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How to lose your passport – in Istanbul (Part 1)

Mai 9th, 2010 · Keine Kommentare

(Es gibt auch eine Deutsche Version dieses Eintrags, siehe: Wie man seinen Pass in Istanbul verlieren kann (Teil 1))

Okay – as a lot of people asked my what happened in Istanbul with my passport and how I made it back to Bulgaria, I decided to write this entry in English and German. Possible, that not all things are translated properly – and please excuse my English. In case I made too big mistakes or too many „false friends“ – please don’t hesitate to contact me… but now: lets go back to the morning of 3. Mai 2010, in a hotel somewhere in Istanbul:

10:00 o’clock

The alarm clock rings. Too early this morning. The last evening ended when in normal people had their second coffee in the morning…

10:45 o’clock

Okay, check out from the hotel is at 12:00 o’clock and I have to pack my stuff – shower and packing.

~11:30 o’clock

Throwing all the stuff in my case and backpack – this time everything fits easily into it. After everything is packed I started to think about what I will need in the backpack and what in the case – because the case is in the luggage room of the bus and not accessible. One particular important thing – for sure – is the passport with the entrance visa in it.

12:00 o’clock

The hotel keeper comes around to remind us of the check out at 12 o’clock. Meanwhile I searched all pockets of all my shirts, jeans and my jacket and I unpacked my whole case. Also my whole backpack was checked, emptied it over the bed completely – all what was left inside was dust and dirt (perhaps I should clean it more often…)

Passport? Няма – there is none….

~12:15 o’clock

Check out of our room. Looking for the passport under the bed, behind any kind of furniture (except the toilet, it was not moveable ;-)) and under all beds of the neighbour room, where I have been a few times for lashing.

By the way: meeting to go to the bus was at 13:00 o’clock – bus departure: 13:30 o’clock….

~12:30 o’clock

Checking the website of the German embassy in Istanbul for calling. Lucky me I still have my ID card (Personalausweis) with my, which is also valid for travelling within Turkey. But I don’t have the entrance visa anymore.

~12:40 o’clock

After a lot unsuccessfully phone calls (the telephone of the reception has no tone dialling) – unusable hint from the announcement: „use your mobile“;  estimated costs: 2,50 €/minute – I could use another phone and at 12:45 o’clock I reached someone at the German embassy. After 5 minutes of waiting: sorry, responsible person for this question is currently unavailable. At least I got the number for a direct call – from now on I can use the normal telephone.

12:52 o’clock

Answer from the German embassy: travelling from Turkey to Bulgaria with only ID is no problem, as long as I don’t want to go to Serbia (of course not) but I need a confirmation of the lost passport from a police station.

The concierge wrote the name of the next police station on a sheet and than Emrah and me started to search for a taxi.

12:58 o’clock

On the way to the police station – lucky me with Emrah, who is from Turkey. Language is no problem so far. Somehow I felt like I will not catch the bus in 30 minutes….I don’t know why – perhaps because the taxi driver asked about 10 people to find the police station.

~13:05 o’clock

Arriving at the police station. A nice one, small building with two floors and a nice front garden – the guard at the entrance (which late will be announced in another twitter-entry) asked what we want to do. First reaction: I need a valid proof who I am from the German embassy. After showing of my ID we could enter anyway.

~13:10 o’clock

Emrah checks what to do and the police men are very nice – the necessary fax is sent within minutes. Sadly the answer will be there only within 4 hours – and: I must not leave the area of the police station.Very nice: everything I got with me is my wallet, my mobile and a map of Istanbul. You may imagine, how I felt after such a long sleep and only one glass of water in the morning – up to now there was no breakfast or anything else to eat. This will not change for the next hours…

13:13 o’clock

I call Horhe (who is the organizer of the whole trip) to tell him what’s up. He tells me there is no chance to wait with the bus because of people who have to catch a train in Plovdiv. Lucky me Horhe had all the passport numbers with him and so I could tell the police men the number of my old passport. This will increase the treatment, so I heared….

13:17 o’clock

I receive the SMS with my passport number from Hohre.

13:21 o’clock

I call Ed to organize my baggage to be left at the hotel reception.

13:26 o’clock

Horhe called me to ask what will be now. Meanwhile I sent Emrah back to the hotel – so the bus can start without me. As I knew from yesterday: there is a train to Sofia, starting at Sirkeci railway station at 22 o’clock. So I plan to take the train – not a big problem as I really like to go by train. Up to now I have no idea if there is a seat or bed left on the train, but I just trusted that there will be a place….

13:29 o’clock

Ed confirms: my baggage is left at the hotel. They will start now.

13:40 o’clock

First message to twitter: „Left without passport but only ID in Istanbul-now waiting in the sunny garden of the police for confirmation of stolen.back to sofia: #train“

From now on I lay in the nice garden of the police station. As I had to much respect I had not the heard to make photos – you have to imagine how it was. I slept some time and read in the only thing I got: the Istanbul map. In the small booklet there was also a short guide to Turkish language – but it was to complex to remember anything except: „bir“ means one. „Bir bira“ means „one beer“ – as this is very important, I could remember easily ;-)

14:30 o’clock

Waiting….still trying to figure out some Turkish words…

15:16 o’clock

The guard with machine-gun reads a commercial magazine from „Tchibo“ – with fashion offerings and stuff like this inside. Very, very strange. (This is the mentioned post in twitter with the guard – but only in German).

Meanwhile there were also some friends of the guard coming to the police station. And in Turkey it is very common to kiss and hug each other especially as man. Very strange view to see two guys hugging while one has a MG in his hands….

~16:20 o’clock

The fax from the ministry arrived!

I can go to the „counter“ in the police station – and as I do not understand a single word of Turkish I don’t understand anything at all….

~16:30 o’clock

The documents arrived and I stand around with 5 policemen. The senior police man drinks a cup of Turkish tea – and at one moment when I look at him he awkwardly throws his cup of tea from the counter on the table with my documents….he looks at me and starts to laugh – making me responsible in joke for spilling his tea over all my documents. As I got this I start to laugh with him and the situation is quite funny, all the policemen around start to laugh, too. As one of them is able to speak a little bit English they offer me a Turkish tea and a cigarette – what I could not refuse at all.

So I stood there, smoking a cigarette, drinking a tea in the police station of Eminönü district in Istanbul, not being able to understand any word of a discussion or anything at all, waiting for my documents.

After a while the sheet is printed and it needs four signatures – one from me. Signed two sheets, one for me, one for the police archive, I finally have my document. :-) I don’t think I’ll ever forget the moment standing with the Turkish police, drinking a tea….very, very strange and amazing moment!

16:52 o’clock

I leave the police station. The guard with MG at the entrance said goodbye to me and I’m searching for where I am.

~17:00 o’clock

I found a bakery around – so I bought a bread and a coke. Feeling much better now.

17:20 o’clock

I reach Sirkeci railway station – the only international ticket office is busy: „Please come back in one hour, we need to print tickets for a big group“. Great. I’m hungry.

17:30 o’clock

Opposite there is a Burger King. Yes it is not very typical Turkish – and not very cheap. But I was so hungry and happy to know, what I will get…

There is also the first image I took on this day: The railway station.

Sirkeci Railway Station - view from Burger King

~18:00 o’clock

Back to the ticket office. First I got another 100 Lira from the ATM in the station to pay the ticket. After 10 minutes of waiting the guy at the counter told me after 2 minutes of looking in his computer: „Tonight Sofia? No. Full.“. You can imagine my feeling at this point….

Continuation: Overnight to Europe (Part 2)

Tags: Bulgarien · Reisen