GOOD

Dispatch from Batman

Part 5 in "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu Dam. On the way to Hasankeyf, my companions and I stopped at Hotel Gap (named, actually, for GAP) in the industrial Kurdish city of Batman-a city that will soon be on the fringe of the new Ilisu reservoir...

Part 5 in "Village of the Dammed," a blog mini-series from Turkey, on the country's controversial Ilisu Dam.


On the way to Hasankeyf, my companions and I stopped at Hotel Gap (named, actually, for GAP) in the industrial Kurdish city of Batman-a city that will soon be on the fringe of the new Ilisu reservoir. We pushed the Hasankeyf visit back by a day. We arrived in Batman, oh, say, five hours later than we'd estimated due to a couple unforeseen obstacles.Remember what I'd mentioned about a lack of infrastructure? Well, Turkey is working on it, as evidenced by the more or less continuous five-hour construction site along the highway from Van west to Batman. We sat in a traffic jam while, 10 trucks ahead of us, excavators up the face of a roadside cliff spilled gigantic boulders onto the interstate, a bulldozer scraped them out of the way and ushered us past before the next (relatively) controlled avalanche.Another hold-up: aforementioned security checkpoints. We stopped to show our passports every few hours along the route-and even more frequently as we neared the Iraqi border. And then of course, there's the inclement weather. Like America's Gulf Coast gets its influx of hurricanes, Syria is experiencing some seriously intense sandstorms right now, and some of that weather has blown into this region. The air was thick with dust, visibility was poor, and our contact lenses, ears, and snot were full of ancient dirt. More on that later. Or not.And the final obstacle: Americans and Turks navigating the fragile political climate in this intensely Kurdish city. It hasn't held us up, but there's been an undercurrent of ethnic tension since we arrived. No offense Batman, but we're looking forward to getting out of here and seeing Hasankeyf tomorrow.
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via Jason S Campbell / Twitter

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