Friday, November 20, 2015

Aix les Bain - France

hitching in Italy
me hitching

Hitchhiking offers the most freedom for travel. Besides meeting hundreds of people that I wouldn't normally have met, I got taken to all kinds of places I never would have gone. People love to take you home to meet their families and friends. No crowded buses, no schedules, no hotel rooms to book; everything happens the day that you stick your thumb out and you never know what's going to happen.

Was I afraid of weirdos, serial killers, perverts? The idea was there and I met up with some creeps, but who you hitchhike with can also have a bearing on survival. I wasn't as willing to get into some cars but then I didn't want to argue or separate with Mary Lynne.

Did we choose where to go? We started with a destination, but it all depended on when we got a ride, where they let us off and what time. Next stop: Aix les Bains.

Claude in front of Mary Lynne
Francois, a trucker who picked us up outside Chalon, stopped at a bar on Lac du Bourget and it wasn't too long before we met a team of young soccer players, one of whom offered to put us up at his apartment around the block. Bingo, he was an innocuous sort for sure. As I was talking with him and others, Mary Lynne came up to me and said she was going up into the mountains to camp with some guys. Do I want to go? 'We're going to drink some wine and play music.' It was dark and when I looked over at the guys I couldn't see their faces. 'I'm not going, it's too late and why do you have to go to the mountains anyway? I don't think it's a good idea.' She tried to convince me to go before turning to them and, in French, said I was boring and never wanted to do anything, rolling her eyes for emphasis. Did she think I didn't understand what she was saying? I told her to do what she wanted, but I was going back to the apartment with Claude.

I slept on top of the bed, Claude was under the covers, the light from the living room illuminating the room. I found it hard to sleep what with his teeth grinding and when I rose to look at him once, blood was dribbling down his cheek on to his pillow. Yikes. I turned over and moved to the edge of the bed and I finally fell asleep. We were both snoring when suddenly the light snapped on three hours later and an hysterical Mary Lynne burst into the room followed by a tall, skinny dude with long, curly hair. 'Oh my God, you wouldn't believe what happened. This guy here just saved my life. He helped me escape.' I saw up on my elbows and yawned and squinted at both of them. Mary Lynne lit a cigarette and collapsed to the floor. 'I had to run to get away from those guys. They just wanted to get me drunk and have sex. It's a good thing you didn't come.'