Having rested very close to the city, I get to sleep in and have a long breakfast, then I just leisurely waltz into town.
At least that’s the idea.
In reality I squeeze my way through insanely tight traffic and try not to get hurt. The Caboose hates it, while I’m trying to think of something good for lunch.
I end up having cig köfte, a wrap that traditionally involves raw meat but is nowadays usually made without meat in order to cut costs. I have my vegetarian wrap in a dead end somewhere in an artisan district, with the sounds of woodworking businesses and welding shops and little tea places coming from all directions.
Hamdi appears. He owns a carpentry, and over a few cups of tea he shows me his workshop and pictures of some of the woodworking projects he’s done. It’s tasteful stuff, nothing too flashy. I like it. Many of Hamdi’s friends live in Germany now, he says, and he wears a faint smile that could be either happy or sad, or both.
It’s only when I’ve already walked past a few more welding shops that I finally think of the obvious.
Mustafa and his brother run the workshop EFDERUN ART where they do all kinds of stuff with wood and metal. They take a look at the Caboose and nod. I will find out later that they won’t accept any money for their help. First we sand down the handle bars of the Caboose, then they spray a new coat of paint on them. They add some additional hooks on the side and fix some of the weldings.
During a break we talk about Mustafa’s motorcycle travels, and they ask me who it was who built the Caboose. I tell them of Master Wang in Zhangye and of Zafar the Great in Tashkent. I have no way of contacting Master Wang, but when I send Zafar a picture on Telegram, I get a laughing voice message back. “Dude, where are you,” he asks me. Turkey, I answer, and then it hits me.
The Caboose has really made it all the way to Turkey.