Switzerland · Turkey · Uncategorized

Turkey and Swiss

Originally published 23 August 2011

Merhaba, arkadaşlar! (Hello friends!) Here I am in Turkey, having just heard about the earthquake in DC. Sorry I missed it, but praying everyone and everything is safe!

So begins my “Turkey and Swiss” adventure. =)

Interesting Turkish Hotel tidbit: Saving Electricity

So I was having trouble turning on the lights when I walked into my hotel room after arriving in Istanbul (this was after nearly 24 hours of constant awakeness, going to the wrong hotel first, and definitely only getting 4 ounces of coffee or less on the plane that morning!). I was a bit discouraged.

I saw no switches, just these silver plastic square things that you push on the walls. I assumed this was the light “switch”. So I pushed them. Nothing happened! There was another square silver thing above one of the assumed switches, only this one looked like it had a slot for my key card. So being the intelligent American I pretend to be, I put my card in… nothing! And then… about 10 seconds later… light! Lo and behold—problem solved. Sort of.

So, Turkish outlets are different from American outlets. I thought this would be the case, but I was actually pretty surprised to find it’s even different from the ones they have in Switzerland—which I thought was European standard, but maybe I just made that up in my head.

At any rate, I needed to be able to charge my computer, but neither the plug-in nor the converter I’d brought with me worked! Only minimally deterred, I decided to make the most of the battery I still had and get online to let people know I’d arrived safely. None of the connections worked! There were three different wireless networks, but none of them gave me any connectivity. Oh goodness. After finagling and reading instructions on a card I found on the table, I decided I needed to ask for assistance. I’m a girl. I can do that. But I still don’t like to do it!

I knew I’d seen on the website that this hotel provides free wi-fi, so I went downstairs (taking my key card out of the slot and bringing it with me) to see if maybe it was only available in the lobby. And there was the connection! And then it asked for my username and password. Defeat was upon me as I realized I would indeed have to ask for help. When I walked to the front desk, the nice Turkish bellhop handed me a card—they were waiting for me to go ask! Ha! I thanked him and at long last was able to get word out that I was still alive!

And then I took a nap! I know they tell you not to do that when you travel because it’ll take longer to get over the jetlag, but between the screaming kid behind me in addition to the normal hustle and bustle of a plane, I might have gotten an hour of sleep—but not a deep nor restful hour to say the least! Quick Whit was swiftly becoming Poopy-Disgruntled-Fussy-Whit, so I decided it was in everyone’s best interest for me to take a nap. Right decision=made!

Six hours later (woohoo!), I went back downstairs to get online again and ask about getting a Turkish outlet converter. The guy at the front desk pulled one out to let me borrow, but it still didn’t fit with my computer plug. He said in my room there’s a black box on the table with an outlet like the one I needed—it was in my room the whole time! So that’s where I’m plugged in right now. =)

Lights on, air conditioner figured out (on a panel on the wall with the bed-side light buttons), Clif Bar consumed, it was time to shower! That one was pretty easy, thank goodness! Moment of genius: the sliding doors on the shower are magnetic so when you close them, they don’t bounce apart. Genius.

So, ready for bed (don’t think I’ll have any trouble going to sleep, even after a 6-hour nap!) and thinking I’d like to write a blog post and read before bed, I decided to go ahead and take out the key card from the wall (I didn’t need the light over there anymore, and I can’t figure out how to turn in off while the key card is in the slot) and only use the light next to my bed. Ten seconds after I took out the card, everything shut off! My computer wasn’t charging, the air conditioning shut off, and I couldn’t turn on the bedside light. It was then I realized it—when the card is in the slot, there is power; when the card is not in the slot, there is not! Call my a snobby American, but I’ll readily admit I find this to be a bit inconvenient. But if your objective is to save power, this is a great idea!

Moral of the story: if you stay at the Wow (pronounced “Whoa”) Airport Hotel in Istanbul, know that it is easily confused with the Airport Hotel that is actually connected to the airport, and know that when you get to your room, you will need to put your card in the slot on the wall if you want to have power. I love to travel!

Side note: going to the bathroom in the middle of the night was a challenge with the whole key card in the slot for any light at all thing. 😉

And for my next trip… after breakfast (thankfully included in my stay!) I’ll head out to the other airport (flew into Ataturk, flying out of Sabiha-Gokcen) and go up to Switzerland to visit my Swiss family for a week! Thank you for joining me on this adventure. More to come!

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