Early today I experienced unexpected success. Last night, after the interview, after talking to Musa, after going home to see my dog was still not feeling well and being unsure what to do about that, I had to go, hot and tired as I was, to the Turkcell store. I turned my cell phone off for the first time since buying it for the interview and when I turned it back on it asked for a PIN. I tried a few likely and incorrect codes and then it locked me out.
So I went to the help desk in the store and the girl started speaking Turkish. When I asked if she spoke English she said yes, and I explained and showed her the problem. She asked me for a GSM number and I said “what?” not knowing what that meant, and she asked again and I said “what?” again and she said, “Do you speak English?” I said yes, and finally figured out that the GSM number is my telephone number. So then she started doing stuff in her computer and asked for my identification. I was a little confused again (tired, hot, exhausted, worn out), but pulled out my New York driver’s license. She said, “I need something else, something with your father’s surname…your identity papers.” That always sounds scary to me, like I’m in a communist country, or Nazi Germany or something, but my Turkish friend did tell me Turks carry some kind of identity card. I said “like a passport” and she said yes. When I said I didn’t have it she said “why?” This was going nowhere. Finally she said OK, and wrote down a phone number and said, "Call this number". “I don’t have a phone”, she said, “when you get to another phone”. I asked, "If I come back tomorrow, do I just need my passport, is that enough?" She said yes. I left, tired, frustrated.
This morning I got up, fed Chloe, who seems a little better and finally ate and stopped shaking, dug up my passport and went back to Turkcell. The same girl was there, but she had me talk to the guy beside her. He asked for my cell number, then my name. He looked confused and said the SIM card wasn’t in my name. I told him I bought the phone and SIM card in their store and showed him my paperwork. He said that was for the phone not the SIM card. Hmmmm. Then he took my phone, pushed buttons, handed it back, working fine. I asked him for the PIN and PUC numbers, and he said OK (he wasn’t going to give them to me until I asked, for some reason), and off I went. I didn’t show him any form of ID at all and have no idea whose name my SIM card is in, but I do have the receipt, and my phone is working so that is enough.