Wednesday was supposed to be a big day. We had to load all of our stuff we were planning to drive with into the car, have the Air Force guys come and pick up some furniture, check out of our apartment with the land lord, get the temporary plates to drive with, catch the car ferry to Athens, and be on our way to Berlin. It was going to be a big day.
We woke up early and loaded the car full of our stuff. Surprisingly, all of it fit and there was room to spare! Things were looking up. Around eight, the guys came to get the furniture and were gone by nine. Mike had to go meet with some people on base about the car so he left and I hung out at the apartment. All along, we knew we would have to deregister the car in Turkey and get temporary plates to drive out. When Mike got to the base, the guy asked for his Turkish ID number that he had used to register the car. It was soon discovered that he didn't have an ID number and had somehow managed to register the car (and get a cell phone) without one. Welcome to the bureaucratic mess that is Turkey!
The only way to get temporary plates for the car was to go down to the social security office and get an ID number. We did this for me and it took 4-5 weeks and was a huge head ache! Add in the fact that, earlier that week, thousands of government employees had been arrested and fired because of the coup. Plus, Mike is an American and Erdogan isn't thinking too highly of America because we're housing the guy he feels responsible for the coup. All of that being said, going to the social security office sounded like maybe the worst idea possible. So, we were stuck.
Mike called me and we quickly decided that it wasn't worth the head ache of trying to get temporary plates. Instead, we would just fly out. We could still deregister the car and ship it, so we'd still be able to get it to Germany, but it would take longer. At this point, though, anything that would get our car and us out of Turkey was worth it. The only issue with this plan was that the movers had already come and shipped all of our household goods, so all of the stuff that we had planned to take in the car had to somehow make it on the plane with us. We tabled that issue for a few hours and focused on the other issue at hand....
We weren't allowed to leave Turkey. Yup, that's right. We were stuck. Because we were still on FPCON Delta (aka house arrest), nobody was allowed to fly or drive out of Turkey, including people who were trying to move out. Even if we had still planned on driving, we wouldn't have been able to do so until after Delta was lifted. So, once the landlord came and checked us out, we drove our car full of stuff over to a hotel that the Navy booked for us and tried to consolidate all of our stuff, hoping that we wouldn't be in a hotel for too long, but knowing that it could be a while.
We figured that if we could get our stuff into four checked bags and four carry-ons, we'd be good and wouldn't have to pay anything extra. Our biggest issue was the two beach chairs that we had. We also had a lot of cooking supplies, such as flour and spices, that we wanted to bring with us. We were kicking ourselves as we were packing because 1. If we had known we were going to fly, we could have sent all of this stuff in an express shipment via the movers to have waiting for us when we got there and 2. The movers would have given us boxes that would have been useful to put things like beach chairs in. Apparently, Turks never move and therefore there is no such thing as a moving or shipping supply store in Izmir.
After lots of consolidation and sitting on suitcases, we managed to get almost everything except for the food into suitcases. The two beach chairs would get wrapped in plastic at the airport the next morning (Europeans are big on getting their suitcases wrapped in plastic. I don't get it, but it was perfect for this!). We did manage to get a box from the commissary to put things like Mike's scuba gear and some other random stuff in. We had to sacrifice a lot of our food, although I managed to stick a lot of the spices and stuff in random pockets, but that was the least of our worries at this point.
Once that crisis was managed, Mike called the car shipment place and made an appointment to meet with them later that day. When they were going over the documents they needed to ship the car, we realized that somehow, the title to the car had been packed and shipped with all of our furniture. In Turkey, they tell you not to keep your title in your car so that if your car gets stolen, you have proof that it's yours. So, when they were packing up Mike's desk, off went the title. At this point, I thought Mike was going to lose it. Luckily, about a half hour later, they called back and said that they had our title in the system since we had used them to ship our car in to Turkey. HALLELUJAH!!
Mike left quickly to ship the car before some other crisis arose. At this point, it was around 4:00 and Delta still hadn't been lifted, so we knew that we would be hanging out in Turkey at least one more day (probably two). So, we made our way down to the free happy hour of our hotel and settled in for the night because if anyone deserved a happy hour, it was Mike.
To sum up, we (mainly Mike) dealt with the following all in one day...
1. Realized that we couldn't drive our car out because we couldn't get temporary plates.
2. Because of this, we had to consolidate a car full of stuff into four checked bags and four carry ons.
3. Checked into a hotel indefinitely because we weren't allowed to leave Turkey
4. Shipped our car after thinking we might not be able to.