Evening in Istanbul

Evening in Istanbul
The alluring and beautiful Aya Sophia

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Keeping an eye out for the Ark; getting caught up in a bomb scare; climbing to Camp 1 on Ararat!

Mt Ararat, from 2100m Pass near Suveren Village

We were thankful it wasn't real
Would we be keeping an eye out for the Ark? Yes of course! In the meantime we got caught up in a bomb scare near the Iranian border with Turkey. An effigy of a soldier had been hung from a road sign, with a note attached saying that there was a bomb in the ditch. So there were trucks and cars lined up for kilometres, soldiers everywhere toting bomb detectors and machine guns, armoured vehicles dotted along the road verge, and us two Kiwis somewhat bemused by it all but pretty well entertained at the same time! And we got caught going both ways – towards the border, and then after having türk çayı (turkish tea) with 4 Iranians and 1 Turk (all men of course) in a teahouse, we got caught again for a longer bomb searching spell on the way back. And of course we didn't even get a glimpse of the Ark. But I did manage to fluke the attached photo of the body (fortunately not real) hanging from the road sign. I've floated the idea of my being a war correspondent in the future (still unsure of my future in Christchurch) but I've not yet had any encouragement from anyone!

We didn't catch a glimpse of the Ark today either, when we climbed “slowly slowly” up to Camp One on Mt Ararat. Maybe we didn't go high enough. We couldn't have missed it though if we'd gone past it – we were going far too slowly! Actually, our guide Netin (Kurdish) said we'd done really well, and we were up there by lunchtime, and back down again by about 3pm. Fantastic views of the mostly cloud-free mountain nearly all the way, and a feeling of elation and immense satisfaction on both our parts for having been there, and done that! Secretly, I'd love to go to the top. Maybe another time . . . . . . . ?

Our time in Dogubeyazit has been fantastic. As Jenny is saying, we've loved being here, have felt much more as though we've been part of the Turkish culture, and have been intrigued by meeting Kurds and hearing them speaking Kurdish. And as a final coup d'état, Jenny has bought a gorgeous large Kurdish kilim this evening!

Off to Ahlat in the morning . . . .

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