Copyright 2017 - Lecharter

Hitch hiking my way to the ER in Serbia

Too early and too hot in the morning, makes sense, since it’s August. A guy named Sloba and me are meeting for the first time ever to hitchhike together towards Belgrade, Serbia. Seems I’m taking another hitchhiking virginity, but about that kind of virginity some other time. We’re having an easy time hitchhiking. First driver actually drives 15 minutes back to pick us up.  BTW never accept a ride like that! But we’re deciding to roll with it because we are two plus the lady-driver was super excited that she could help us. Interesting lady – a ballet teacher (http://www.collegefarmtrust.co.uk/the-weather-is-strange/) and a passionate hitchhiker in her earlier years. The bad news is that afterwards we’re stuck in the middle of nowhere.

They say every cloud has it’s silver lining, which in our case, is in a shape of a truck driver. Humorous with interesting stories about life, work and all less important things. End yeah, her ex colleague was a guy that became very famous in Croatia for picking up a hitchhiking girl and killing her.

We said our goodbyes in a city Slavonski Brod at the gas station. So we are sitting here and trying not to be suspicious when police car is approaching, but turns out they had bigger problems then little hitchhikers. In that moment a truck is stooping all the way out on the road and horning. The guy is waving. My first thought is – his tire is flat. But apparently, he wants to pick us up. Why is that so interesting? Cause we were quite far from the road and I still don’t understand how he saw us and realized we were hitchhiking o.O Some good humans out there.

At the Croatian- Serbian border we are welcomed by a miles and miles of cars. We are swagging our way around the cars on our long legs with cool shades on our heads. Drivers who’ve been stuck for hours in the heat are so envy of us  :D Each time I’m crossing Serbian border I tell them I’m off to find a husband and usually they find it funny. This time they didn’t, I guess they finally realized it’s hopeless. So anyhow, after 10 minutes of waiting we hitch a van with the craziest and funniest driver ever.

He’s a construction worker from Yugoslavia – which we all know does not exist anymore but he’s a mix of like every nation around here and he lived all over, so I guess he feels the unity still :D We shared some pretty interesting life stories  – like when he was sent away from home to go to high school in Belgrade at his uncles place and he shot the door in his face. Completly alone with like 50€ he found his way around to survive. This stand up comedy routine kind of ride couldn’t finish that easily of course. So we find ourselves in some village near Belgrade in a famous local cafe „Kordun” drinking a beer (read four).

After closing “Kordun”, the logical next step is to go and close down another one. In order to make our encounter memorable, we are holding tightly while trying to catch the last bus going to Belgrade, with windows down, super load folk music busting out of the speakers while the  the car is swerving on the road. My insomnia mixed with sudden visit of aunt flow has its take on me and I fall asleep.

The plan is to get to Slobas aunt place in New Belgrade, leave his stuff and go to the center to my friends place. WAS the plan.

I’m dragging til the building in unbearable pain slowly losing my mind. We come to the place, I introduce myself and go straight to the bathroom – cause that’s so polite. Then the toilet gets introduced to my bonny ass then my mouth and they continue that circle few times. No worries, I flushed regularly. Cold sweat is breaking out on my forhead, my neck and my back. This doesn’t feel right.

My vision is blurry, pain still unbearable, can’t feel my arms & legs. I’m laying on the bathroom floor trying to find my voice to beg for help. Ambulance, pretty please. They don’t want to come. Lucky me.

Sloba is caring me in his arms half conscious while his aunt is running to the car. We’re off to the ER in central Belgrade. Not sure what happened next but I ended up in a cool bed with wheels. Fancy. They’re not in a hurry to treat me cause they think I’m just another case of alcohol / drug misuse – cause at that moment I’m in fetus position, shaking uncontrollably and with no make up looking like your worst nightmare. I see my friend Jelena coming in and I feel at ease – she’ll take care of it. But not before we make a selfie. Friends <3

Long story long

So to cut the story short finally – instead answering to my modest requirements for some painkilling shots, they kept me for 5 h. The highlight of event are 2 bottles of infusion. But I’m thinking, I’m still in a pretty good shape when  I see people around me. Broken bones, reanimation, lost heels and dignity. Why do people who can’t handle alcohol drink I will never understand.

In between searching for a toilet that is not covered in red or brown stains (if u know what I mean) and bleeding from my vein, the story luckily did come to an end.

Reception ladies are really worried for me and are happy to see that I really am fine. Great, now lets get the paper work done – 230€ bill. Cold sweat is breaking out again and I don’t feel so fine anymore.  Of course, I didn’t get travel health insurance, cause why would I need it. It’s Belgrade, it’s like a second home. Stupid.

