It was on the road to Diyabakir that I had one of the stranger experiences of the trip so far. As we rounded the corner into a small village I noted the speed limit and slowed down a bit. I then saw some cones in the road for a police control and slowed even more. Now, perhaps 20km/h under the limit we approached the control and the cop stood out into the road indicating for us to stop. ‘Oh no here we go‘ I
thought. It was our first pull of the trip. I wondered if they would be corrupt or if we had done something wrong. The conversation went something like this…
“ah hello. Where are you from“
“ah ok and where are you going?“
“You want eppill?“
“apple. you know, to eat?“
“erm yes that would be nice“
“There you go. OK?“
The other cop gave us both an apple which we pulled in to eat. They gave us another couple of them too. So we had some chatting and photos both with the police and also with the children who were leaving school (who the police were looking after as they crossed the road). I noticed the grip on their sidearms was very decoratively painted and guess this must be something they take a personal pride in.
I finished my apple and went to get a business card to give them to see the pictures and set the apple core in the topbox. They exclaimed “no don‘t put it there, you must toss it. Hey, this is Turkey!“
And so Helen was first to throw hers over the road into the verge on the other side. When I came to throw mine I threw it as hard as I could including a little run up to the road and a flick of the wrist at the last moment. It worked. The thing sailed in an arc beautifully through the sky landing well into the valley on the other side. This drew cheers of approval from our new friends Sindar and Olash.
As we got into Diyabakir we had our second brush with the law. This time we were lost trying to find the hotel so I asked a motorbike cop riding a Honda varadero. Before we knew it he had about 7 mates round, one of whom spoke enough English to explain that the normal road was closed (just as well we asked). They seemed genuinely concerned for us so led us through the traffic to the right place. An hour later they came past again to make sure we got sorted ok.
The Hotel Gap was grubby and noisy. It was also a good bit more expensive than the outdated guidebook had suggested. I guess a lot can change in about 8 years. Mind you the shower worked.
We parked the bikes right outside the entrance which was in fact another hotel beside it. The guy working there said nothing while we spent about 15 minutes locking them up and then started giving off loudly in Turkish. Helen was confused why he waited til after they were locked, but I noticed a blonde haired middle age woman had just come down to him and henpecked him about something. I guessed he was passing on what she didn’t want to do herself. We played the dumb foreigner card which worked well since he spoke no English and eventually he gave up as we walked off.
So ended a strange day. Its not very often you get pulled over by the police to be offered an apple and then told you must litter afterwards. I‘m not sure what the school-kids made of it but the police told me to…