Austin-Lubbock pt 2 – The most American night of all

Where were we? Ah, I arrived to Lubbock, the city of Buddy Holly.

 

I was staying with Tyler’s friend, Schmoo; and Ben, and Socorro and… guys, I think there was somebody else in the house, or am I making that up?

There they were: Socorro, the king of the comedy; Ben, an expressive Texan millenial in the heart of gay community of Lubbock; Schmoo, a gentleman hard rocker dressed in red, white and blue jeans.

We went out with a few guys to this pub, I’ve got a free diet coke.
One of our companions was Josh, a very handsome cowboy with an absolute gay appearance. His perfect blond ponytail under a cowboy hat, his elegant vest and very shiny -clean boots; he used to say all those words, like ‘howdy’, ‘y’all’, ‘ain’t’ or ‘ma’am’, with his smooth voice. And he played the banjo. He was delicate and dramatic. Very Southern and very gay. Beautiful connection that I adored.
Me and Schmoo went out on a bicycle ride.

At some point I lost Schmoo and had my not best moment of feeling dizzy in the street, so I sat down on the kerb and rested. A homeless guy came up to me:

‘Y’all feelin’ alright?’

‘Yeah, I’m just dizzy’ I said, ‘I’ll be OK in a second.’

‘Do you want some food? I can bring you food. Maybe you’ll feel better when ya eat somethin’.’

He offered me a blanket (dude, we’re in Lubbock in August, it’s rather hot!), something to drink (that’s when I realized that I’ve taken out the glass of diet coke; I’ve got a beverage for free and then I stole the glass… ehh, not proud of that one)… He really wanted to take care of me. But as my head settled down and Schmoo appeared, we continued the ride.

We stopped at a 7 eleven, had a great laugh, did shopping and … there is was, a magazine with a fat letters printed on its cover shouting something about Elvis not being dead.

‘Do you see it too?’ I asked, ‘Isn’t it 2014?’

We laughed like crazy.

Schmoo had a dog named Alpheba. I noticed how amazing vowels and their pronaunciation were. He explained a bit to me;

‘If an “E” is followed by a consonant that is followed by a vowel, then you pronaunce it “e” as in “Egypt”. If an “E” is followed by a consonant that is followed by a consonant, then you pronaunce is “eh”, as in “Elvis”; if it wasn’t like that you’d say “Eelvise”‘

We could see all the stars that night, even though the lights were strong, we were in the city. At some point of the evening, Ben said ‘I really think that there is more sky in Texas than anywhere else in America’.

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There was a reason for me to take the above picture, yet I want you to figure it out yourself.
I know you can’t see too much but that is why I chose this copy!

Early in the morning we went to eat breakfast burritos – that amazing amazing Texan thing that pretends to be inspired with Mexican cuisine, but really is stuffed tortilla flats with whatever the fuck you can think of when you think ‘breakfast’ + hot sauce.

The boy serving us had fake eyelashes and lipstick. He was so pretty, I think Ben had a crash on him or maybe the other way round? It doesn’t matter now, the thing I was trying to say is: he was a sweetheart.

There was some story to the place, something about activity of the owner and the people they hire… But I’m not gonna lie, I don’t really remember. I should have written down more things.

That is also why I’m going to stop my story right here. I do not remember the next part. Something about taking pictures of houses, tricycling, Schmoo’s band’s rehearsal, banjo playing, more of that Texas, I’ve never gone to Buddy Holly’s museum in the end. It didn’t matter, I had my ‘most American’ night.

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Ben and Schmoo leaving me on a gas station on a road to New Mexico.

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Austin-Lubbock pt 2 – The most American night of all

Laws on hitch hiking in the USA

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the legality of hitch hiking around the USA and decided to answer them as much as I can.

I have not been to all the states.

I do not know all the laws by my heart.

But I have my sources 😉


Before you get into reading…
On everyday I make my living as a musician. It’s a hard yet amazing industry. I love what I do, even if I struggle. If you’re reading my blog or if you’re interested in who I am, please, visit my website. It would be such great help! I’ve just finished writing it on my own (I’ve never done such thing before! Also the smartphone version is not available yet, as of 23/08/2017, but I’m working on it); I want to give my site life. To show my appreciation, I’ve got a free song for you. You’ll see it on my home page 😉

>> NINA ANN MUSIC <<


 

First of all – in most states pedestrians are not allowed on INTERSTATES, therefore you cannot hitch there.

