So there we were, up at the crack of dawn driving one of Ahmed’s brothers to Antalya in a hire car which he rented from a “friend”. Disaster struck by the time we got to Aydin, as Ahmed was pulled over by the Turkish police for speeding. For some reason unknown to us the required documentation was not in the vehicle, so accompanied by one of the policemen, we were escorted back to the “police station”. I offered him my seat in the front of the car but he politely declined and sat next to Ahmed’s brother in the rear. Ahmed verbally harassed the policeman for the duration of the journey, and I feared that this would not be helping our cause. I was fairly worried at this stage, purely because I knew I wouldn’t look good in an orange boiler suit and neither did I think I would like prison food.
The “police station” was little more than a hut in a scrap yard and I wondered if we had been brought there for a little rubber hose action on account of Ahmed’s behaviour. The policeman gestured for us to follow him into the hut where there were a couple more of his colleagues sat in the makeshift office. A heated exchange took place between Ahmed, his brother and the police, resulting in a hurried phone call to the friend to ask him to bring the documentation to the police station sharpish. I pondered whether I would be waving goodbye to my man and walking the 63 miles back to Altinkum, leaving him alone to sing the Folsom Prison Blues or the Turkish equivalent.
Ahmed and his brother stepped outside the hut for a smoke and I sat quietly in the corner until one of the policemen told me in near perfect English that he had a brother living in Liverpool and did I know him? At first I wondered if this was part of his “good cop” routine. I needn’t have worried though, they were all charming and genuinely intrigued by all things British and as in the case of many of their fellow countrymen, grown up thinking that the UK was Shangri-La. I was offered çay; funnily enough my beloved wasn’t extended the same invitation. Despite the heat and flies we spent a pleasant few hours sharing each other’s phone pictures, admiring one another’s families and homes. Ahmed was truly unimpressed particularly when I had a couple of pictures taken of me and my new-found friends for the folks back home. What can I say; I just can’t resist a man in uniform!
Ahmed’s friend eventually rocked up several hours later with the necessary documents. Ahmed was issued with a speeding ticket and we all jumped back in the car to continue onto Antalya. It occurred to me that the afternoon had played out a bit like a cheesy Country & Western song so we left with me humming Willie Nelson’s “On The Road Again”, as I waved my goodbyes and exchanged email addresses with my new buddies.