Sunday, 19 September 2010
Monday 6 September. Beograd-Zagreb. 4 hours. 6 cars. 3 pervs.
Yesterday I was talking to my guy housemate who is a hitchhiker himself. I told him about my plans to hitchhike to Zagreb. He was like, yeah cool, go for it, it’s easy to hitch in the Balkans. Then I speak to my girl housemate who was like, NO DON’T DO IT, it’s dangerous, there are so many creeps out there. Hmm…who do I listen to? I am torn, but go to bed thinking I will know what to do in the morning. This morning I wake up. Late. I remember my guy housemate telling me that you should start early when hitching. So, I was like, well, I guess the train it is then. I get ready and go to the station and ask for a one way ticket to Zagreb. With student discount. 33 freaking Euros! I’m like, no way I’m paying that! It was 10.30. So, at this point I was like, should I go for it or not? Will I dare to go out there. Alone. A girl. Hitching for the first time? I was like, f* it, I’m gonna try. It takes me another two buses and 1,5 hour later I arrive at my hh point. Well, actually I got off one stop too late. In stead of getting off at the highway, I end up in the middle of the next village. To get back to the highway, I stick my thumb out for the first time that day (for the first time in my life for that matter). A car stops almost immediately. An old man. I get in. Of course he spoke no English. And I still don’t speak much Serbian. But with the little I know, we have some small talk, before I know it we’re back at the highway (it was only a 1 minute ride). Wow, that wasn’t too bad. That went quite well actually. So, I’m pumped up for the next ride. I stick my thumb out and first car stops. A red car. Another old man. And again no English. He says he can take me to the toll station. I get in. we have some chit chat. Then he starts to look and get real excited telling me how he’s never met an Asian in his life. Let alone sit so close to one. In fact, the dude is so excited, he starts making me some ludicrous offers. Asking me for my hourly rate and shit. I’m like, WTF? I pretend I don’t understand him and try to direct his hands back on the wheel and eyes back on the road. But this creep doesn’t give up. No he pulls the car over to SHOW me what he means. I’m like f* it, I’m getting outta here. So there I was in the middle of the highway, toll station still a few kilometers away. Do I go back to Beograd? Or do I continue? I mean I’m pretty shaken up by all this. But I’m like I’m not letting this weirdo ruin this for me. So I stick my thumb out again. Car number 3 stops almost instantly, but about 100 meters away. I walk towards it. An old man gets out, leans against the car. He asks: so, do you want to work for me? I’m like, no not again. Why am I getting all these sickos? I don’t even stop and walk on. Thumb out. Car 4 stops. It has a Ljubljana license plate. Yeah, I think, this dude will go far, passing Zagreb probably. And yes. He says he will go to Zagreb. I get in. Again old man. No English. But he seems decent enough. We talk some. We stop at a gas station to get some gas and he buys me a juice. We continue. We talk some more. But then I’m pretty much talked out. I mean with my limited Serbian, I can only talk that much. So an awkward silence follows. And then Mr. Decent turns into my 3rd freak for the day. Getting all touchy feely and wanting more than just my sweet smile. No, this dude wants company. I’m like NE DIRAJ ME. NE JE NE. But this a*hole apparantly forgot all his Serbian. He is quite persistent. Then I get my phone out. Pretending to dial the cops and talk on the phone (you have to know that I don’t even know the number for the cops. Let alone where I was at that point. So it wouldn’t have made much of a difference if I knew either of the above). Anyways, this pretending to be on the phone keeps him quiet. And his hands to himself. For the next half an hour or so I keep ‘talking’ on the phone. Then he slows down. He goes to the exit, I’m like, now he’s either gonna take me into the bushes and kill me there and then, or he’s gonna kick me out. Clearly it was the latter, else I wouldn’t be sitting here telling you this story. He’s like, I’m not longer going to Zagreb, since you don’t want ‘to put out’. I’m like f* you, I can’t wait to get out of this car. So there I was halfway to Zagreb in the most abandoned of gas stations. But I didn’t care at that point if and how I was going to make it to Zagreb. I was too shocked. Come on’ 3 out of 4 cars were total pervs. The kind of people my lovely girl housemate warned me about. So, I take a few minutes to myself and freshen up. I get out of the toilet and I see there’s a car parked in front. An older couple. I ask where they’re headed. They say they will pass Zagreb. I’m like, can I please get a ride. They’re like, no, we have no space. I look at the backseat and there’s indeed a huge suitcase there. But I also see some space beside it. I’m like, I don’t care, I can squeeze my bit larger than average size ass in there. They’re still like, no, no space. Then I start to look desperate with puppy eyes and all (and I was really quite desperate at this point, knowing that not many cars stopped there) and start to beg to the lady. She starts to feel sorry for me. She looks at her husband with questioning eyes. Then they say yes, jump in! Yeah! This puppy eyes thing works! The next two hours were totally awesome and comfortable. We talked some. And before I knew it, we were at the exit for Zagreb. I get off. And thumb out. 6th car stops immediately. 2 guys. Thirties. Bold. Wearing sunglasses (and it wasn’t sunny in Zagreb ). Black leather jackets and pants. They ask if I’m alone. I’m like, do you see anyone standing beside me/hiding in the bushes? They’re like, if you’re alone, then get in. I’m like, should I..? I was like, f* it, I mean after those 3 creeps this morning, these guys can’t be all that bad. A few minutes into the ride, I’m starting to think I might be wrong, as they take a sharp left turn. “I just need to drop my friend here off at this warehouse, cause his car is parked here”, says the driver. I’m like, OK… Then we return to the main road. A few minutes later he takes another sharp turn to the right. He’s like, “actually I have to drop this car we’re driving in off, cause it’s a company car. But no worries, we’ll go to my car and I’ll drop you off in the center.” I’m like, OK…So we walk to his car and I’m like, I have a choice now. I can thank him for the ride and just leave. Or I can walk with him to his car and get in. As we approach his car, I look at his backseat. There’s a baby seat. I’m like, this dude has a kid. He can’t be all that bad. And he wasn’t. He was totally cool. Spoke English and delivered me in one piece at Zagreb’s main square. There, I sit down. And for the next half an hour or so all I do is just sit. Breathe. Look at the sky. The people. And basically just appreciating being here. Being alive. Having made it to Zagreb. Despite the many rides and a perv or two/three, I managed to get here quite quickly. It only took me a bit over 4 hours. Not bad at all for a first timer. But I say to myself: I’ll never hh again ;)