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Monday, August 17, 2009

Turkish Delight

Elvis with Turkish PolicemanEverybody has a “bucket list”, that is a list of things to do before you die. Well... I have a list so long it would take two rolls of toilet paper to list it. There are minor things like, celebrate New Years Eve in Rome, which I have done, to major events like watch the birth of your first born, which I have also done (and I wasn't hung over afterwards). Today I can check off two more:

1.Ride a motorcycle to Istanbul, and
2.Ride a motorcycle to Asia.

I have gone years without being able to even check a single item off my list, yet this year I'm about to have a bumper crop.

My new muffler is making my bike growl. It's really sexy! Plus, I think I'm actually moving faster. This new high performance muffler was expensive, but I like it! The road out of Istanbul is great. I'm hightailing it to Bulgaria and I'm not going to waste anytime. I have been humbled by my midnight run into Istanbul and I know I'm riding on borrowed time. I need to make hay while the sun shines and get some kilometers behind me. The road is nice and new and I don't mind paying the toll to have some smooth asphalt underneath me.

Of course the smoothness of the ride makes me a little complacent so I decide to take some video as I ride. I pull over and set up the camera. With the camera in one hand I cruise down the Turkish highway taking video from as many angle as I can. That is until I see the red and blue lights flashing behind me, Is that a siren?

Damn it. I'm being pulled over... and for the first time.

The police get out of their car and approach. There's two of them and I don't know what to expect.

“Could we see your papers please?”

I hand over my international driver's license.

“Are you OK? Do you require any help?”, the older officer asks.

I'm not sure how to answer this question. Is this a trick?

“What ummm.. what's the word? Model of motorsicklet is this?”, the younger officer asks.

“It's a 1981 Yamaha XJ650 Maxim I reply.”

He gives me a puzzled look.

I see the recognition in his eyes so I elaborate, “It's a fully custom cafe racer that I built from scratch from parts I was given.”

“Ahhh!” It all made sense to him.

The rest of the conversation was about how much they liked, no loved, my bike and the reason they pulled me over was so that they could get a closer look. Talk about flattery. I was so worried being pulled over in Turkey and yet again I'm inspired by the motivations and kindness of my fellow man.
Elvis in Turkey
They were more than happy to take a couple of pictures with my bike and the one officer gave me his email address so I could send him the pictures. Turned on my video camera and they gave me a light show and a wave as they pulled away.

I wonder if the police in Canada would treat foreign bikers as nicely?

That question was hypothetical... I know the answer.

Turkish Delight (Picture)

Elvis with Turkish Policeman