Friday, July 07, 2006

You've got to be kidding!

Yesterday we received our first electricity bill in a little brown envelope. Inside two A5 sheets of paper partially printed (fields corresponding to kw/h/ YTL) and partially handwritten (the amount due).

You've got to be kidding?! 4 times the amount we would have paid in Geneva for a whole quarter in ONE month? And all this from the ONE room we've been using until we gout our furniture. No way!

I run over to the neighbour's who I have briefly met and are German working for NATO.

So sorry to disturb...
They are super welcoming and tell me that whatever questions we may have, we should not hesitate to ask.
Well, that's great, 'cause as it happens... Is this a usual amount for an electricity bill?
They burst out laughing looking at the amount scribbled next to some obscure - to me at least - Turkish words and explain that they had the exact same issue the first month they moved in; the meter does not get turned off in between tenants and the next person/people to move in get to pick up the bill. How nice.

This morning, my German neighbour and I walk over to the Sitesi Manager, Mehmet, to question the amount.
After much-a-do (he pulls out the scrawny register, his ancient looking calculator, some see-through paper documents, and shows us all the numbers that one of his "colleagues" has scribbled down indicating various kw/h per house/per month and giggles a lot). YES! We get him to half the amount of the bill. With the language barrier it is not unlike a victory.

And I'm so not going to let them think that just because we are Expats, and speak no Turkish, and are new to their country, we can be had into forking out cash - it's like, it doesn't grow on our trees any more than it does on yours pal!!!

So what's the next piece of paper?

"Föseptik ödemesi" - YOU HAVE GOT TO BE KIDDING?!!! A SEPTIC TANK!
We actually have one?! agh! AGHHH!
It is recommended to empty it twice a month. That is the amount of emptying we're being charged for. Ok, so, um, we didn't know - never suspected, well, that's why the toilet gurgles!!! - and certainly never did anything to empty it!!!

My kind neighbour takes me to the stench hole and opens it up so we can see if it needs attention...
I wish I could convey the smell, really. All part of the experience, this. My German neighbour, looks in first and with tight lips states:
"it iz neeaarly full, you vill need to call thzem"

Needless to say that:
I have no idea who "thzem" is
How to explain in Turkish and on the phone that our septic tank needs tending to
How in the world can we have filled this (just the two of us) in a month if they claim to have emptied it twice since we have been here???

I ask if the tanks are per house or shared. Only our shit in there, apparently -GASP!!
"You need to chzeck if it iz not full, othzervise you vill hav problem" - yes, I gather that. Oh. My. God.

I really want to prove my point here; that we are not fools and will not pay for service that have not been rendered.
But HOW am I going to explain to the Sitesi Manager that we could not POSSIBLY have FILLED the tank (twice!) without actually having to take him there and stand over the stench while he observes the quantity of shit?
Any kw/h for that here?!


Anonymous said...

this all u write is boring..get some tips from brooke. good luck.

Sandra said...

Hey Anonymous,
thanks for the feed-back. I'll keep it in mind. I agree, the post is a bit long.
Glad you mentioned Brooke though - at least I know whereabouts you're coming from. ;-)

Adam said...

Hmmmm.......yugowife. I like Yogowife. Some advice first - use the spellcheck. Also, u remember Yula? U should give him a call even though he is retired now. He's a nice nice guy and he will be the best help u ever get on all things Turkish. Benoit has his contact details I think.

Now a comment.....u are venting!!! Chill baby, chill. Every new country takes about a 6 month adjustment. If u think u have it bad in Turkey think of poor little me In Thailand. Well, ok, the girls are nice I admit. I just dumped one for the second time and, for the second time, she is claiming she is pregnant!

If u want a good idea of life in Thai check my blog at

Look at "Teerak, my mom is sick and I need money" and "Owning a business in Thailand: part one".

I bt u are loving every moment of ur misery ;) Say hi to ur lucky husband and a woof to the dog!