A very sad day.

Everything was removed from Womble and searched.One of the few things worse than having your van break down on a trip like this is being unable to find your passport. Yesterday morning as we were preparing to board the ferry to cross the the Euphrates river between Kâhta and Siverek, Maureen announced that she could not find her passport.

As soon as we disembarked on the east bank Womble was searched, and when nothing was found everything was removed and searched again. And again. Because the last time Maureen definitely had her passport was at the camp site in Göreme we phoned the camp site. Unfortunately they were unable to help. We then phoned Ruth Lockwood (a New Zealander who runs an excellent carpet shop in Göreme) and she very kindly made more enquires both at the camp site and with the police. But no luck. (Many thanks Ruth.)

Although it might have been possible for Maureen to get a new passport in Ankara and then get the required visas en-route she felt that this would cause to much delay to the group and very reluctantly decided to turn back and return to Istanbul. Tentative plans were made for Maureen to leave Womble in Istanbul, return to the UK by air, get new visas and rejoin the group in Bukhara.

Unfortunately Maureen's problems were not yet over and less than two hours after her departure from the group we received a text message:

Well here I am in a garage in Diyarbakir with a knackered clutch!

The most recent text message we have from Maureen (a few minutes ago) says:

Clutch a mess. 1st time I have a clutch go, very lucky handy nearby garage. As far as I can tell they are doing a good job. I'm OK. Just very sad.

Maureen's departure from the group has made everybody very sad and emphasized the risks involved in such a trip. We still do not know how Maureen's passport disappeared, if it was lost or stolen or even exactly where it happened.

Stephen Stewart.

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