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Silk Road Overland – First Few Days

After months of preparation, our 15 week Silk Road overland trip started from Istanbul on 6th June, bound for Beijing.  Two trucks headed out on the road, one carrying Oasis travellers and the other a Japanese film crew who are recording the whole expedition.  Andy and Iain are the Oasis team looking after the film crew and here Andy tells us about the first couple of days on the trip…

First bush camp on the Oasis Overland Silk Road Exploratory trip

First Few Days

The film crew met us at the truck park from Hell and there were familiar faces to me as well as new. Aside from Iain and I on the support truck, we have  Big K main cameraman, Tadaka the camera girl, Keiju the sound technician, two directors – Mo and Hama and Dev, the co-ordinator who hasn’t quite mastered the art of co-ordination yet.

They took all afternoon to load the truck with bags and bags of supplies, camera equipment and probably every electrical gadget known to mankind. Amazingly we managed to stash it all below the floor and in the lockers with space to spare

I revealed the stash of food supplies I’d purchased in the UK and there were plenty of oohs and ahhs which I took to be a good sign. They then laughed at the size of the wok, which isn’t much smaller than a truck tyre.

All very good so I just need to be able to serve them up something edible.  Being a little out of practice on the cooking front, I was a little nervous now at the thought of cooking Asian food for the Japanese. But hey…no pressure.

The few days I’ve known Iain has given me every indication we’ll make a great team. It always helps when both crew have the same sense of humour, don’t take themselves too seriously and have no respect whatsoever for politically correctness.

The moment both Oasis overland trucks pulled out of the truck park, a huge sense of relief washed over us all; we were finally on the move. After all the months of planning, questions and speculation we were rolling.

We fought our way out of Istanbul and the sodding airport for the last time and headed for the first stop in Eceabat. We pulled up at the Boomerang Bar, a decaying and ramshackle establishment located on the coast. Camping on the beach for the first night was obviously exciting for both passengers and film crew.

The passengers seemed quite relaxed about the whole affair and while Andi and Grant showed them how to set up their tents and cook dinner, the cameras were rolling. The cameras ran until dark and they were running again even before the sun rose the following morning.

It was hard not to laugh as the film crew lay in wait to catch the unsuspecting passengers crawl out of their tents, in various states of undress and with differing levels of urgency for the toilet.

The morning was spent visiting the Gallipoli battlefields.  With a beautifully calm coastline and serene rolling hills, it was hard to picture the death and destruction that occurred in the First World War. Yet is it an important pilgrimage for Aussie and Kiwis alike especially on ANZAC day.

By the time we hit the historical site of Troy in the afternoon the temperature had soared to almost forty degrees Celsius and the road was melting. The film director, Mo, unwittingly kept people amused by throwing himself under benches and behind walls to avoid being seen on camera, forgetting his red baseball hat stood out like a sore thumb no matter where he went.

The first night of ‘bush camping’ was up a narrow track deep in the middle of a pine forest. Bush camp means out in the wilds, one with no facilities whatsoever. Not a sound in the air and a sky full of stars ensured it was the perfect setting.

Read more of Andy’s blog on his website

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Check out our Silk Road overland trips – we now have dates for 2013!

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