Friday, 5 October 2007

Day 18 – Dawn Hike

Up till now it has been one entry per day but I feel that the early hours of Wednesday 3rd October deserves its own entry and I am sure you will agree.

The dawn hike beckoned and we started off well, we crawled bleary eyed from our rooms and tents to board one of three local minibuses for our trip to Mt Nemrut for which we had all paid 20 Lira the night before. All was going well despite some crazy overtaking manoeuvres by the bus I was in we reached the base of the mountain and a toll gate! We were then told that our payment had not included the 4.5 lira entry fee but only the 3 minute drive to the base of the mountain. Our fearless tour leader jumped out to confront the would be con men. After squaring up to the men, who to be honest seemed h9ighly intimidated by a tall confident woman, the bus I was on went into reverse and belted off at break neck speed back towards the hotel. Having no idea what was going on we decided it was one of three options:

We were not climbing the mountain so the sunrise and giant stone heads would be missed and we would be kicked out at the hotel
The guy at the gate was telling the truth when he mimed that he had no signal to call the hotel and check we had paid so we were returning to the hotel to sort it out and then head up the mountain
We were being kidnapped to be held for ransom till the other OzBusers handed over 4.5 lira a head to climb a big hill

Luckily the 2nd option turned out to be correct, it appeared we had called their bluff on this particular shake down and would carry on at no extra charge. We proceeded to climb in the dark, making our way to the east and west terraces of the mountain, trying to take pictures in the dark with limited success and after and unfortunately hazy sunrise it was time to head down.

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