It makes sense. You don’t want to be there.

And it works just the same in Europe – you’re not allowed to walk on a highway, are you?

That doesn’t mean you can’t take interstates at all. Most of the time they were my first choice, as:

  • it is the fastest way by car,
  • you get a lot of people traveling long-distance so your chance of catching a direct lift is increased,
  • nobody takes routes

My tactics would be to stand on the shoulder of the on-ramp (highway’s entrance). Hitch wiki says:

“(…) understand that the ramps are still technically considered interstate property and are illegal for pedestrians to be on, although it is almost without exception permitted if you stand in front of the “no pedestrians” sign.”

Doing so I’ve never had any trouble. The police just passed me smiling.

*****

Hitch wiki on National Parks:

‘The only nationwide law (Code of Federal Regulations) that prohibits hitchhiking is 36 CFR 4.31 which states that hitchhiking is illegal on any property under jurisdiction of the Department of the Interior: National Park Service. This includes but is not limited to National Parks, National Scenic Byways, and National Recreation Areas.’

*****

In a lot of states it is illegal to hitch on Turnpikes. That is not the case in all the places, so please, check the Road Code of the state. I know that is the case in Maine and Oklahoma.

Again, that one makes a lot of sense – these are the roads where you’re supposed to pay for the ride.

*****

USA numbered highways and state routes are differently regulated depending on where you go.

Regarding the places of the codes where soliciting rides is mentioned – for the right interpretation of road codes you need to make sure that you adjust your definitions of terms to what the code proposes.

For example:

Louisiana, Mississippi and Nevada all agree that it is illegal to solicit rides on a highway – actually… Louisiana and Mississippi say it is illegal on a roadway.

Now.

As much as in Nevada it is legal to walk on a highway, it is only legal if you do it facing the traffic on your side, so walking to the opposite direction than the cars on your side.

Also the way it defines highway is

(NRS 484.065) ‘Highway means the entire weidth between the boundary lines of every way dedicated to a public authority when any part of the way is open to the use of the public for purpose of vehicular traffic, whether or not the public authority is maintaining the way’ [ugh]

…and you can do nothing about it. You just cannot solicit rides on the highway.

Let’s go to Louisiana now.

They may say it is illegal to solicit rides on a roadway, yet they define roadway as ‘that portion of a highway designed or ordinarily used for vehicular traffic, exclusive of the berm or shoulder’

which pretty much means you should be all fine as long as you’re on the shoulder.

And Mississippi?

Mississippi road code says that a roadway means all surface portions of the roadway between shoulder lines.

I’d say – don’t stand on the shoulder, as that may be misinterpreted by cops, yet as long as you’re on the grass, you should be fine.

*****

Some of the states that I’ve visited…

Pennsylvania – it is prohibited to hitch on Turnpikes, you can hitch from the shoulder (berm), also on-ramps.

Maryland – you can hitch from the shoulder of a highway, on-ramps. Parking lanes of highways are included in a roadway though and it is prohibited to solicit rides there.

Virginia – you can hitch from the shoulder of a highway, on-ramps too; interestingly, it is permitted to hitch on Shanendoah National Park’s theritory.

Tennessee is a star. ‘Begging is prohibited, hitch hiking or soliciting of transportation is illegal’… But then I’ve done it, a cop passed me by, slowed down, smiled, waved friendly and continued on his way. Remember, they’re conservative, don’t like hobos, so look like a human being if you want to hitch without drama there. If you have a guitar that’ll make it even easier, trust me. I don’t like generalizing but seriously, it works.

Mississippi – as above, you can hitch from the berm, grass (also at on-ramps)… whatever comes after the shoulder; I’ve actually hitched from the shoulder and had no trouble but these were periods of 5-10 minutes of wait, not too much opportunity for the police to bother me. Also no police around – rather dodgy spots in most cases…

Louisiana – hitch from the shoulder, also on-ramps.

Arkansas does not clarify whether ‘roadway’ includes the shoulder or not and they do say that soliciting rides on the roadway is illegal. Is it OK to hitch at all? God knows, it’s Arkansas…

Texas – you can hitch from the shoulder, also on-ramps. I believe it is also legal to walk on an Interstate in Texas, I can’t find proves online, yet I was told that by a cop. A cop who saved me, then gave me a lift and then organized the following lifts.

