I changed my mind. Ramazan is not as cool as it appears after 7:30 in the evening. It sucks to stay hungry all day. The ice-cream store where I had purchased my ice-cream yesterday was closed, and I hoped that it was not because of my yesterday’s behavior. After some futile attempts to find some food, I went to the “otopark” to meet Cenghiz and arrange my departure. Cenghiz was in his booth. He opened Google Translator.
“How do you like Turkey?”
“Nice country to ride a motorcycle, I am definitely coming back, maybe with friends!”
“With Allah’s will!”
“Don’t you wanna visit Armenia?”
He hesitated for a minute.
“If your motorcycle crashes in Erzurum, I help you. Mahmet helps you. All good people will help you. God created us all with love and to love. I do this not for you but for God. If I come to Armenia and crash, I don’t know what will happen to me.”
I wanted to say that it would not be a problem, but somehow remained silent. I knew I would help any motorcyclist in trouble. Biker’s code. He waited for an answer, then sighed and gave me his “tesbih”. “Hediye!” — gift!
Then we heard Mahmet’s motorcycle outside. I went out to speak with Mahmet, and Cenghiz disappeared with his affairs. Mahmet turned out to be an Enduro enthusiast. We talked about BMW R1200GS, BMW F800 and F650, KTM and Varadero, and agreed that sportbikes suck butt.
“Istanbul is big, there is no way you will not find your part there for the price that you want. Istanbul is great!”
“I hope you are right, Mahmet!.. And I am kinda hungry now”
“Aaa yes, in Erzurum very traditional! No yemek in Ramazan! But in Istanbul, you can eat, everyone can eat when they want!”
“Police in Istanbul ride BMW R1200GSes,” he sighed. “Here in Erzurum only Honda CBF.”
“Why don’t you go to Istanbul, Mahmet?”
“4 more years here and then I can!” he sounded like he really craved that. “All Police wish to be in Istanbul. Only the best can…”
Another policeman joined our conversation.
“Where are you from?”
“Ermeni,” said Mahmet before I could
“Aaa… What motorcycles do the police ride in Ermenistan?”
“They don’t ride motorcycles…”
“I don’t know, they probably don’t know how to ride motorcycles or don’t really like motorcycles”
“Which police do you think is better?”
“I don’t know”
“But we ride motorcycles. We like motorcycles!” he laughed
I smiled. “That gives you the edge! But the drivers are much better in Armenia!”
“Oh yes, traffic in Turkey bad, very bad, huh!”
“Lets go now, so that we aren’t late again”
We went to the bus terminal with Cenghis and Mahmet, put the motorcycle in the bus’s luggage compartment, and I left to Istanbul.
At that point I felt like I knew exactly how to build a great Police service. Take charismatic decent-looking men and women with nice manners. Teach them English. Never forgive impoliteness. Make them work out. Demand that they consistently go out of their ways to help others. Ensure that they believe they are serving a good cause. Serving “the light”. Even if that means they are brainwashed. There is no way people will not trust them then. There is absolutely no way you will not trust a person who rides your motorcycle with a broken throttle grip to a terminal so fast, endangering his life, just so that you don’t miss your bus.
How do you find people like this?
I have no idea.