Kublai Kooks - Mongol Rally 2017
Day 18 - August 2, 2017
Istanbul, Turkey Cappadoccia , Turkey
Countries: 19 KMs/Miles: 7874/4893
Breakdowns: 7 Time @ Borders: 21h 25m
Last night was the longest sleep they had this whole trip! So great to feel rested and ready to take on the day. The rooftop terrace was the setting for typical Turkish breakfast spread of meats, cheeses, hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, and bread. The coffee was instant but drinkable and better mixed with milk than tea. The cars were packed and ready. Instanbul is an amazing city from the ground but let's see from the air. Grab the drone!
Now, drone law and regulations are constantly being rewritten in every country and the Kooks certainty do the best they can to keep up but sometimes saying sorry is easier than asking permission. And after seeing the kind of high quality footage it captures, it's going to be hard not to pull it out at every stop. They constantly check for reports of other team's progress crossing boarders with their drones. In Uzbekistan, one team had to smash their's in front of the border patrol. Do they hide it? Courier it? Try to fly it over? In the end, its Andy's bird and he is, somewhat, prepared to have to scuttle it on this trip. I would be a shame though, a big loss financially and he was becoming a good pilot. A damn good pilot. Finally.
Getting from their hostel to the Iranian embassy wasn't easy, a maze of cobble stone streets lined with cars on either side made things tight. With just enough room to squeeze through, unless a car was coming in the opposite direction. At the Iranian consulate, the guy helping them the day before handed all over their approved passports over without fuss, even if you weren't there in person. They were going to Iran! Number one on every Kook's list of countries to visit on this adventure. They were all stoked to jump this hurdle, now they just have to get there.
The city is gigantic so going through takes awhile but when there is congestion, it can feel like forever. The teams spirits were high though so they enjoyed the scenic city views, more mosques, huge Turkey fags, and the cranes and ships down by the harbour. A long jam over on the bridge in sweltering heat made the boys sweat. It was the perfect scenario for YACKS A/C to go down. The Kooks in that car would be driving with window down rocking skins until it can get fixed. The bridge would take them to Asia, John's second first time there.
Once out of the city, the roads really opened up and the team was flying. Mountainous tree covered hills interrupted by red roofed towns and farmers fields. And although the Skodas took a big hit when going uphill, on the downhills with the winds at the backs, they hit their tops speeds of 99 for YACKS and 101 for Millie. Not to bad for these little beauties.
Hour after hour of driving lay ahead only stoping for gas, a quick meal, or to get their PPT. A sticker that pays for toll roads and bridges. Trying to leave the country without one could lead to a huge penalty they've read. As they crouched around their roadside table finishing lunch, a random old man came over, not speaking English, and gave them all plums. At a gas station earlier, John tried to buy a chocolate treat and the guy said "Just take it." This kind of thing keeps happening in Turkey. People just being nice to them just to be nice. The Kooks wondered if they would ever just walk up to a group of foreign strangers on the side of the road and just offer them food. Hmmmm.
Temperatures were hitting 38C out there but the boys were cool as cucumbers on these fast highways. Beautiful arid landscapes spanning as far as the eye can see. Heat waves created mirages in the distance. Is that water? Is that a lake? Getting closer they discovered a huge salt flat. But as so common on this trip, they would only see it from their car. No time to stop. Got to get from point A to point B. Annoying sometimes but necessary when you're on a schedule.
It was night before they got to Goreme, the main town in Cappadoccia. Old cave dwellings and buildings lit up in different colours. A few more supplies are needed before hitting the campsite. Some Efes are in order and a little bit of ice courtesy of the shop owner. No more warm beers! Once again, the fellas are coming up Milhouse on the hospitality. It would be the first ice they've had this whole trip. And a couple of cubes would be perfect in the whiskey Mikey had purchased in Scotland just before the trip when visiting John and picking up the cars. Saving it for a special occasion. Tonight would be as good as any. And they wouldn't be able to take it into Iran so they would have to finish it soon.
They settled in to the nice campsite complete with pool and waterside. But that kind of fun would have to wait until tomorrow. It was after 11pm and they still needed to have dinner, a delicious spaghetti bolognese prepared by chef Josh. Andy called it quits early, his stomach acting up. The rest carrying on, joking around, having a couple of nips, and playing a few games of shithead, the classic backpacker game. Their early wake up time would come quick. Now 1am, they've given themselves only three hours sleep after a long day. Like a bunch of shitheads. End transmission.