New Mexico – it’s OK to hitch from the shoulder or on-ramp. Baudelier National Monument has got it’s own laws about where you can and cannot hitch on its theritory.

Arizona – they’re my favorite;

(code 28-796) ‘Pedestrian on roadways

A. If sidewalks are provided, a pedestrian shall not walk along and on an adjacent roadway.

B. If sidewalks are not provided, a pedestrian walking along and on a highway shall walk when practicable only on the left side of the roadway or its shoulder facing traffic that may approach from the opposite direction.

C. A person shall not stand in a roadway for the purpose of soliciting a ride from the driver of a vehicle. ‘

Arizona is quite relaxed though.

Its code says that roadway does not include the shoulder; and although you can’t walk on the shoulder in the same direction as the cars, I would say you should be alright if we agree that you were not walking, just standing. It includes on-ramps.

Nevada – don’t hitch there.

New Jersey – don’t hitch there. Don’t even go there 😉

California – it’s OK to hitch from a shoulder or on-ramps.

Colorado – it’s OK to hitch from a shoulder or on-ramps although their law is very weird.

If you’re planning on going to any other state than the above, please, get to know the state’s road code. You can take a look at this great website which gathers so much information on the topic:

HITCHER

And make sure you don’t scare the Americans off. Look like somebody whom they need to save from the evil evil world of hitch hiking 😉

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Laws on hitch hiking in the USA

Austin – Lubbock pt.1 – How the Universe saved me

As a break from my 2016 hitch stories, I’ll tell you about the most cliche-American thing that has ever happened to me (and about the Universe taking care of me everywhere I go).

Before that though, I’d like to mention something that probably a lot of bloggers struggle with – the fact that a blog is very very very public (unless you want to secure it with a password, but then it all depends on your target for readers, I want a wide range of strangers to read my crazy amazing stories and therefore can not block them with a secret code). Fact: people I do and don’t know can read this. Fact: there’s my mom and potential employers among them; ergo = some stories will never be published.

Like this one. I was very close to deciding not to share it. I just thought that’s such a shame, I love this story, I love it so much – I’ll just skip parts. Oh, also I think these two stories are really one – it’s quite a long one though, so I’ll just cut it into pieces: How the Universe saved me and The most American nigh of all.

I was hitching from Austin to Lubbock. Tyler gave me a ride to Lampasas, dropped me there on a gas station and left me feeling happy about not committing to others and free flowing.Seriously, I was celebrating having these feelings and I guess that is why I was enjoying myself so much on that tour.

Here’s Tyler feeling zajebiscie:

The first car that stopped for me offered me sex for money. I said thank you and they went away. Same happened with the second car. The third one wasn’t even a car, just some cowboy coming out of the bushes and trying to convince me to just give him a blowjob, really nothing else. Oh great, that sounds so much better than the other two offers! [joke; really: joke.]

I looked at the road, said to myself: if I don’t stop anybody during that wave of cars, I’ll go to the toilet and right after a pickup truck stopped by me. The guy inside seemed weird, not scary though; as in: he was a little bit off, yet I did not feel the threat of him hurting me in any way. We chatted for two minutes and I asked if I could send his place to my mom [to Josh], as I still got a weird vibe from him. He wasn’t too happy, he agreed though. I took my time, waiting for him to react, making sure I press ‘send’ before I get into the car. I was hesitating for a little bit too long, so I decided to just shut the phone and step into the vehicle quickly.

‘Wait’ he says, ‘there’s a police car behind us’.

And indeed there was.

The cop came to us, and started asking questions about the situation. He was very obviously checking, if I wasn’t a prostitute and I didn’t take that as an insult, more as him knowing his area (‘mind you the three cowboys). In the end he asked us to present our documents, he took them away and wasn’t coming for a while.

Me and the weird guy in a cowboy hut (somebody told me in Mississippi: never trust a guy in a hut and yet I ignored – not forgot – it, as it was damn hot and I wanted to get to Lubbock sooner than later) started chatting, my feeling about him was not changing and really, just for a moment, I didn’t even care about it. I started panicking about my passport, my visa, something was taking that cop a long time, something wasn’t right.

Finally the policeman comes back, gives the guy his driver’s license back and when I want to reach for my papers, he asks me to step out of the vehicle. My heart’s beating even faster. I follow the cop to his car, he’s in front of me, very serious and silent. For a few seconds there I am panicking about getting deported. Once we’re by the car, he turns around, looks at me and asks:

‘What makes you trust that man?’

