I don’t know whether it made the news at all yesterday or not but here in Turkey almost the entire country was without power for five hours. What I haven’t seen reported is the fact that since then there have been at least three minor outages where I am lasting from about five to thirty minutes. But let me back up a little bit…
I did not sleep at all the night leading up to yesterday. Nope. Not a wink. I was in bed a little after ten and I finally gave up and left it around seven thirty and in between I rolled back and forth. I counted. I thought. I read. I read some more. But I did not sleep.
So when I finally did leave the house, I was not in the best of moods. My plan was to go for a brief walk into Fatih, see the touristy stuff, then get my tax ID and open a bank account there before heading home. I had the locations in Fatih where I would need to go and though I can only use my phone map when I am leaching free wifi, I did have the locations and names in Turkish written down in my phone. I was all set to go. I thought. The sky overhead was bleak and grey and this was the first time I could not clearly see the far side of the Bosphorus.
The walk into Fatih was fine enough but my mood refused to lighten. By the time I got over there, it was obvious rain was imminent and to be honest, the Galata bridge looks so much nicer on the tourist brochures (and the image at the top of this blog) than it did that foggy morning. So I walked around a very little bit, snapped a few pictures, and headed back as soon as the rain started. My mood completely turned around shortly into my return journey but that is the story for a different blog.
By the time I returned back to Besiktas it was a bit after ten. I went into the local HSBC hoping they would know where I needed to go locally to get my tax ID. She didn’t know but said I should ask a taxi driver. I tried asking a couple but they just shrugged their shoulders and drove off. So I figured, I would just head back to my hostel, get on their wifi, and find out. Then the power went out.
That meant no wifi. The owner wasn’t in at the moment and the employee manning the fort wasn’t sure where I had to go but thought going to the police station would be my best bet. That is where you needed go to get your residence permit so I figured they should at least know. I did head over that way (after buying an umbrella) and they had no clue. The two manning the door along with one other officer had a running conversation for about 3-4 minutes of which I understood nothing before they decided to send me to the Kaymakamligi (the town hall?) but even in that they were unsure. I would be better off asking a taxi.
I had no idea where the Kaymakamligi even was so I headed back to my part of town (walking right past it… again) to buy a phone. The power was still out and I was really beginning to miss not having instant access to the internet right at my fingertips. There is easily a dozen phone stores (think Verizon outlet in your local mall) within a few blocks of my home so I went in one, then another, and finally a third looking for someone who spoke English well enough to understand that I wanted to put a local Turkcell plan on my phone. We walked through the procedure of buying the plan only to find out that my phone doesn’t have a removable sim card. It is American use only. I thought this might happen but I don’t have the ready money for a new plan. I won’t until I have a bank account. I can’t get the bank account without a tax ID. I have no idea where to go to get that and it sure would have been nice to have a phone to help me. Or at the very least some power back at the hostel so I could get in the internet there. So in short, I got nothing accomplished yesterday… but I sure had a lot of fun doing it.