From Spain to France… I did little visiting of Madrid (which I had previously seen last year, in an organized trip not much like my own) and rather had a nice 12 hour sleep instead. The next day I decided to take a train to Paris, since I was up to 100 EURO from my colorful anonymous donor.
I left in a rush, while checking for the 19:00 train, which was impossible to board, as it was completely booked. I picked the 16:10 instead, to Hendaye (right on the Spanish-French border). This is where the shit started hitting every possible fan. I could say I saw UK, went to sleep in Spain and woke up up in France, as a description of the last 2 days, which is kind of a big achievement, considering they line-cross the whole Western European coast and not in the order I mentioned them.
I had a 30 EURO pitch from the guys in Madrid, to my 20 cash I still had from London, so I only bought a ticket to the border, French side, all decided in a few dozens of minutes prior to the dead-line, with no Western Union in sight and imagining I’ll find one of their offices half way to Paris. People have told me before I have a big imagination.
I arrived in Hendaye, France, at 22:00, just to discover they are no friends with W.U. and also that all trains until close to the noon are fully booked. So this brought me the second night outside since I left, with severe flash-backs from Bulgaria.
Tesse and Sandrine (who both had booked tickets) offered to donate their left 11 EUROS, to keep me company in the night, since it was the first time that I had only 60 cents in coins and no chance to any close money source (although I had it in theory).
And here’s where I had the smart idea to try hitchhiking across France. At night time. I’m sure you’re beginning to guess how well that went.
I was driven 15 km away from the high-way, out of food, 1 in the morning when I caught a ride aaall the way outside the city I was in. Almost enough to get me to the highway, but perfectly set in the middle of nowhere. So that was a good waste of two hours.
Luckily, I got a ride back into town soon, so you can learn now that mostly everyone stops to pick you up in France, as long as it’s early morning and you look really creepy. The downside to all of this is that everybody drives a maximum route of 10 km in a row. So with cars every hour, I would’ve been able to reach the French Capital step by step until first snow.
That little trip in and out costed me my map, which I lost somewhere on the way. And I was back at the train station, just in time for it’s closing up to 5 in the morning.
So I thought there’s no better time for a nice little walk back to Spain, across the border and into the first city, Irun, to locate a W.U. office.
10 km of-lost-walking-in-the-city-later I found the office, obviously locked and sealed. There was the chance that someone could book a train from Paris in the morning, so I chose to practice my worse case scenario march, in case that doesn’t work, by walking back to the train station in time for it to open and get my info, so that most likely I’m able to jogg my way back and forth between now my only two points of reference in the whole continent, the Western Union office for the cash (yes, second time), and the station for the ticket (yes, 3rd time). A cute total of 50 km nocturnal hungry-tired race, all together.
In the morning, after a freezing nap, I barely managed to pull out the 100 EURO, as my donor didn’t know his own name when he sent it. I got back to the station just in time to miss the by-that-time-all-booked 10:26 train, but dead on to catch the polite French welcome, in the form of a fun raid organized by the nice undercover officers of Police Nationale Francais (yes, P.A.F.!). Although the dozen assault officers in the van were kinda blowing their cover all the way from Spain. Naturally, I wasn’t allowed to film or take photos as we all got ID-ed. I don’t know who they were looking for, but it must’ve been important, ’cause it got our train detailed to about half an hour. All I know they didn’t personally ask me about Senor Brit…
People back home have been so far teasing me with “So can you stand your own stink?” or “Do you get to find enough time for showering during your trip?” type of questions. Which I have so far pretty much been ignoring, since I’m proud to say I’ve been managing admirably.
Until now. It has become clear that I now smell more that any person I have ever had the chance to smell before in my life (including the bum next to my work place – oh, yeah, some of you guys know what I’m talking about). If I die along the way, it’s most likely gonna be because of this, so either a natural hygiene death, voluntary suicide or murder by someone that can’t get far enough. Because even if I start decomposing, I’m gonna start smelling better than now. Actually, if people decide to have an honor march for me, after I’m gone, trying to take my exact trail, there’s gonna be a very clear invisible but quite odorous map “drawn” behind me for them.
And since we’re talking about me dying…
There’s this national TV station in Romania, for those of you that don’t know, it’s called ProTV. And their news is very tabloid-ish and mostly horrific in that way. They invented this sort of bulletin format, we call it 5 o’clock news. It’s pretty popular amongst morons of all nations, since it was imported to other countries as well, as a model. It basically consists in airing the most disgusting, undignified, not at all informative just plain shitty stories about people in villages cutting each other’s faces off with axes, celebrities macabre car accidents and so on, all prepared in advance and each with it’s own special news-commercial that is aired all day before 5 o’clock, announcing the utter stupidity to come.
So I figured my story would only make a perfect case and also get into mainstream media with the help of 5 o’clock news… if I died. Otherwise, they’d probably not mind it, but if I’m very lucky and get run over either by 5 to 10 trucks or boiled and if possible eaten by a family of gay priests… this whole thing would surely get some ProTV attention that I so much lack and want. Not.
In this perspective, I decided to try and make my own generic for my death. I give them full disclosure and exclusivity, and they can build the actual story how they want after I’m gone. But if something may happen to me, please note it’s a dying man’s wish to put MY generic for it in the day preceding it. So here it is, in the first part of my 12th video-log episode (plus footage of the road to, in and from Madrid).
Notes: If you ever get stuck with no shelter or possibilities for one (provided it’s not freezing outside), it’s safer to get stuck outside a city, rather then inside one.
Within a city there’s gonna be no one to accept you, especially if it’s late, but plenty expecting a chance to mug somebody. Whereas on the highway or fields, there’s just no one. Usually criminals don’t wait in the middle of nowhere, hoping somebody with stroll along on foot. Also, Police can protect you better (in my opinion), since there’s a more strict check and patrol of big traffic lanes (plus emergency calls) and in cities where vigilance is lower, as it’s a lot of busy and diverse ground to cover for an officer.
Spanish people do not speak English. Not one of them. Very few speak something not quite Spanish and sort of resembling English.
Missed thing of the day: Walking around somewhere without everything I own packed on my back.
Since today is Romanian media’s darling Ciutacu’s birthday and my phone bill will get me murdered upon arriving home..