Friday 20 June
Hello once again dear readers. It has been a while. For one reason or another I have disinclined to continue writing, choosing instead to procrastinate with horses. And other such shady characters. As a result, I am somewhat behind in regaling my adventures, so for the next few entries, we shall wind the clocks back. Come with me on a journey through time and space, to explore stuff. And things. We start way back around June 20th, when I attempted the hitch from Moldova back to Romania. Here we begin our tale…
Chisinau was doing nothing for me. Days on end spent endlessly drunk and alone, buying bottles of vodka from the supermarket, and downing them in the pouring rain. Strange looks from locals as I walked soaking through the streets as if oblivious to the deluge. It never rains it pours.
So one morning I decide enough is enough, and if I’m going to continue in this vein then I at least need to be around friends, or make new ones. I set off with the intent to reach Bucharest.
I manage to make it unscathed to city limits, where pretty much all the traffic is heading south and at least towards the border. within minutes, I’m picked up in a pick-up, by two large Moldovans, who through broken English insist they can take me to the border. Now there’s two routes from here, both of which could go either way. These boys can drop me at the crossing via Hîncești. I decide it’s six of one and half a dozen of the other and jump in.
Ten minutes later I’m regretting it. For some reason they don’t quite appreciate that I need to get to Bucharest by tonight, and they’re stopping at every damn chance they get. They practically buy a weeks shopping as I wait in the van, then run errands, then meet a friend. Hours pass. Not only that, but when they finally manage to drop me roughly where I need to be, I’m still about 3km from the border which I can just about see in the distance. Thanks very much guys.
Still I’m in high spirits as I march towards the checkpoints. Nobody picks me up, in spite of everyone going across. Naturally they’re all still waiting as I arrive sometime after, and I take great pleasure in beaming at them as I march over with ease on foot. I get the usual third degree, as of course they’re not used to seeing such a sight, but I’m soon back in Romania with little trouble. Then it gets tricky.
I’m rueing not taking the other route. The border is dead, nobody going my way. I hike for what seems like hours in the vain hope of meeting some kind of busy crossroads, but all I find are more curious glances from locals. I’m pretty sure they’ve never seen anything like this; a sweating, pasty wee white guy with massive back packs and a sign for Bucharest, marching through tiny blink-and-you’ll-miss them villages. I long to stop and take photographs, but advertising such hardware in these parts would be asking for trouble. I power on.
A few hundred yards ahead of me and a white cruiser has pulled in. Salvation! Joy turns to dismay as two Police officers exit, donning caps in that smooth, authoritarian “we’re the establishment” kind of way. They heckle me over. I approach beaming and friendly, my outer demeanour masking inner despair.
They’re scrutinising my passport and making various calls. My heart sinks. I’m either going to be escorted back to the border, or I’ll need to make some kind of ‘contribution’. After some sign language and charades, they motion for me to get into the vehicle. The passenger continues to hold my passport. It doesn’t look good.
Then I realise they’re actually giving me a ride! They’re taking me to the next town, and dropping me on the road to Bucharest! Well I never! A hitch with the cops! The only reason he still holds my passport is because he’s fascinated in all the places I’ve been. “Ahhh Chile!” He exclaims. “Da!” I respond. “Bina vino e chicas”. To much laughter. My Span-romanian was getting me by like a dream.
As good as their word, they deposit me on the outskirts of Husi, but I’ve still a long way to go. I once again hike out of the city, miles and miles uphill. I’m dripping buckets, and not a sinner is interested. When I feel all hope is lost, a young Italian guy and his smoking hot girlfriend swing in. They drop me at the next junction on the direct road to the capital. Progress is being slowly made.
So I find myself standing just after a roundabout in the middle of nowhere. Gypsies clip past in horse and cart. Bus loads of dodgy types circle around again for a better view of me and my gear. The afternoon wears on. The sun moves across the sky. Dogs bark. Crickets chirp. I draw on a cigarette.
A smart car drifts in. A suit. A smile. Very good English. And going all the way to Bucharest for a meeting! unbelievable. After an entertaining and hospitable 300 Km, my saviour has dropped me only a few minutes from my hostel. I cannot quite believe my luck as I hug friends, repulsed by the days stench still on me. I feel like I’ve returned to one of my homes from home. And with it, comes many memories. Some I’d like to let go of more than others. Nonetheless, I’m back in Bucharest. God help me.Read More