Friday 1 October. Struga - Skopje. 5 hours. 3 cars.
I say goodbye to A. and walk to my HH spot. There, an old man walks up to me. Asks me where I'm going. I say Skop...Before he let's me finish, he asks for sex. Come on. Give me a break. But this freak doesn't want to leave me alone. The thing is I don't want to leave this spot, since it's a great HH spot. But this guy is blocking the path. He clearly isn't planning on going anywhere either. So, I get on the first car that stops, which takes me to Ohrid. Not really my way, but anything to get away from this creep.
The nice couple drops me off at the exit to Ohrid and I walk towards the road to Skopje. I stick my thumb out and first car stops. Two men. Going to Kicevo. Hey, that's my way. So I get on. They don't speak English though. But the driver calls a friend of his and gives the phone to me. Nacko, the guy on the phone, assures me that the guys are good people and that it's safe to get in their car. That I don't have to worry blabla...I tell him I already got on the car.
Silence on the other side of the line.
Oh, he says.
I guess he didn't expect that.
He tells me he wants to meet me in Kicevo. I tell him, I don't have much time since I've got to get to Skopje. He tells me to stay in the car with these two guys and just meet him in Kicevo. So pushy. Of course I stay in the car. So we get to Kicevo. Sit at some bar and we wait for Nacko to show up. Then he appears. First thing he says is: "I have to tell you that you are really brave". Uhm. I thought you said your friends are good people. So what's the big deal? But he is like there are so many bad people out there. Yeah, I know. Why do people keep reminding me of that? It’s not helping me at this point, you know. I still have to make my way to Skopje. And all the way to Belgrade. So stop saying these things and just let me be.
Anyways, we talk some. Actually I talk. Cause this Nacko guy is firing all kinds of questions at me. I know we don’t have much time, but there’s no need to interview me like I'm applying for some competitive job, y'know. But I like Nacko. His English is excellent (studies English Literature by the way). And he tells me his two friends are actually driving to Slovenia the next day. And if I want, I can catch a ride with them to Belgrade…Hmm…sounds like a pretty good deal. That means I don’t have to hitch. No hitching means less chance of running into more creeps. I know these guys already and they seem to be decent. So, he tells me that if I want to get that ride, to be at Continental Hotel at 4 pm the next day. They drop me off at a good HH spot and all get out of the car to wave me off. Ahh…they are really sweet. Good people.
At this time it’s late afternoon and I’m getting a little worried, since there isn’t that much traffic on that road and I still have a good few hours to go. But the second car stops. Small red car with two men. They are going to Skopje. Yippie. I get in. I meet Murat and his buddy, whose name I didn’t catch. They are army officers. Based in Ohrid and heading home for the weekend. Murat speaks fluent German (he lived there for a few years) Before that he was in Croatia for one year. And now he’s been working in Ohrid for the past 5 years. Before I get out of the car, he gives me his number. If I ever come back to Ohrid, he says, he can show me around all the nice places in and around the lake. I thank him.
WOW, I’m blown away by the generosity I experienced today. People were so incredibly considerate. Nice. Decent. Normal. That's so refreshing for a change. People really seemed to want to help me. And not want anything back in return. Today was a good day. And I even scored myself a ride back to Beograd the next day. Things don’t get much better than this. I'm loving life.