I caught the train at Berry in time to meet another team member at the check in at Mascot. He had my passport and visa as the latter wasn't issued until last Friday and it was too risky to send it down to the Valley before I departed. I got a little nervous when he told me by SMS that his plane had been delayed. But as it turned out we arrived within half an hour of each other. I must say it was a relief to have the passport in my hot little hand!
We arrived in Abu Dhabi at dawn. The view from the plane was quite different to anything i have ever seen before. Despite the sun having risen, it wasn't bright enough to cut through the haze sufficiently for you to distinguish colours. So it was like flying over a sepia photograph. The haze merged into the land and the sea equally, all three different hues of grey-brown. Only the sun itself had any colour - a bright red circle just above the horizon, which for much of the descent sat at the end of the wing tip. The roads below were easily distinguishable, and every now and again buildings emerged from this dim background. Many of them looked as if they were from a fantasy picture book rather than from a real place. Here the two of us who came from Sydney met up with the three that had come from Melbourne.
We arrived in Istanbul on time at 1.15pm on Wednesday, passed through immigration without a hitch and then had a long wait for the baggage. Part of the GPS we use is oversize, so it always takes about an hour to emerge. We then hopped into the mini-van for the five hour trip to Kacadere, a small village on the peninsular where we stay. We arrived at about 7pm, or 2am East Australian Time. So I had been travelling for 35 hours. It is a beautiful balmy evening and I was just in time to take a couple of photos from the verandah of the room where I stay. The mosque acts as a bit of an alarm clock, and I'll need that tomorrow!
With luck we should complete the permit process tomorrow (Thursday) and will allow us to commence fieldwork on Friday.