You don’t want to know what happend next, but thanks to the creativity of ladies at the reception my bill somehow eneded up being only 70 € – the only amount of cash my friend & I had.

It’s 5 am and dawn is creeping into the city. And I’m thinking – Belgrade, thank you for a “warm” welcome. I still love you, though.

 

Hitch-hiking to Belgrade

On a very chaotic morning, after few days of chronic sleep deprivation with my butt glued to the couch and eyes to the computer screen, I’m finally off to Belgrade. My mom called to say she put some money on my account, so I’m car sharing with an Italian. I thought to myself, what a better way to spend money than for her peace of mind. That’s valid ’til the border, of course.

I’ve been to Belgrade countless times, which doesn’t mean I can’t get lost. Because if you can choose to be smart and stupid, always choose stupid. It’s good for the story. Two hours, few kilometres on foot and one ride later, I’m at the pay tolls. Quickly, I’m hopping on a truck which police helped to stop. I actually interfered in their little bribe transaction, so that might have helped. The guy was pretty ok, what wasn’t ok for my ungrateful ass was – driving 4 hours instead of 2 ’til my next pay tolls in Niš.

It’s night already

Luckily after 3 minutes a Romanian stops. English? English! Good, you translate for me. Yeah, whatever man, just drive. So that’s how we started our 5 hour journey. We talked about EU, gypsies that build a bad reputation for Romania in Europe and how all of his female high school colleges are prostitutes in Italy now. Apparently in Romania a blowjob costs 5€, while in Italy it’s 30€. Since I didn’t do the research myself, I chose to believe him.

Then he warns me about experiences in Bulgaria. Very often woman is hitchhiking alone, calls her gang who blocks the road you’re passing through and rob you. He had a similar experience. She was suspicious to him from the start, especially after she agreed to take the ride even though he changed directions. Panic started when she suggested they stop and have sex. He was afraid someone would get in the van. So they agreed on a blowjob while he’s driving. She swallowed and it was great. He finished the story.
If he wasn’t super funny in his ways, I would probably shit my clean pants while he’s telling all these crazy stories while driving through motherfucking nowhere in complete darkness. Man, I got a free ride and a free sexual education. You know, Universe is so good to us sometimes.

Until we reached the border. Where we get stuck for couple of hours dealing with paper work for the package of unknown origin. Coming from a transport family owned business, I’m a bad-ass while dealing with the customs and freight companies. I’m also trying desperately to save my skinny ass because my driver isn’t going to the Skopje city centre, which means being left in the middle of the highway.
While getting out of the freight company I realize the van is gone as all of my stuff. I’m running up and down the parking lot. Nowhere to be found. Seriously, FML – fuck my life. But finally I see him leaving, I ran up while screaming from the top of my lungs. Where that energy came from I have no idea, because at this point I’m over exhausted.

He leaves me at the exit for Skopje, at 1 a.m. Surrounded by complete darkness while swearing at myself, I put on all warm clothes I had + 3 bags and start dragging my feet to the pay tolls a mile away. Guys are running out to help, taking my bags and sitting next to me while I try to catch my breath and rest. They’ll hitch me a ride – they say. Oh, God bless <3

Widely known musician, a star of itself – Angelo from Silvi bend is my next and final ride. You so lucky Skinny! Especially when he starts kissing and caressing your hand, making you feel his leather pants while he’s checking yours to make sure you’re warm enough. You know all those benefits while driving 50km/h with a star. In my head I’m screaming – Skopje, gad demit, where are you already? After an hour, I finally see the sign – Lounge Hostel. I’m running out of the car faster than the Romanian prostitute when she sees a truck.

I finally got rid of him and I’m barely making it to first floor. Desperate and dead tired – I’m greeted with the biggest smile by Angela, a Polish volunteer. She offers tea & toast – the first thing I’ve put in my mouth since yesterday. Oh this feels like a home away from home.

Moral of the story?

Hitchhiking will take every last bit of your energy, both physical and mental. It makes you think, makes you creative in finding solutions, you lose that feeling of shame and discomfort, cause you need to survive. You need to get yourself to point B. And yes, you might shit your pants once again when you realize the only person you can rely on is yourself. But you know what happens next? Those little balls you found on the road, just got a bit bigger.

 

Once upon a time in Slovenia

Once upon a time there was a boy and a girl. He was Latino with olive skin, she was European and as pale as a ghost. He was travelling around the world, she was sitting at home wasting time.  Against all odds and destined by the magic of  internet,  he ended up under her roof.  But funny enough, those days she wasn’t sitting around wasting time, she was a busy bee. So, they didn’t spend a lot of time together, maybe few hours in total. But it was quality time filled with mutual teasing, laughter, sharing travel stories and deep debates about how he would be the best husband to her (like he claimed). She laughed a lot.

