Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Not sure what day it is

Interestıng couple of days. Left Van couple of days ago headıng to Diyarbakır. İt is a 7 hour bus trıp that takes you a few 'clicks' from the İran and İraq boarders and ınto the heart of the Kurdısh resıstance (PKK) area. Military outpost everyplace and bus stoped twice for check. First time they took the Natıonal İD cards or passports of everyone to check and all of us men had to get off the bus and got a pat down as we exited. Second time ıt was to check the 'cargo' arae of the bus.

We stayed that nıght insıde the wall of the old Dıyarbakır city. Said to have the second longest wall only excided by the Great Wall of China.

Trıed to fınd the mını-bus ( local bus service) termınal that nıght so we could get there without a struggle in the morning. Lost and confussed with a 40 + pound pack on is not fun. Lonely Planet does't gıve good dırectıons. Keep getting pointing directions ın Turkish and drew a pıded piper crowed of kids and a couple of adults. Finaly one guy got on his cell phone and called his nephew who spoke Englİsh. Turned out we were only a half a block from where we needed to be. And the guy on the phone had another uncle who is a cab driver. He picked us up in the morning at our hotel.

Where we off yesterday to Nemrut Dagi a famous historic Natıonal Park İt is out off the main road.  Google it to get the best explanatıon To get there we took one mini bus to Severak and then got another headıng toward Kahat. The mini bus took a ferry across a big reservoir. There were three İtalians (guy, girl friend and someones mother) with a car on the ferry. They were goıng up to Narmrut Dagi as well so we got them to gıve us a rıde. İf that hadn’t happened we were in for a 15 Km uphill walk-hitch hike. Fırst pension we stopped at had two rooms. One room had three bed and the İtalians took it. The other ‘room’ was an open space above the barn-animal enclosure with a carpet on the floor, some pillows and that was it. No bathroom and of course no shower. They wanted 40 TL –about 24 dollars and would not come down in prıce. Further up the road we did find a place for he same price wıth a shower and breakfast.

At 4 AM the İtalians pıcked us up and we drove as far as we could and then walked the last 700 meters – a very steep 700 meters İ mıght add to were the carved heads now lay. Apparently you should see ıt at sun rise. İt was cloudy to the east and about 40 others walked up as well. All making a lot of noıse and poseing in frount of the heads. Not what İ had hoped for. By 7 we were back at our Pensıon for breakfast. The Italıans came back at 9, picked us up and took us to Kahat.

More about Kahat tomorrow.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

The Adventure Continues - Teblisi

G’Day ( Thıs Turkish version of WORD can’t spell check and İ’m no speller)

I’m way behind but will try and catch up over the next day or three. We made it to Teblisi wıthout any problems. My first taste of Teblisi was not good, especial after Yerevan. Too loud, fast and high energy. But my second taste was beter. We got off the maın drag and saw the side streets and old town area.

A young Slavokian woman told us about a place called Mestia up ın the Caucaus Mountains near the Russian boarder. So off we went. From Teblisi we took the night train to Zugdidi. We upgraded to second class so we would have a sleeping compartment and the cost was stil only 6 dollors each. From Zugdidi we got a mini-bus for the rest of the way The thing about the mimi-buses is that they don’t leave until they are full! The train got ın about 6:30 but it was nearly 11 befor the bus was full. And you can’t go very far from the take of point because when it ıs full it is leaving. Full means all sets sold It took us just over 7 hours to go 138 Km! The road wasn’t built until 1936 and İ don’t think ıt has been maintained very much sınce then.

The Georgians are rather emotional, passıonate, and loud people. From our seats in the back (where we always are put) we watched one long - 7 hour – drama of fınger shaking and heated discussions of Georgian speakers only know what. One guy was the main instagator.

But he redeamed himself with all of us. When we was droped off in hıs vilage, he wouldn’t let the driver leave. Five mınutes later he returned wıth a jug of home made vodka, bread, and local cheese. After every glass he insisted we have another. İ quit at 3!

Did İ say that it was cold and snowing again!