Oops On Parade

Oh dear. Yesterday I did something that I hope I won’t regret at a future border crossing.

Whilst travelling the north coast road from Cakraz to Sinop, I approached a town called Catalzeytin and found a large queue of vehicles seemingly mid-party-mode – lots of music, dancing and loitering. It wasn’t queuing traffic, so I started to pootle past them, assuming it was a wedding. At the front of this spectacle were three motorbikes, and one of the riders beckoned me to pull over, all friendly-like. No problem.

“We are about to do a precession through the town, you should join us”, he said in very good English, after asking the stock question, “Du bist Deutsche?”

Being rather disposed to saying ‘yes’ these days, I willingly slotted in and the motorcade started almost immediately.

Something was amis. This was not a wedding. Everybody was wearing ‘MHP’ flags, tooting horns and making salutes in the air. Hmmmm. “Who are the MHP?”, I found myself asking. Then we entered the town and these flags are everywhere – more than one had a bloody big picture of some politician-looking fellow on it, seemingly looking over us.

I couldn’t help recall the Foreign and Commonwealth advice: Avoid large public gatherings and political rallies.

There was NOT a caveat saying, “unless you are in the front row of motorbikes in a motorcade and there is an escort by unmarked police vehicles”

I hope there aren’t any TV camer… Ah. There is the TV crew.

Oh dear.

Anyway it was all jolly good fun. I just needed to find out who the MHP are.

Camping in a picnic spot later that evening, I got chatting with a picnic-er who is a public prosecutor, as you do, and he was able to shed some light on it all for me, albeit not a bright light. They are the nationalist party. Whether they are like the Le Pen lot, or more like the Farage lot, I do not know. I do feel a bit odd about it all.

I wish it had been a wedding.

That was yesterday, and after riding through a storm today I am now soaking wet, so I’m drying out in a bar in Samsun – an achievement in this Muslim area. Tomorrow I shall try to fix the bike’s annoying grinding noise by sourcing new sprockets and a chain. Samsun is big – it shouldn’t be a problem.

The Turkish beer ‘Efes Pilsen’ is jolly nice.

Edit: I think this Efes Pilsen is stronger than the beers that I’m used to. I wonder how much it costs to get a taxi to take me home from here?

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