‘I don’t trust him’ I answer straight away, ‘I can’t trust him, I have just met him. And he’s weird but I don’t think he would hurt me’.

The policemen looks at me (now I see: his face says WORRIED), ‘I don’t want to tell you to do or not to do anything, but I have a piece of information I have to share with you and you will decide whether you want to go with that men or not’.

I agree, relieved it’s not about my documents.

‘That guy has spent 5 years in jail’ starts the cop and my mouth opens immediately, ‘for sexual harassment’ he continues, my jaw goes lower, ‘on a 6 years old boy’ he finishes – my chin goes even lower.

‘Fuck! I knew he was weird!’ I say in theatrical yelling sort of whisper, ‘but it’s very hot, I’m very late and I need to keep on going…’ I see in the guy’s eyes he won’t just leave me there, so I play it cool, ‘I guess I’m outside of his age or gender preference’ I joke. The cop doesn’t smile. ‘…I guess I will not go with him though, I’m a chick, I need to play it safe’.

The policemen offers to get my things, tell the guy off and then help me with my travel. After he brings my backpack and the guitar, we hit the road. He calls somebody and tells them I’m with him, going to Lubbock. He can only take me to the end of the county, as he’s on shift here, so he needs somebody else to take me further away. We talk a bit, he turns out to be actually a laid back dude.

He brought me to another policeman, who turned out to be his dad. Another great ride, he was so sweet. Then he got me another police car for another county. The last cop dropped me off on a gas station, insisted on me accepting some lunch money and gave me a Lampasas police pen which disappeared very soon. Aaargh, that would be such a cool souvenir!

That day the universe fell on my head to save me.
I was so close to making my first mistake about whom to get into a car with.
You may say  I have made that mistake, I was already in the vehicle. Yes, and no. I took his plates, I was watching his every move, I knew he had an off vibe and I had my hand on the knife for all the time that I was in his car.
Also maybe I wasn’t wrong – maybe he would not hurt me. He didn’t seem as if he’d wanted to. Again: I might have just not be in his type – a girl, and such an old one… Come on, it is a little bit funny!

Anyway. Thank you, Universe.

From there I’ve got a direct ride to Lubbock, where I was staying with Tyler’s friend Schmoo). My last lift was a guy whose name I’ve already forgotten (it’s not my most popular story), he was going to visit his son in College in Colorado. He told me about a 19 years old boy called Jacob Lavaro, a friend of his son’s. Lavaro used to bake hash brownies for him and his friends until one April day that the cops got him and now they’re pressing charges against him for the entire weight of brownies (400 instead of just weed’s worth. He was facing 10 years to lifetime in jail. Apparently a nice guy, good student, polite kid with a lot of friends. Not a dealer, just a user; facing mandatory minimum of 10 years for really just getting stoned with buddies; by eating cake. That’s the least gangsta use of drugs anybody has ever heard of and yet they were treating him like a criminal.

I followed the story. Attorney Mark Brunner said ‘As prosecutors we are bound by what the law is, not what the law should be or could be.’ and the law says that adulterants and diluents count as the drug mixture; luckily Brunner changed his mind about that later on and dropped the charges for a first-degree felony; Lavaro was being charged with two lesser felonies: marijuana buds + hash oil (the latest much more serious in Texas).

In the end it wasn’t that bad. In October Jacob pleaded guilty to second-degree felony in exchange for 7 years of probation.

How can one get into so much trouble for something which is a fully legal business in other parts of the same country? Alaska, Oregon, Colorado, Washington, D.C. Look at Texas! Houston and Dallas decriminalized possession of weed.

Oh, have I just fit in a third story here? Yes, I have. If you’ve made it that far, you deserve a prize. Even if you just scrolled it and read these words here – the prize’s yours. Watch this:

 

 

Austin – Lubbock pt.1 – How the Universe saved me

Nice

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I went to Nice on the 4th of August – three weeks after the terrorist attack on their promenade. That trucker had just driven for two kilometers (1.3 miles) across the crowd of people, leaving the boulevard covered with bodies.