On a beautiful sunny day she took him to the bus station. They hugged tightly with awkwardness in the air, like they were supposed to kiss. But they didn’t beause this is not another romantic movie where they kiss in the rain. After all, it was sunny.

He left. Soon enough he reached out to her, constantly insisting she pays a visit across Europe. One day, destined by the magic of internet again, they spent few quality hours talking to each other, teasing and laughing. In one particular moment, she noticed a beautiful black and golden world map on his wall. She couldn’t hide her enthusiasm about it. BTW her b-day was in 2 days. A not so happy day in the calendar of her memories, so she doesn’t celebrate for years.

So oddly enough, she received a package right on her b-day. Curiously she opened it up. A scream followed after she discovered a beautiful black and golden world map. She hates surprises but, against all odds, he managed to put a smile on her face.

Soon, he reached out again, wishing to see her before planned. He had 5 days off  and a will to come wherever she wanted. They made a deal pretty fast – sLOVEnija, meeting point Ljubljana.

The bus was late but he greeted her with a big smile even though himself was waiting for hours in hot Ljubljana. Same scene again – they hugged tightly with awkwardness in the air. A sunflower in a pot peered out from a brown bag he gave to her. Cause, she adores sunflowers, especially in a flower pot.  Because you grow flowers, not cut them.

Was she giggling like a teenager? Oh yeah, she did. While walking, he revealed reasons why he liked her, reasons other guys saw as flaws. „Guess they are not all the same“ she thought.

When they finally arrived to their accommodation, she noticed a king sized bed. Shit – was reaction in her mind. Why did he invited her here, what does it all mean? They lay down to get some rest. Cause of excitement she actually couldn’t sleep the night before, with thousands of questions running through her head. Of course, she never told him that. While she was half asleep, she gently stroked her hair. Suddenly, he kissed her neck. Butterflies in her stomach woke up. And like in 50 shades of grey, he kissed her with great passion. Fucking butterflies just went completely crazy.

While walking around Ljubljana in a beautiful summer evening, they held hands, listened to street musicians, ate Chinese fast food and a big ice cream. They kissed like in the best romantic scenes. Butterflies were still flying as crazy. She laughed a lot.

But actually, she didn’t find him physically attractive at all, so those goddamn butterflies were really getting on her nerves. And she doesn’t like surprises. She didn’t wish for a reaction like that. But against all odds, miracles do happen.

Next stop – lake Bled and the best bus ride ever. She lay peacefully in his lap, each listening to their own music while now and then staring into each others eyes in silence. She was disgusted by herself and the cheesy romantic moment. Cheesy romantic room, romantic walk around the lake and a huge romantic fight that followed before bedtime.

In the morning they made love for the first time. Beause it’s always great the morning after. Riding bikes to the waterfalls, touching and kissing each other was the way they spent their day. She made him a romantic dinner with candlelight and wine.

Next on itinerary – Kranjska Gora and romantic feel of woods, fresh air and villa where they stayed. Romantic bike ride to nearby Italy and a huge fight in the middle of a parking lot. Romantic silent treatment when she finally cycled back few hours later. The bed was cold.

Smell of freshly baked pie and tea with a silent treatment still on the side was how she woke up. It was time for a group hike trip. In spite of everything, he cared about her and her health condition, made sure she drank enough water and didn’t go down hill. He was proud when she made it to the top.

She prepared a healthy lunch followed by another of his romantic scenarios. This time, under the shower. The bed was warm.

Dawn came too early as the day of goodbye. She watched his sleepy eyes while he prepared hot chocolate. Against all odds, she thought, there might be something here. Came to realize, she hasn’t felt like that for whole nine years.

Few hours later – Kranj. A strong hug. A kiss. A goodbye. She wasn’t sad, she was happy. She had hope.

Quickly communication became short and rare. Two months later, when she grew some balls after few glasses of alcohol, she sent him an e-mail wondering what had happened. Was pretty simple – he was just not that into her. Dude, WTF? How did she go from being in this crazy romantic movie to being in her own tragic comedy she didn’t have a clue. Despite everything he’d said and done, the table turned around. Suddenly, she was the one wanting something and him nothing.

She wished she could hate him,  she wished she could tell everyone what an asshole he is. But she couldn’t. All she could do was – drink a bottle of wine and hope that the memory of him would disappear as fast and easy as the wine.

P.S. The sunflower died too.

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