Vacation. Such a lovely concept.
In my previous installment, we had just reached Istanbul. For the following two days we drove across Turkey. Not much to report; We spotted a new 9-3 with dutch license plates slumbering in the slow-lane. I changed to the middle lane, flickered on my emergency blinkers, but I couldn’t see any response so we continued at our regular speed. At the border crossing total chaos reigned as their computer system had suffered a complete and total breakdown. We were stuck in a queue for eight hours and got hustled for some money. A Georgian gentleman offered to help our progress getting through for a handful money. In the end he helped speed up our progress in the line so it was not a total loss.
The traffic culture here in Georgia still remains an enigma for me. Luckily we arrived late in the evening, so as a driver I have not yet been exposed to the chaos that Georgian roads can so readily supply. We have only seen one car accident in Georgia this trip. Imagine an entire country filled with obnoxiously bad drivers and you still won’t be close to describing the traffic culture here in Georgia. My wife wanted to practice driving and her Georgian driving instructor told her the complete opposite of her Swedish driving instructor. A few days later she found a better instructor, one that came with a car that has working mirrors.
We have seen a few Saabs here, but they are extremely rare. Today a red 9-5 honked hard the minute we spotted each other. I have noticed that he sometimes parks nearby, so I will try to establish contact.
It seems a tad unreal to have covered 5000 km in a few days, but that is what the distance meter says. The 9-5 performed like a champ of course. I have already mentioned the mountain passes in Romania. If they ever get the lorries off the road then I will wholeheartedly recommend it.
Though I am happy with the progress so far, I have experienced some technical problems. The oil I mentioned in a previous entry, but now a new problem has surfaced. The right nozzle for the washer fluid has disappeared! It was not working correctly, and when I inspected it I noticed it was slightly recessed. Instinctively I gently tapped it and down it went. D’Oh! There is now only a gaping hole where there once was a nozzle. I know how to get into the aquarium on a 9000, but on the 9-5 there are no screws as far as I can tell.
I have started planning our return. Turkish roads up in the mountains proved to be somewhat of a mixed bag. It is a four lane highway all the way from Istanbul to Samsun (and further on to the border), but parts of it is under repair and has been temporarily replaced with a cattle track. Driving off-road a mere meter away from black fresh asphalt is a new experience in frustration. Guessing the speed limit as well as figuring out a safe speed that won’t damage the car will also help me pass the time. I should be able to cross Turkey in 14 hours and then spend two nights in Greece. The ferry for Venice leaves at around 9am.
Something I forgot to mention last time: I saw a 9-7X at the Saab dealer in Bucharest! I think it is the first time I have seen a 9-7X in the flesh.