Hitchhiking to France
Well, it was all very uneventful to be honest and not terrifying in the least. The train from Barcelona to Nice is extremely expensive and long and I found a Czech couple who currently resided in Nice but were on a weekend holiday in Barcelona and I asked them for a ride.
Petr was tall and blue eyed and smiley. He was nice enough, although not very interesting, and we chatted here and there along the way. His girlfriend, Saakar (or something of the sort - surely spelled with dozens of symbols dancing off and about each letter like brail) was not, by any means, friendly; nor was she happy that I was coming along. She did not speak one word to me the entire six hour ride. She did not speak one word to anyone. She never turned around. Never looked at me once. I did manage to get a few quiet giggles out of her (that I thought I could make out from the back of her head below Petr's laughing, but I could be imagining that), throwing around some American digs and banter. But it was brief and over in no time.
I couldn't help but contemplating this odd relationship amidst the silent hours. They didn't talk, or touch, or laugh, or play. They didn't do anything at all. No singing or story telling on this road trip. There wasn't an ounce of passion or companionship between them as far as I could see.
Fifteen minutes into the journey, I realize I have to go to the bathroom but I am too afraid to ask, not knowing if this stranger is the furious type when he has to stop for a passenger or the acomodating type. An hour in, Petr stops at the gas station and I go to the bathroom and we share a cup of coffee and his girl friend remains stoic in the passenger seat. Three hours in, I am utterly starving.
"So, um, do you guys eat?" I ask casually.
"Yes, we do in fact eat," Petr laughs and stops off at the next exit.
I'm begining to think that Sakkar is a robot and she doesn't need fuel or emotion to function, but she gets out of the car and eats with us, still without a word. It's all very strange and uncomfortable and I'm becoming increasingly disappointed because I was hoping to get a good story out of the experience and they aren't giving me much to work with.
We finally get to Nice and Petr agrees to drop me off at my hostel seeing that it is now dark. I remember that he mentioned earlier that they live at the top of the mountain above the city. As we start climbing upwards, wrapping around the dark, steep roadways, I have this momentary (hopefully irrational) fear that they are, indeed, going to take me back to their home, slay me, and eat my remains. But they don't.
The drop me at the hostel which is rustic and set in a garden half way up the mountain. It is full of obnoxious American and British young girls, a Muslim bent over on the floor saying prayers next to my bed, and three very old, very big women who apparently decided it was now or never to travel. I don't meet anyone here because I don't care to. I'm leaving in the morning and have no energy for hostel banter after the past month of it. I walk down the extremely dark, steep abandoned hill to town for a bank machine because they don't take credit cards, sit in the corner of the bar with a bottle of wine and my lap top open, which I'm not using but hoping will serve to ward off incomers.
An hour later, a drunk 40-something year old man with a shit hairline walks over and asks if he can sit. I shrug and he talks incessantly while I stare at my computer. He asks me to join him for the hostel's Tango dance lessons before breakfast tomorrow and that's when I look up and say, "absolutely not." He wanders away shortly after, and when the wine is gone so do I.