I arrived back at the hotel, packed up my stuff and checked out, I had been hoping to sneak in another hours sleep, but the van breaking down had sealed the deal on that one. Just as I had checked out the cab driver arrived to take me to Hattusa, I excitedly followed him down to the cab and jumped in, and almost immediately fell asleep.
When I woke up we were about half way there and in the middle of nowhere, I was immediately launched into a conversation about the price of the trip. Originally yesterday I had been told this would cost me 150 lira, which is really cheap considering the distance we were travelling. Now I was being told it would be half the meter price going out, waiting free and return free. I reluctantly agreed as I basically had no other option, now being in the middle of nowhere, and this still wasn't too bad a price.
I spent the rest of the trip trying to stop the driver making ten stops of chai (tea) in the remaining fifty kilometers. Images of fighting with Halil, one of my bus drivers when I worked with Fez flashed before my eyes and I began to feel really tired, and I don't think it was just the early start for the balloon ride.
We reached Hattusa, and I met the sites caretaker and myself and the cab driver had chai with him. He lectured me all about the site, and I just stood and nodded, too tired to be annoyed at being lectured on something I already know. The driver had no idea where he was going (more images of my Fez days flashed before my eyes) but we eventually found our way around the site.
The first stop was the lower city, which little more than the foundations survive, the driver looked at me and laughed and just said, city and pointed. You sick bastard, I thought to myself, you're having a laugh at my expense because you obviously think I expected more. Yes city, I said and walked away from him. He followed me, which was to be the tune of the entire visit, while this irritated me, I resolved that he had never been here either and may have actually been interested. The lower city is where the archives of Hattusa were found, including the only surviving copy of the Hittite version of the world's first peace treaty, between the Hittites and the Egyptians. The Egyptian side is written on almost every stone surface in Egypt as Ramses II's battle of Kadesh.
Now in Hindsight, I write this and marvel at the irony, that I was about to spend the day fighting with someone, at the sight of the signing of the World's first peace treaty.
We got back into the cab and proceeded to visit some of the gates on the fortification walls, the first one being the impressive Lion gate. While quite ruined, this is still fairly impressive and I was happy at that moment that I had managed to get to this place which was so remote. I looked through the gate, to see the lions faces against a backdrop of blue sky and yellow rolling plains, it was an amazing site.
The next stop was the Yenikapi, a kind of tunnel leading out behind the city, for the army to sneak through and surprise attackers, it was not in ruins at all and I proceeded to walk down it….and the cab driver proceeded to follow me. I'll fix you, I thought, I knew that you could also climb over this monumental construction and I know I'm fitter than the sixty year old, smoker I've got following me. I walked at a steady pace up and around the construction and found the steep stone steps and began to climb to the top of the construction. Once at the top (my pace surprised even me) I looked around to see the cab driver looking up at me as if to say, How the hell did you get up there? I stood up there admiring the view before climbing down and getting back into the cab.
The next stop was the Kings gate, which wasn't all that spectacular and then the Hieroglyph temple, whose writings are incredibly weathered and virtually indiscernible to the untrained eye. I think the driver was looking at me, staring at the rock face, and wondering, What the hell is she looking at?
It was then time for another hill and a hike up to the gate of the underworld, how cool does that sound. It was for me, the best part of the day, as the driver decided he was too tired to follow me on the steep climb. I climbed up, a little more slowly this time and had a look at the gateway with its Luwian inscription, a language, which to me looked really similar to Egyptian Hieroglyphs and Linear A Hieroglyphs.
I sat outside the gates to the underworld and enjoyed the view, just then the call to prayer started from a mosque in what must have been a nearby town, (not that I could even see a nearby town) I pondered how far I'd come and the fact that I was really here. Again, I couldn't help thinking about my ex-boyfriend and the phrase he uttered that drove me mental, If I want to see all these things in the World, I can Google them.Not for the first time, I sat there in my deserted surroundings, listening to the haunting Arabic song echoing over the vast Anatolian plain, perched on the highest point of the ancient city at what was once thought to be the gate to the next world and said to myself, Google this you ignorant douche bag!
