Turkey - Goreme PDF Print E-mail
Written by Peter Smith   
Wednesday, 08 April 2009 19:33
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Day 16: Goreme & Hot Air Ballooning Monday 8th October

This was by general consent the best day so far. My day started badly at 2.30am when the party gang returned from watching the Scotland game and made so much noise they woke the campsite. Before I could get back to sleep it was time (5.15am) for those going hot air ballooning to rise and of course Anne was one of them. Once again there was much noise everyone being exited. I abandoned the idea of getting any sleep with the noise of balloons being filled. The scene outside our tent was spectacular with, at one point, 25 balloons slowly making their way down the gorge to the rhythm of the gas jets.

Anne's balloon, the smallest and the brightest yellow, rose straight upwards to six thousand feet with, according to Anne, all our group singing the chorus to the Parapenting song:

Flying so high like prima ballerina
Sailing the sky like a clipper on the sea.
We reach as we try to join them on their journey
Then watch our lives go by from the safety of our dreams.

I also learnt from others that the other balloon sang the chorus too. Marcus is still intent on recording it and Ecuador but I 'm not happy if he's going to keep playing it on the bus. Both Marcus and especially Leighton are constantly devising little schemes and plans to keep moral high and I have to say it's working at the moment which is more than can be said for Ozbus 1.

Everyone back from balloon ride by 8.30 and ecstatic about the scenery and the whole experience. Anne's balloon pilot actually brought it down, inch perfect, onto the back of the trailer that carried it. Most people took advantage of the site swimming pool and the excellent facilities to relax for the rest of the morning. At about 2.00pm we walked into Goreme, I had a lunch of chips and omelet and Anne had fried aubergines and all washed down with Efus beer. We have not seen any beer on tap since Istanbul and that was also Efus which must be Turkey's San Miguel. Goreme has at least three internet cafes and I found the slowest. Took over two hours to upload day eight to fifteen of my blog. Much of this time was spent trying to upload some of the four hundred photos we've now taken of the trip. Anne took about thirty or so this morning hot air ballooning. I can't decide whether it was a slow internet link or the size of the photos (3 - 4 mb each). I need to get access to a piece of software like Fireworks or something similar in order to reduce them to a manageable size for uploading. I have to say this blog is a logistic nightmare. I thought it would be quite easy but the reality is very much different because of the whistle stop nature of this trip. We're on the road by 9.00am every morning and not reaching our day’s destination until late, often after dark. I'm trying to write yesterday's blog as we head for our stop near Mt Nemut which will take nine hours driving. Not much of an opportunity to download photos and upload them with the day’s blog.

Had the taxis ride of our journey. As we stood by the taxis rank consisting of two empty vehicles an old man with a fag in his hand and a young man with a cup of tea in his hand made their way towards us. The old man asked us where we were going and gave us a price of seven and half lira. He then added his young friend was also going our way and so it would only cost five and half. He then opened the back door and we fought our way into the space which was made tighter by the thickness of the seat covers which were very deep piled. As the old driver started the engine the younger man handed him the tea saying we were lucky to find a taxi driver at seven o'clock at night during Ramadan. We quickly sped away down the main street with the driver holding a cig in one hand and the tea in the other. After a few hundred yards the tarmac gave way to cobbles and as we bounced about in the back a mobile phone rang out from under the dash and the driver picked it up and began to talk. We spent the next part of the journey being driven by a seventy year old taxi driving smoking a fag and holding a cup Turkish chi, at sipping at times, whilst answering the phone. The younger front seat passenger kept turning his head towards us and smiling politely as though everything was normal. I have to say the old man never made a single mistake for the couple of klm back to the campsite.

When we arrived back there was much talk about Ozbus 1 which is reputedly broken down again in Tehran. I have to say they have not endeared themselves to many on our bus. We have now been left three notes from them calling us losers, wankers, Homo's and second best. If we catch them up there could trouble, the younger members of our bus have taken the comments very personally.

However, the progress of bus 1 has implications for us and there is much speculation about our route especially through Nepal, Tibet/ China. I know many on our bus will be very upset if there is a change to that part of the trip. We have been told we would have to go to Calcutta and catch a plane to Bangkok. It seems much of the speculation about most things coming from the bus in Iran comes from the Guardian journalist travelling with them. It seems her second article is all about how everything has gone sour with complaints about the condition of the bus, the food and location of picnic stops. It seems that some parents have also written letters to the Times with complaints from the kids on the ill fated vehicle. The problem is, until I read the articles, they're just rumours. I suppose it's not beyond the bounds of possibility that the journalist on board is stirring things up or is just not up to the trip. I somehow can't imagine the Editor of the Guardian being happy with a constant stream of articles all about the good aspects of the journey. After all she's not been sent as a PR for Ozbus.

When we got back we had plenty of time to shower, relax with beer and talk about the day's events before we were bussed out to an underground restaurant with a traditional show by Whirling Dervishes and the local dance team. The facilities are the best of any campsite so far and had three or four French campervans who it seems are taking our route to China. I must say I'd consider bringing a motorhome down here, it's so unspoilt, has good network of roads and doesn't seem all that dangerous. The show at the restaurant included food and all drinks. The food was Turkish and plenty and ok but the red wine was the worse glass I have ever had and I have supped some bad stuff in my time. The waiter kept bringing it out even though, after the first glass, everyone turned to beer. I think he saw his opportunity to get rid of it. Also I have to say Anne thought it was ok which says something about her taste buds.

The Whirling Dervishes started the proceedings with some pretty impressive whirling and although I like the music it was recorded. Sue who's seen it before thought they were not very good because they didn't go into a trance with their heads slumped to one side on their shoulders. They were then followed by the dance troupe's band who was amazing musicians; especially the clarinetist and drummer. The dance team did about an hours performance with some impressive dancing to the typical themes of harvest and boy meets girl. I finished up dancing with the bride, which was a bit more energetic than Grenoside and if it hadn't stopped when it did, it could have been my last night of marriage. Anne was giving me some worrying looks.

At the half way stage the band started playing happy birthday Turkish style to annonce our first birthday on the trip. At midnight Mac was forty and the girls had arranged a cake and candles. He hen celebrated further by doing the belly dance with a beautiful young women who had a very good figure with no belly whatsoever. We arrived back at the campsite and were shocked to find Simone had announced she was leaving the bus to return with her boy friend who had mysteriously turned up at Atillah's two days earlier.


Last Updated on Thursday, 09 February 2012 16:49