Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Up there? No problem. Down there! No worries mate

OK its stupid o'clock in the morning and the bus driver seems to forget me but in the end all is good and we set off to blow up some balloons. None of this childish stuff, real hot air balloons.

Now I must admit, a few of us were showing signs of apprehension getting in the basket, myself to some extent a little. Forget all that! Once this ancient craft lifts off, it's the most serene flying experience you could imagine. Although I'm still sort of tired and slightly grumpy from dodgy tummy,(the Imodium seems to have worked so far). This suspended basket drifts upwards in silence (with exception of the the noise from the occasional gas burners) in such a gentle and relaxed way. No one is stressed, if anything, any trepidation is long gone on the faces of the other 8 passengers. Amazing experience..
David from Gold Coast

David is the Aussie pilot. He's shows us that its easy to hug the contours of the valleys. We're a few feet from the edge of many of the weird shaped rocks and hills below us. We can ascend amazingly quickly as well. No worries mate.
I'm still in Goreme, a weird and wonderful place where some houses have been  carved out of the rocks. The strange upward rock formations are lava deposits from the nearby extinct volcanoes, eroded by millions of years of weather.

Goreme from the sky

I've also made a momentious decision. Well it's not that major but I've been pondering this since I hit bumpy roads of turkey. I've decided to lose as much weight as possible, no not me, thats well overdue. Lose some weight of my noble steed. I reckon the bumps and extra weight are going to wreck the suspension so when I get to Antalya it's all being sorted and stuff sent home.

So anyway, I'm way behind schedule so decide to take a long drive to Antalya, 8 hours. It turns out much much more. My faith in trusting the maps loaded to my gps is lost after it attempts to take me 300kms  further north than I need to be. Its getting late and the GPS says arrive 11:30pm. That can't be right.

So I stop roughly half way to see what the problem is. Then when I try and fix the now failing touch screen and start the bike. Nothing happens.

The alarm immobilizer thing has done its job. Immobilized me and alerted everyone in 50 mile radius that I'm stealing my bike. This is at the side of a busy road, it's hot, I'm not feeling well and the f$%kin bike won't start.

I throw a tantrum, my sunglasses, gloves and swear a lot.

Suddenly, this guy appears from the nearby gatehouse of a restaurant cafe complex with a chair and a cup of tea for me. He says, "here, you sit. sugar"?
I'm gobsmacked and speechless. I'm just standing there staring at my gloves and glasses he's picked up for me.

puzzled security guy with tea
If I saw some foreign nutter throwing stuff around whilst dancing to the police siren sound, I'd stay well away and report him to the authorities. Not this guy. "here, you sit, have tea" and walks away.
I add the two sugar cubes, sit down and sip tea whilst staring at my dead bike.
Thats lovely but tea won't start the bike. I'm still getting my head round this weird situation.

Anyway, a cup of tea, a desperate phone call to my support crew in Australia and UK. (my wife and the guys at Youles in Manchester) I've been given the instructions on how to remove and bypass the alarm system.

the bloody alarm system
I hack the bloody nuisance alarm thing and connect the wires. Check and double check. The guy offering tea wants to help but I have to assure him I know what I'm doing. So why so nervous when turning the key for the first time then? I decide to record on video some more swearing and hand the camera to the tea guy. I turn the key and it works! I'm elated.

Meanwhile I'm I baking heat, feeling I'll from my tempestious Turkey toilet tour and now dizzy to boot. I really don't feel good but the engine running makes me feel a lot better, even if I don't seem to have much strength left. I need a rest but have 5 hours to go, according to  my gps. This will be hard.

I thank the tea guy for his amazing kindness and carry the chair back to the gatehouse with tea cup. I better get a move on.

I hate riding a bike in the dark. It gets dark.  Now I've learned the wonderful 7000k super duper blue light bulb I bought in Ankara is as good as a candle in a brown ale bottle. I cant see a thing. The roads have faded markings so their whereabouts are a guess. I have to keep close to the other nutters in white transit vans to stay alive on the road. Then again maybe it's safer I stay away from them. Many times I gesture obscenities to the others behind me keen to get a ride on my back seat. I'm going at 150 kph and these guys have to get home for a nice cup of tea and a kebab before it gets cold. I swear they are 2 inches from my back wheel.  I also swear a lot.

I coax the gps to find me my hotel, booked earlier that morning. I'm so pleased to see the wonderful crisp sheets of white Andrex in the bathroom. However, the pure white sheets of the bed linen worry me and I have scary thoughts about how I will explain to the chambermaid next day that I've not been well. Vegemite and chocolate come to mind.

Despite all this and not feeling the best, I have the most wonderful time in Antalya, meet the most amazing people and make one of the the most difficult phone calls of my life.

Keep going or not?

1 comment:

  1. Some beautiful photos in this post, sir Steven! Now take a deep breath, and maybe another swig of immodium. :-) Hang in there!