The Happy Hostage

The red lights are the only things that are visible in the far darkness. Before I even realize that my backpack, camera and passport are in those disappearing lights I am running like I am being chased by wild dogs.

The bus stops. I’m slamming my hands on the sides and scream indistinctively. The steamy sound of the bus door puts me out of my misery.

The buses in Turkey have a strict schedule. At every service station, parking lot, supermarket and traffic accident the drivers find an excuse to smoke. So while I was still unzipping my pants to pee, the driver already finished his cigarette.


H. gives me a big smile. He got divorced this weekend. He went to Istanbul to sign the papers and to take the kids. He didn’t look too happy with that last part. He was married for seven years. When he found the love of his life their parents decided that it was better if they’d marry and have kids. When he was 24 H. became the father of a daughter. She is sleeping on the seat next to him. Then he had a son, who is sleeping next to me. After his son was born he got depressed, questioning everything in life: relations, religions, work, family. After two years he got an answer. And now he is back in business. His business card says: ‘general manager White Harbor, real estate, yachting, helicopter, concierging.` We are talking for 8 hours straight now. We’re having breakfast at a deserted restaurant and there is no way I am paying for it.

Where I was going? I was going to Kabak. Kabak is a place for hippies. H. knows because he has a helicopter business. There are much better places than Kabak. If I booked anything yet? No I didn’t.

‘Great, so come with me to Göçek before going to Kabak, Okay?’ he said hopefully.  


So here I am. In Göçek. At the veranda of his house. H.’s father greets me with a kiss on the cheek like he has known me for years. He tells me to sit down to listen to his life story. ‘Me no Türk’ I tell him. He continues that he doesn’t give a shit. H. tells me later that his father was a wrestler, the strongest man in the province. Could lift a truck with one hand. No joke. We leave to the village for a coffee. H. makes sure I don’t pay a single lira. Huseyin is my host and I am his hostage.


The next day he takes me to his job. Some girl from one of the villa’s needs a hair dryer. We go to three different supermarkets to look for the best choice and bring the hair dryer to the villa. Another two hours killed. And what for?

He shows me the yachts he doesn’t own. He shows me the beach that we can’t afford. He shows me the girl that makes terrible coffee and wants to marry him. Finally I meet his brother, he has a wifi company. Then we go back to the place I’ve been held a happy hostage at for over 24 hours now. We eat. We sleep. We do shopping for his kids. We go to the beach. I play with his kids while he is delivering fresh fish to one of the villa’s because one of the guests really wants fish.

The next day I leave for Kabak. I tell H.’s brother. He doesn’t understand. ‘What did we do wrong that you are leaving so soon?’ I smile, then I see tears in his eyes. I really don’t know how to explain this. This Turkish hospitality is just really new to me.

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