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TURKEY
These pages document my time spent flying balloons in Kapadokya . . .
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Chapter 30
Joanne's Arrival
So it wasn't two days after I sign their termination contract, that Banu starts to ask if I can stay longer than the 25th of March. I found it quite entertaining that here they did their best to get me out of here a week early, and now they want me to stay. (I came to find out later, that they thought they had a pilot lined up to take my spot, so wanted me out as soon as possible. Then, something happened, the pilot back out or something, anyway, all of a sudden they don't have another pilot, so they want me to stay) . Well, I certainly would have stayed until the end of March, but they made such a thing out of me changing my ticket so I could leave by the 25th that there was no way I'm staying any later than the 25th. Besides, I was really looking forward to that week of seeing different parts of Turkey. Everyday up until the day I left (on the 25th of March of course) Banu made a point of asking me to stay longer. The more time that went by, the longer they wanted me to stay. They were almost begging me to stay through April. They even offered me more money (including offering to pay to change my ticket again) . Heh! Like I thought they would pay me anyway! I told them it wasn't about the money (and it wasn't, it was more about being treated with a little respect) and that there was nothing they could do or say to make me change my mind. Alper still wasn't back from Albuquerque yet! They still haven't payed me for the rest of February yet! I didn't know if I was going to get all the money owed to me and I kind of figured I wouldn't, but it didn't matter. Joanne would be here in another day or so and I was just going to focus on her and I enjoying our time together over here. The first couple of weeks while she was here, I would still be working, but only in the mornings, so we could still see Kapadokya and have some fun until our last week when we could really have some fun.

Well, the day before I pick Joanne up at the airport in Ankara, I have a flight. I'm more worried about having to fly the morning after I pick Jo up, knowing that I will be getting back from Ankara pretty late. The flight the day before was fairly nice, spent dabbling in the valley to the east of our launch site and then landing just north next to where one of the other companies launches. See below for the Google Earth image and file.
Google Earth image of flight on 3/10/2009
Google Earth image of flight on 3/10/2009
On this day, Mother Nature was on my side (for once) and it was Sancho who had a bit of bad luck. He had gotten a bit further east than I did, however he was over the very rocky area of Çavuşin castle when the winds died down. He was having a problem finding some direction, when after an hour and fifteen minutes he was out of fuel (carrying 23 passengers) . He picked a nice open spot and everyone was safe, but of course the crew had some difficulty getting to him so he was a "bad pilot". Believe me, Sancho is a very good pilot, but when the company isn't run by someone who has at least been a pilot, they don't understand. His 23 passengers must have all been Europeans that day, and he was obviously very heavy. So for once, I didn't get the third degree about my flight. There was one thing about my flight that was quite a bummer though. Once I got home, I realized that I didn't have my gps. I hustled down to the office to see if it was either in the office or the balloon or the chase vehicle. uh uh.... no where to be found. Knowing I wouldn't be able to sleep if I didn't at least make an attempt to look for it, I walked down to Göreme and rented a scooter so I could go to both mine and Sancho's landing sites. No luck. Didn't find it anywhere. So, feeling like losing my gps would really just sum up my experience here, I enjoyed the scooter ride none the less. It was really inexpensive also. It was 29 Lira for two hours, including gas. At the 1.80 exchange rate I had gotten the day before, that's about $16. I don't think you could rent a scooter like that in the U.S. for much less than $25 - $30 an hour. I got it for $8 an hour.

I have arranged through Cetin, to have a rental car, so I can pick Jo up at the airport in Ankara. Boy, this oughtta be a hoot. Having been exposed to the way the locals drive, I can only imagine what the drive to Ankara will be like. Especially once I get into Ankara. No doubt I'm excited. I can feel the adrenaline rushing through my veins. Some from the prospect of the drive, most from finally having Joanne here. The drive to Ankara is actually pretty uneventful. I couldn't help myself from leaving earlier than I knew I needed to, but I didn't have anything to do and the last thing I wanted was to be late. I take my time, driving about 110.... (that's kilometers an hour) ..... right around 55 mph. Once .I get into Ankara I really start to perk up. For one, I really needed to pay close attention so I wouldn't get lost, plus there is a whole lot more traffic and stuff going on, so I was on my toes to prevent any type of accident. I only missed one turn on the way to the airport and luckily I saw the sign as I went by. Typical of the way things are here, there was no warning, just the sign all of a sudden pointing which way to go. At least I saw it, was able to turn around fairly quickly and got to the airport a mere 4 hours before Jo's plane arrived. Well, I'm not late.
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