Thursday, May 30, 2013

The start

The start was hard and rainy. Ilona came to the rendez-vous which was still kind of unexpected. Of course I would have been really dissapointed had she not come but I saw it more as a pleasant surprise than an obvious fact.
I finished some preparations at her place and at the same time and met the roommates at the same time. Vojta, I think his name was, told me that there already is a guy who plans to demolish me should Ilona not return home in one piece.
To be completly honest I had expected such information, I just thought I would hear this from her father first.

Brno was horrible, we didn't get a single lift. We tried the direction towards Vienna in late afternoon without any luck. Ilona takes the hitchhiking art very seriously. I mean she even has a hitchhiking face. I wouldn't get that far to say it works but some late results make me doubt that it was only a coincidence.
Another difference with my cousin is that we don't split our hitchhiking time in half, she does most of the thumbing. But that may change in the days to come, when we reach the muslim countries.

We slept at the gas station in Brno in a trio of high trees, a river flowing nearby. Also, I think we were on a lawn. There is no harder psychological test for a hitchhiking pair than starting with a fail hitch. Plus Brno is Ilona's home town so, double fail. So why didn't we sleep at her place? Or at my great uncle's (also in Brno)?
You have to understand the social pressure on us. Ilona's the "lady who goes to Kamchatka" and I... well I told so many people I am going east that there is just no turning back. Don't you feel sorry for us for this pressure was voluntary. We knew it would come to such moments, to hard moments we would want to back down, to backtrack the path. And I for one do know that I want to keep going.

After our night in Brno we decided to forget that day and start over. Our first lift was to Bratislava, first change of currency... from Czech Crown to Euro... how exotic!
The guy driving us was kind of cool, he was all about alternative ways of life while working in a big company but you should not only judge people by what they do but also what they want and what they dream about. One day, it might just come true.

At Bratislava we got stuck in the rain. Did I mention the rain? I didn't mention the rain. I have to mention the rain because it's the second most common entity on our path, just after breathable air. Hitchhiking works badly in the rain. And we were in a pretty bad gas station in Bratislava. All the people were going inside the city. Some guy told us to pay him 4 euros which theoretically is our 2 day budget and he would take us to a better gas station.

From there we continued towards Budapest with three hungarian girls all pretty as a 

picture. They were really nice and one of them spoke french. We promised we'll send a postcard from Japan or somewhere exotic. I'll have to remember that.
From Budapest it all went pretty fast. We hitched a few rides until the croatian border including a romanian guy who spoke spanish and I couldn't understand a word. Thank god Ilona saved us with her portugese otherwise he would have taken us all the way to Italy through Slovenia.

My friend Petar is leaving the next day and we are still about 30 kilometers from Cakovec. The hungarian border guards spent an unecessary amout of time checking our backpacks. Petar saw our GPS beacon and wanted to drive us because he thinks that we will never survive in the wilderness of his country. Hopefully, we caught a ride which saved him the unnecessary price of the highway toll.

Petar welcomed us to his home in Cakovec. It was the kind of warm welcome you experience in the east and which makes me kind of sad when I look at our cultures at home. But I am part of these cultures so I shouldn't throw blames just to look good should I?
Petar's mom is a neurologist whatever that is but it's really fancy and his dad's an engineer who works with stuff in Sarajevo which is also cool.
We met Petar's friends who showed us around Cakovec. That's when I realized that I've aready been there. Ages ago, on a random hitchhiking trip. I regret not to have seen the underground tunnel they told me about.
I think Petar is lucky to have such good friends. Some people are blessed with good friends and I am one of them. It's an important thing.

We explored Cakovac with him and Neda, a kind girl with a melancholic face or maybe it was the rain. We were joined by his brother Fica and his artist girlfriend. When I say artist girlfriend I don't mean a normal girlfriend with a talent. I mean like a real artist who draws misunderstood stuff, wanders out of reality and back. Of course I cannot say that, I saw her for a few hours but she reminds me of that artist character in season two of Dexter. Without the killing part I dare to hope. Let's say, to put it simple, she strikes me as the popular artist cliché. And she exposes too. I mean really, in places where random people go see her work. Not just on her mothers fridge. That's cool I guess.
At least to me, I'm way more receptive to visual art than for example, music.

While Petar packed and the artistic couple went to another bar, I tried to fix my site. There was something wrong with the connection between the GPS beacon and the receptor task. We finally fixed and tested it with Petar. All is well.

The next day we drove with Petar and his parents to the airport. This was an emotional sequence, especially for his parents. Three of his friends burst into the airport to say goodbye, a guy followed by two Ninas. One of the Ninas was Nina Gojic, I must've seen her on facebook. Afterwards Petar's parents dropped us in Zagreb with additional food so we don't starve to death between now and the time we meet Ante. Who knows what can happen in Zagreb. Anyway they were really nice.

Now we're in a church, the orgue just stopped playing. If you wonder what kind of asshole I am to write my blog in a church, Ilona's opinion says that's OK and she's more of a christian than you are.