Big Blue Building

I finally paid the water bill for my newish flat for the first time today. I had received three so far and was maybe even missing one or two but procrastinated because 1) I know everyone does and it isn’t a huge problem and 2) I was never in the right mood to face the possible confusion and chaos of the water bill place which I’ve never been in but which has been pointed out to me.

The thought of having to figure out how to have my water turned back on because I waited too long and they turned it off finally spurred me to work up the courage to try to pay the bill. In reality, I was still procrastinating because I have been told I can pay the bill at a bank, but the bank I went to a few weeks ago told me no. So today I decided to try a different bank, one that is listed on the back of my bill (as was the other one). I assumed I would have no luck again but could then go home feeling good about at least trying, while still having avoided the big blue water company building.

I went into a branch of Vakif Bank which, again, is listed on the back of the bill as a bank where I can make payment. I walked up to a teller, thankful there were no other customers around, said hello in Turkish and pushed my bills at him. He looked at them, said some Turkish, then handed them back saying something I didn’t understand. Just then a man came in with HIS water bill and handed it to the teller who looked at them, released more Turkish and pointed up the road upon which the man nodded and left.

I sheepishly approached the window again, still holding my bills. Then I shrugged my shoulders and made a little circle with my hand, fingers pointing at the ground, my international gesture for “where is”. The teller answered and pointed, I repeated the sounds that appeared to be a place name and he nodded. I walked out and up the street in the direction he pointed, hoping to see something that corresponded with the sounds I had just made. A few meters up the road I did, another bank, one I’m unfamiliar with and have now forgotten the name of.

I walked in and immediately a security guard asked me what I needed. I waved the bills at him as I walked toward the teller but the guard kept talking and then gestured at a machine for generating numbered slips of paper. I took number 822 and started looking for the board which shows which number they are on. I found it because it immediately bonged as my number came up which made me laugh. There was no one else in the bank. The guard had enough of a sense of humor to laugh too as I walked the three steps from the machine back to the teller and presented him with my bills. I waited nervously as he looked them over, wondering how much it would cost since I was so late and was possibly missing bills. Wondering if I could even really pay here. After a minute, he asked for 17 liras. I thought I must not be remembering my Turkish numbers properly the number was so low, equivalent to about ten dollars, but I gave him a 20 and he gave me three liras in change.

So, one more thing is taken care of, one less thing to worry about. I feel silly for procrastinating so long. I do still wonder about that big blue water company building though. I’m told it has a big fountain inside but, ironically, the water in the fountain has been turned off. So people sit on benches around it, waiting, eating their lunches and staring at the place where the water’s supposed to be.