Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cam drops everything and goes to Ankara

When we arrived in Turkey, in December, we bought visitors visas at the airport in Istanbul.  They were valid for 3 months and cost about U.S. $60.00 each.  Then we flew to Ankara and visited a government office to make application for resident visas.  A lawyer who spoke Turkish and hand gestures directed us through the process. After we filled out the applications we had to have photographs taken. Then we stopped at a different government office and finally at his own office to notarize some documents. This is all a bit of a blur due to the lack of English translation and the fuzziness that comes with jet lag.

Once we received the resident permits, the local consultant in the employ of Cam's Canadian employer, went to work to secure Cam a work permit. Initially he needed a copy of Cam's degree and then discovered in order to have Cam's degree recognized, we would have to supply a syllabis for every course Cam took at University. So the consultant changed Cam's job description and in place of Cam's university qualifications, his high school diploma would do.  We ordered Cam's high school transcript from Alberta Education, had it emailed to Turkey and really never gave the process another thought.

Yesterday morning Cam was advised that his work permit had been issued.  However in order for it to become valid, he had to travel to Ankara, the capital of Turkey, to have it validated within two weeks. Like government offices the world over, the ones in Ankara are only open Monday to Friday and since we plan to leave Turkey on Monday for vacation, Cam had to go to Ankara today (Thursday) or tomorrow to accomplish this.

The consultant booked Cam a flight departing from Canakkale Airport at 7:00 a.m.  As a result we were out of bed at 3:00 a.m. and out the door by 3:30 a.m.  We caught the 4:00 p.m. ferry from Gelibolu to Lapseki. Gelibolu is located on the European side of Turkey.  Lapseki, Canakkale, and Ankara are all in Asia.  The dividing line between the two continents is the Marmara Sea more familliarly known as the Dardenelle Strait. 

The ferry ride took thirty minutes and the drive to the airport another thirty.  Neither Cam nor I have been to the Canakkale airport before so I navigated, based on some driving directions I pulled off the net.  After the first turn, there was a sign at every other turn for the airport so we arrived in good time and without any difficulties.

I left the airport just as it was beginning to get light.  I took two wrong turns before I got headed in the right direction.  I'm a pretty good path finder generally, but it was difficult to land mark in the dark while reading the directions to Cam.  It was the two traffic circles that messed me up.  I couldn't figure out, the first time around, where we'd entered.  After that the return journey was easy. There was very little traffic.  There were lots of signs for Lapseki in the city of Canakkale.  Considering that Lapseki is a town of about 10,000 people and it's in Turkey, it's amazing that there was one!  I arrived at the Getas Feribot terminal in time for the 6:00 a.m ferry. The return journey was only the third time I've driven in Turkey and the only time I've been in the driver's seat at a ferry crossing. The journey from the airport to home, (5:15 a.m to 7:00 a.m.) also marks the longest period of time, I've been alone since we arrived.

Cam will return on the only Ankara to Canakkale flight which lands tonight about midnight. I hope he gets a chance to sleep on the plane! He's in for another long day with very little sleep. Arriving at the airport he'll have at least two hours in transit before his head hits the pillow.  After I got home, this morning, I had breakfast and went back to bed.

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