Journey out

Sat 26 Jun 1993
Adam Cooper

Rant #1 Adam's trip here

OR - why do I get psychopath criminals on long hitch hikes in foreign countries.

Left Durham 8 am 24/6 & had merry time hitching to Dover via a turkey processing factory, getting there in 12 hours. 10pm ferry to Ostend as better place to find hitch out of, same price as Calais & only 4 hrs. Thumb out in the port area and "ee-gads" in 5 minutes someone stopped & they were going to Bulgaria via Saltzburg - my lucky number had come up. Except he was a complete psychopath, whose convoluted story unfolded for the next 13 hours of living, waking nightmare. First he wanted money for petrol - OK I thought, a good lift - so what. Apparently he had been radiation sick for 10 days after Chernobyl & I think it must have done him in. Things seemed just a bit odd until 9.30 am, the only things of note being the story of how he spotted the croupier cheating at a casino & 1) got £1000 off the casino to keep it quiet 2) got £2000 off the victim to say how he was being cheated - this led to a private eye & some sugar in a petrol tank - sounded rather undergroundish. It seems this was not unconnected with my driver's flat being cleared out & £2500 being stolen - he claimed he knew who & would kill him. Now I believe the threat. Anyway, 9.30 he stops for a massage & a prostitute, despite claiming to not have enough money for petrol to Bulgaria. 20 minutes after starting again & we were drifting towards the crash barrier at 85 mph (in a 1.2 Lada!) & it seemed appropriate to shake his arm to waken him. So we pulled over for a rest. Next we ran out of petrol in the middle of sodding nowhere, so off I tramped for 1 hour along the hard shoulder until the maniac reappeared, having obtained some petrol through a doctor who had stopped. Now he had said he had been a champion rallye driver for Bulgaria & as time went on it became clear he drove like a C++T. 4 wheel slide into a slip road. Overtaking on the hard shoulder just as it was about to run out, doing the same with inches of space either side - at 80 mph. Slotting into gaps 1.01 car length in size. He would probably have given Chris Sharman (in his driving madness heyday) white knuckles. All this pissed the Germans off a lot & they gestured & horned a bit. His response was to pull out the craft knife, which I had earlier sabotaged in case he used it to rob me, and to pick up a stone off the floor. The culmination of much high speed knobbing about to get in front of one driver who had expressed his displeasure was the propulsion of said stone at the other car. The result was a broken front screen & he (the other car) went into a tree. Clearly if this guy wanted to "do me in" he would.

Eventually we stopped in & on the wrong side of Munich as he wanted to sleep & I escaped, gibbering, never having been so scared for so long. Had to walk through Munich, & dossed for the night in a park. Saturday was shit - it rained all day, all lifts were short and it took 11 hours to get to Hilde's. It is well worth walking from Bad Reichenhall to the border for a lift & not hitching on Sat as all cars _full_. All in all he demanded £40 and I lost a few weeks from my life so a) hitching can be dangerous to your health b) hitching is not as cheap as staying at home, c) I hope I get a lift from a caver going home - hint !


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