TALES FROM THE BALCONY
To Bozdag and back
It was 23rd of June 2010. Dave and I had decided see the recently identified late Roman marble quarry at the top of Bozdag Hill, which Dave had read a report about in Halicarnassian Studies. Some years before with Arif, we had climbed Bozdag on foot in a failed attempt to find remains of Lelegian walls and foundations of a tower. Asking Arif the best way to get there was a bit of a no brainer, as we all remembered the difficulty we had climbing the 1 in 3 hill before.
‘We’ll go in my fathers car’ was Arif’s quick reply. ‘I’ll drive you to the top’
We couldn’t remember seeing anything like a road going up it, let alone a car.
So there we were in Arif’s dads old fiat 131, soon discovering there was no road but found ourselves bouncing up a loose dirt track that would have easily qualified as a stage in the WRC Rally of Turkey.
The trip to the top whilst full of bounce was uneventful. The return trip however was to prove otherwise.
The journey down allowed me to film shots of the valley. The track from the summit ran into a road passing through the Munipicality refuse tip, which, as well as containing rubbish also held ramshackle building structures, a sort of shanty town for workers on the tip.
My camera was still running as we reached the tip area. As workers saw us and the camera, people started remonstrating shaking their fists and shouting in Turkish, running alongside the car. Arif slowed down and attempts were made to snatch the video camera from the car. Arif stopped and got out of the car and started arguing aggressively with them. As the crowd and noise increased Arif pulled out his phone, made a call then passed it to the leader of the angry mob.
After the phone call, things were calmer, Arif returned to the car to explain that the people working/living on the tip thought we were an undercover film crew sent to film them. Arif’s phone call had been to the Jandarma, and the only way he could persuade the group to let us leave, was if we reported to the Jandarma station with one of the group’s leaders.
During the journey to the station, with Arif as an interpreter and using the maps and documentation we had, we tried to impress on the leader that we were only interested in the quarry. Arif said he seemed suitably impressed and had asked if Dave was a Professor. To which we all readily agreed, he seemed a little more impressed, as was Dave.
At the station I agreed to delete any footage of the tip that had caused offence. With everyone satisfied, we took the leader back to the tip. During the course of the journey the leader was chatting and laughing with Arif in Turkish. We just hoped that he was not about to try and raise his status with other members of his group by asking the Professor and his companions to have a glass of raki with them.
We had both seen Midnight Express, so the first beer on our return to Hera seemed like celebrating freedom.
You can see a short video of the road trip to Bozdag and back (of course minus the angry crowd scenes deleted to appease the authorities ), at: Link To You Tube Video