey. So for now we bought a (relatively) cheap mobile, because these headaches are only for foreign phones, and have been using it between the two of us. Also, you can only register 1 sim card per passport, so I can`t use a sim card in my tablet (which I always did in Russia for 3g Internet).
Internet. Since we arrived we’ve been using a mobile modem with 4gb on it. This Wednesday they came and installed cables and a modem and left, saying it would start working in an hour. It did not, nor was it working the next day. We were running out of traffic on our mobile modem, other colleagues of Mike (who all live in the same building) were having similar problems, poor Sedef was getting complaints from everybody, so I decided to help out and call the English helpline. When you press 99 for English, there is an automated message saying that your calls are being recorded…. “for your safety”. What? Calling a helpline is dangerous? Well, yes, it actually IS dangerous for your mental wellbeing, because hearing ‘yes, we understand, the technical department will solve your problem” for 3 days in a row without any result is kind of maddening. Oh, and the technical department will get back to me. Will they speak English? No, they will not. Will I understand them or the 3 automated voice message I received from them? No, I will not. So why would they call me and not just send somebody to fix it? When I asked the question, all I got in response was the scripted answer of ‘the technical department will…. ” When I repeated this rant to Mike (we had a little Skype chat during his lunch), he laughed. So I decided to just give in and let things work out. Meanwhile, I went out and bought some more data (4GB cost about 20 US dollars). And then.. Well, you know how as soon as you stop waiting for a bus and start walking away, it comes? Well as soon as I bought 4 more GB for my mobile modem, somebody came and magically fixed our connection! They just showed up early on Saturday morning, and just like that, it started working! Although they also tried to install a TV box which didn`t work and they had to take it back, but I’ll take Internet over TV any day.
Other than that, things are great. The apartment is ready, the only other thing we are supposed to get is an office chair.
Our living room furniture being put together
The end result
The guest/dining room
We still haven’t found a local farmer’s market, where I`m assured things are even fresher and cheaper, but even at supermarkets things are pretty cheap. All these veggies and the giant bunch of spinach plus some rocket and mint cost around 10 lira which is something like 5 dollars. 5 dollars!!! 150 rubles
The figs here are amazing. I just can`t get enough of them!
Mike loves all the olives