Just after leaving the hotel, I take a photo of a flyover. Upon which I hear a whistle. Upon which a heavily armed guy in uniform tells me to prepare to be interrogated. So I sit down on my plastic chair and drink some water. It’s a hot day.
After a while another uniformed man comes out of a building, looks at the pictures I have taken of the flyover and tells me I cannot photograph anything here because it is a military zone. Okay, I say, sorry then.
After crossing the street under the flyover, I find myself right in front of the Samsun sports stadium. There’s a sign that says I (HEART) SAMSUN next to the stadium, but I don’t take a photo of it because the uniformed men are just across the street. I look at the sign and at the stadium and at the military dudes. It’s all a bit confusing.
I have decided not to take the highway into the city, so I wander through industrial zones. There are factories, car dealerships and hardware stores. The sun beats down as if it was September, the cars and the trucks raise clouds of dust, and I slowly make my way west.
At some point the road goes past some corn fields with little farm houses next to them. Then there are some oil refineries. I have to cross a railroad track. And then a man comes out of a factory gate and asks me if I want to come in and have some tea. I look up: it’s a tea factory.
His name is Mashar, and he used to be a wrestling champion. Now he works for Caykur. I tell him i’ve been to their tea garden in Rize. He gives me a pack of tea as a parting present.
And then Samsun begins. To me, Samsun is a well-maintained sidewalk on the seashore. It’s sporting facilities left and right. It’s a bike lane that I can walk on for two or three hours without it ever betraying me. It’s an absence of military zones.
When I arrive at my friends’ place, we store the Caboose in the back of a tattoo shop. Then we order burgers and fries and listen to reggae.