November 13, 2011


when we got on the bus in Tabriz, a heavy snowfall had started. well, that was something. it's been a while since I was in such a cold and snowy weather.

the bus arrived to the border round midnight and the anarchistic mess with passport control etc started. I got into a fight with the border police - didn't know I had an impulsive screamer in me. after 3h our bus got to continue. perfect. the bus warmed up to it's uncomfortable 30C and I think I had just fallen asleep when at 3am the bus stopped in Dogubeyazit and we were told that big vehicles are not allowed to the earthquake area now, and that they will get a taxi for us. might have been a lie or not. but there we were, 3am (gained 1,5h when coming to turkey - talk about a long night) in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by snowy mountains and everyone was fighting about the taxi. us and 2 others finally got on the taxi, and the argument would continue over where in Van would he take us. then, there was the gas station, and the frozen gas tank cap, which the driver had to melt open. the rest of the 2,5h trip was quiet and I looked at the many trucks that had slid into the curb in the "surprising" winter climate. we drove through a cloud too with zero visibility, it was a bit hazardous. I looked at the white mountains all around us and finally slipped half-asleep.

the wake up at the back of the taxi in Van at 5:30am was not too pleasant. at this point I excitedly waited getting to the airport, even though originally the idea of sleeping at an airport bench for half a day was not inviting.

the airport seemed to be "in progress", half done. shivering in -8 degrees without -8 degree clothing we ran to the airport. then it dawned upon us that there was just one security guy in an empty, cold hall. no pasport check booths, no nothing. somehow, the flights are organized, but the cables coming out of walls, ceilings and floors didnt look trustworthy. who cares except it was 6am, minus degrees INSIDE the empty "airport" and I could see my breath.

doctor talked the security guard finding us a small electrical heater which we gathered around in an empty room we found (had a kind of open desk so will be a service desk of some sort). we spent the morning and day shifting between awake and unconscious while sitting in chairs and shoving our legs and fingers towards the heater. we did consider taking a taxi to a nice warm restaurant downtown, but learned that due to earthquake there were no warm nor cold restaurants open in Van. I obviously underestimated this earthquake factor a bit...

we called airlines in hopes of an earlier flight but they said all flights are full. and indeed the airport filled with people, and to be one out hundreds with a heater I guess I should consider myself lucky? we dressed in layers of of the clothes that we had in out bags and waited for time to pass by. honestly, holiday from hell??

i pushed doctor to ask around about last minute cancellations, and by chance we got on a 1:30pm flight at the last minute! doctor might have said that his wife is very ill though, and needs to get to Istanbul for treatment....

the sceneries were amazing from the plane, from what I can tell before I fell asleep. the mountains are really beautiful. and we were flying over the very same railway that took us to Iran, it was cool to see.

at home we were greeted by small water damage problem and my computer is broken or has a virus. honestly tho, we just arrived after 6pm, ate and had shower and I need to sleep cos tomorrow is workday... (argh)

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