The thin line between failure and success

Selcuk Travel Blog

 › entry 48 of 90 › view all entries
I saw god the other day, riding on an uptown train.
I said, "don't you have anything better to do?".
He said, "if i do my job what would you complain about?".
-- Dog's Eye View, Everything falls apart

This little harrowing tale is going to take a bit to setup so bear with me.  It appears that a few days ago, like 7 or so, I over drafted my account.  This I previously mentioned.  Because of this, I had to transfer money from another place (which is basically what I have been doing as I don't have everything all in one place) and wait for the money to arrive.  And wait I did.  But the money did not come, not until monday.  And on monday evening, I attempted to pull some from the ATM. 

No dice.

Figuring that the bank was putting a hold on those monies, I decided to wait until tuesday.  In conjunction with this, I borrowed a few lyra to pay for a throughly disappointing tour of troy.  In any regard, tuesday came and I attempted to pull out money here, no dice again.  I waited until the evening to try it again since there is a 10 hour time difference between here and the west coast and .. still no dice.  At that point, I popped into the nearest internet cafe, this cafe and contacted the bank's online service department.

It appears that turkey is on a list of nations that the bank is deliberately blocking since they have had many issues with fraud.  I would not be able to pull out any money using my atm card from any place in turkey.   Basically, I was up river with no paddles and the boat was sinking.  Esp. considering that I don't have pin numbers for my credit cards and well, many of places we are going are cash only establishments.  Anyway, after a long discussion with the bank, it turned out that they could western union me the money and because they have absolutely no reference to anything along the line of a blocked country list on their website, it would be free.  Only problem, salcuk has no place that that western union knows about that will accept western union. 

At this point I got the travel agent involved because while the vow of poverty is a good one if say you're someone who doesn't enjoy eating on your sabbatical and whatnot, its doubtful that I would be able to rely on the kindness of strangers for the entire turkey part of the trip nor would the meager amount of money I had in my wallet in slovakian tolars feed me for for any stretch in time. 

Long story short, after 2+ hours of intense scrambling, it turns out that I can get a one time pin number for my amex card that would allow me to yank out up to 500 dollars (I can do this only once every 90 days).  So, bought a phone card, called amex, since I had to enroll in their cash access program or some such, then got this pin number, which i didn't have a pen to write down (can you believe it, me without a pen?).. went to the ATM and it didn't work.  I figure I'm seriously screwed at this point.  GO back to the hotel, grab the map that I have of the place and walk to the next bank on it.  Doesn't work.  Try the next bank, it worked.  So I have .. probably enough money in my wallet to cover me for the rest of the turkey part of the trip, depending on what kind of activites I'd like to do.

Oh, bank says the rest of the countries on the tour are okay.. which makes me stress a bit less, except, well, when it rains it sometimes rains and rains and rains.  I had a look at my ATM card, turns out that it expires at the end of the month.  So I have to figure out if activating the new card in the states will make it impossible for me to take out money, whether or not I can send it to some place along the route (like to the travel agency's headquarters in that country) and pick it up along the way, etc.  If not, then I will really be up shit's creek, but for the mean time I do have some cash and can.. relax for a bit. 

I'm in sal├žuk, turkey, just for those that are keeping track at home.  I have visited the ancient greek/roman city of ephesus.  Really, not to be missed and unlike Troy, it has ruins that are worth seeing (troy was definitely a let down, not only was there almost nothing there but the guide rushed us through.. ugh).  The guide we had was really first rate and while it was 45C out, it was definitely worth it (45C for those in the states is 113 degrees, yea, its freaking hot here).  Wish I could upload photos because honestly, they're going to be great.. well, unless I did something wrong.  Although it is heavily trafficked with tourists.  I have to say that I have a new found hatred for spanish tourists or rather spanish tourist groups.  Hmm what else?  Not too much, going to probably nod off for a bit of a siesta in a few..
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photo by: peterbc2