It’s dark, 10pm and the hotelier panics at my arrival …

So here I am: in a shabby police station to register my presence in Idgir, eastern Turkey near the Iranian border, and these two brutish cops – grim like snagged fish. Staring at me, as one of them looks over my passport.

Glancing up at his colleague, he shows the other cop my photo.

They talk. Then come questions. Nationality? Name? Age? Purpose of visit? Occupation?

As one writes my responses into their register suddenly the other officer interrupts: “You are hippie or heavy metal?”

What?! I have long hair, leather jacket, flower-embroidered shirt, cut-off jeans, Doc Marten boots, but judging by the way he glares, he disapproves, that they both disapprove of the way I look. I answer hastily, joking but polite: “Neither, I’m a psychedelic groover.”

The term throws them. (I even surprise myself with such a ridiculous response; where did that come from?)

But as it happens the answer renews their interest. “What is this?” He pauses. “Psssychee-dell-it?”

I invent a definition – avoiding drug and freak connotations.

Satisfied, he returns my passport and replies “Okay, it’s good you not hippie!”

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