“We in Istanbul do not really understand the politics against Armenia”
The next day I walked out of my hotel and walked to Alaattin’s Honda Service. We were both on the Asian side, and it was no more than a 15 minute walk. On my way I met a real motorcycle-only washing service, and 2 policemen on a Varadero who wanted to wash their bike.
See the couch and the armchairs on the background? That is a general sight here even for outdoor places of least significance (like a motorcycle wash service down in Kadiköy)! The guy resting on the armchair is the owner of the place.
In Honda, Alaattin was already waiting for me. “Your tires have arrived 5 minutes before you!”
While usta was changing my tires and balancing the wheels, me and Alaattin were talking about things. Apparently his grand grandparents had moved to Turkey from Adigey Republic long ago.
“We in Istanbul do not really understand the politics against Armenia”, he shrugged
“So, do you think I am safe here?”
“Of course, no problem at all!”
I wanted to finish early, because I wanted to ride to Silivri to meet some of my Armenian friends who also happened to be in Istanbul with their own affairs. There was also a Portuguese lady who I really wanted to meet. So I rushed Alaattin Bey.
“Women eh?” he smiled wide. I think he was really into women. “Women!~”
Alaattin was really proud of the job his usta did on my bike, and I was pretty happy as well.
“We are connected to Honda’s global motorcycle maintenance system. It is completely online. Every single thing that we did on your bike is recorded in the system. So next time you take your bike to any Honda in Turkey, Europe, USA or Armenia, they will have access to all that information!”
“We don’t have an official Honda in Armenia!”
“Really? How many motorcyclists are there in Yerevan?”
“Very few? How few? Around 500?”
“50? Five and one zero? How many people live in Yerevan?”
“Over a million!”
“Aslan Bey!” he yelled to the chief usta, followed by something in Turkish, laughing.
“I just told him there are only about 50 motorcycles in Yerevan! That is crazy! Maybe I should open business there! Do you think there is good potential? In a million-man city with only 50 bikes there must be!”
I didn’t know what to answer. “Maybe if you promote motorcycles really well, people will start riding!”
“We’ll stay in touch about that” he concluded.
They took the motorcycle off the stand and washed it. Alaattin then rode his beautiful white motorcycle with me to the nearest petrol station where I could refuel.
Turkish 95 fuel looks much different from the Armenian 95 (“Premium” as we call it in Armenia). It is a lot greener and its smell is much more intensely chemical.
“Use 95! 97 fucks your motorcycle! Also be careful for the next 200 kilometers because of the new tires, and be easy on your brakes! Ride safe, call me if you need anything!”
“Thanks a lot!!”
I rode to Silivri. That is about 80 kilometers from the Asian side of Istanbul. After the carburetor tweaks and the new fuel, the motorcycle was flying! I felt like I had purchased a new motorcycle with at least 20 more horsepower!
The way people drive in Istanbul deserves a separate dedicated post, or perhaps a dedicated book. But anyway, the motorcycle ran perfect, the roads were awesome, and I arrived in Silivri to meet Masheé and Dina and spend some fun night at a beach with dozens of young foreign architecture students from all over Europe.