I climbed back down and got back into the cab and was taken to a bonus site, which I was told by the young care taker was the Hittite Summer palace. I was walked through some rock formations with Hittite warriors carved on them and chatted to the young man called Morat, who seemed to want nothing more from me than to pass on his knowledge. He kind of reminded me of myself a little bit, and I actually enjoyed chatting with him very much.
I got back into the cab, and proceeded to get into another fight with the cab driver about the price. I asked him, So now we turn the meter off? i, he said. I wanted to confirm the price again, so I said, Half of this? and pointed to the meter. No, No, No, said the driver. You pay this and back free. I said nothing and he proceeded to stop for lunch. I just sat outside the restaurant seething the entire time.
After he had finished his lunch, he apologized for stopping for lunch, actually believing that was what I was angry about! I can't believe the stupidity of Turkish men when they get behind the wheel! I told him exactly why I was angry, and he proceeded to justify his position and I wouldn't have it. Just drive me back, I said and stuck my head phones in. I don't get paid to deal with this shit anymore, so I'm not going to.
It was an uncomfortable ride back to Goreme, all the while I had to prevent him from stopping for half a dozen tea breaks. I asked to be dropped at the bus station, as I was now starving and I wanted to go have lunch at Fatboys and see some friendly faces. I got into another argument with him and told him exactly what I thought of him, including the fact that I had paid a cab driver eighty euros in Kusadasi for the whole day! He was an honest man, I said.
I slammed the door and walked off, suddenly realizing that I had paid him fifty lira above what he said as I had given him a deposit yesterday. I was now furious with myself, as well as with him. He's not getting away with it I thought, I proceeded to go back down to the taxi station to see if I could find him. I planned to make a scene if he didn't at least give me my fifty lira back. Bingo! He was there washing the cab, I was in no mood to be a shrinking violet, so I marched straight up to him and demanded my fifty lira. He looked at me for a second, as if to say, what the hell are you on about? The I said, The deposit? He begrudgingly gave me the fifty lira, a small win for me, but a win none the less.
I went straight to Fatboys for a late lunch and had a chat with Yilmaz, who immediately asked how my day way. Really good, I lied though my teeth and proceeded to tell him all about the balloon ride. I was too tired to recount my story of Hattusa just yet, its actually taken me four days just to write a blog about it and just thinking about the experience made me feel tired.
After lunch I went to say goodbye to Han and Erkan, who also asked me how my day was, again I lied through my teeth and said it was good. The thing is here, if you tell someone who likes you that someone has done the wrong thing by you, they usually go out of their way to hunt the person down and correct it for you. I was too tired to go through this and I didn't want to drag my friends into petty squabbled. I'm not a tour leader here anymore, although that's how we met, I consider these people mates now, not just business contacts and that works both ways.
I sat outside the souvenir shop with Han falling asleep in the chair until it was time to go and wondering about the last time I felt this tired and utterly defeated. Unfortunately, I remembered when this was, the last time I was in Goreme and I was dealing with a bus driver who wouldn't stop for petrol and who revved the bus every time I asked him to stop for the toilet/photos/lunch/anything. I was reminded that the ex-boyfriend wasn't the only reason I left, this was. I had been thinking of offering to run Turkey for Tucan next year, even trying to think of a way to start my own hop on hop off bus and trying to fill the hole left by the Fez bus. I realized at that moment, that I could never work here again. Every country has it assholes, yes this is one of my favourite sayings and in Truth 99% of people in Turkey are absolutely wonderful. It's just the fact that 1% asshole factor (the drivers) are the people that I would be in close contact with all day, every day. Sitting there in the state I was in I realized I couldn't take it now, any more than I could take it then.
I went back to the hotel and collected my stuff, going past Fatboys on the way so I could say goodbye to Yilmaz. I arrived at the Otogar and got straight on the bus, which left at 8pm, it arrived at Nevsehir at 8:15pm and just sat there until 9:10pm. I managed to crash out for a bit after we got going again, but we stopped for a break at 10:30pm at a big bus station that kind of reminded me of Las Vegas, it had so many lights. I managed to get myself some Turkish delight and a cheese toasty, which after all the Turkish food was heaven. Most importantly I managed to stretch my legs, my knees were seizing up as the inconsiderate bastard in front of me had her seat all the way back, leaving me with zero room, I was already in agony. It's going to be a long night I thought to myself.