When I arrived after my long trip through Monaco, I was hit by the fact that you couldn’t tell Nice had just been through Europe’s Katrina – I found Nice surprisingly similar to New Orleans, yet more discrete [yeah, I don’t know either, is it being French or is it being Nicean?]. In both of these cities you can hear a lot of music and see people living their lives fully, trying to make it up for the catastrophe and create a new order, based on joy and happiness. I’m not saying it works. I’m saying there are people trying to do something good and there are people, who want to be cool. Yes, there’s crime, there’s poverty, there’s desperation. Yet in these two cities you can see rise of the music scene, which helps people deal with what happened through giving them freaking loads of fun. I mean seriously, what’s better than a street brass band? Or all the jazz going on in Nice!

The only sign of anything ever happening was that every time that I tried crossing the street with an English manner, someone would stop me. At some point I said ‘hey, the car was so far away!’. My friends answer was just: ‘dude, we’re in Nice’.

It wasn’t easy to me at the beginning. My CS host, Bryce, disappeared two days before I was supposed to come to Nice (which was on the 3rd), he would not answer my calls, texts, emails… nada. I had to stay a day longer in Sanremo; I contacted Zied, another Couchsurfer who’d agreed before to host me; he said I could come to his place, just he’s got some friends visiting and I can’t tell them about CS, I need to pretend I’m his friend. Ok, Zied, not a problem. The other guy, Bryce, on the 5th he texted me something like: sorry, I forgot, bummer, it’s better you’re not staying with me. What a guy. I kept it cool and polite.

Once Zied opened his door, we became friends. Such a great feeling! And he seemed so active – he cooked, we played music, we spoke about deep stuff, then we went out to the beach, met his friend on the way, I visited a night club for a loo, we played some music on the beach, he went into the water, I just sang even more, we tried finding a place for a beer, yet all of them were serving shitty shitty French bear, so every time we smiled and continued the search; finally we found an interesting one and got kicked out of it, then we sang in the streets and walked home. All of that after 6:30 pm, when I arrived to his place. Awesome, I love active people!

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We both loved ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’ and I think we played it so well. I had fun. So much fun.

And then one night out in the city, with his girlfriends and some ice cream, we bumped onto that CS dude, Bryce. He didn’t recognize me first, when I told him he did not apologize. All he did was being a dickhead and hitting on the most lawyer-looking of the girls.

The next day Zied dropped me off on a gas station and I went off to Marseille. Well, not that fast. Actually it was tragic. But I met a Peruvian guy called Genghis Khan. Very handsome. Didn’t speak English at all.

The history of my trip to Marseille will be a separate post, for now I’ll just finish Bryce story. I decided I should have left him a reference and so I did. I wrote that maybe he’s great, I don’t know, yet my experience with him was shitty, I was feeling insecure, stood up, ignored and surprised he didn’t even say sorry when we met’. A month later motherfucker gives me negative reference saying stuff like ‘it was a personal emergency, I explained it to her in advance, she behaved demanding, as if I was a free hostel, she was rude blah blah blah blah’. WTF Bryce? I was extreme angry, that was just so not fair!

The moral is: some people are assholes and some are less.

Check it out:

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Nice

How I got kicked out of a country*

*  joke of a country, yet legally still a country.

 

The last time I was trying to follow any time line, I shared my stories of Italy. Let me tell you what happened next.

I was hitching from Sanremo to Nice. An Algerian couple stopped, they didn’t really speak much English, yet they knew all the other languages: German, French, Italian, Spanish… uneducated me. They were going to Monaco. For a moment I hesitated, I didn’t want to go into the country, yet I decided to go with them and just play it by ear.

Unfortunately we ended up having communication issues and I ended up somewhere in Monte Carlo, just on some street.

I walked up a hill, had a coffee – the stuff was basically waiting for me to leave, they were very surprised when I tipped them; and it’s not like they’d done anything to deserve it, I just thought: fuck it, I’m in Monte Carlo, I need to tip – that’s one of those point you cannot miss on your trip to that place.

I left the restaurant and went walking towards the highway, following the signposts and cars which seemed like they really want to escape. No place to stop though, only pavement, roadway and the places which suck out all your money; stores which sell caviar worth 400 EURO per rather small portion; casinos; I continued walking.

I turned around the corner and there it was: a place with loads of space for me to stand and well, some space to stop the car for a minute. I stood all happy with my sign saying ‘NICE I’m nice to J’ that lovely old lady came by and wished me luck in both French and English, the sun was beating and I was feeling rather sick.

There is this reddish scar on my neck, this itchy, painful, suspicious pink thing of unknown origin. I covered it with a scarf, yet that made it only get worse from the heat. So I wait for the lift quite desperate, my water’s almost finished, and there he is, a cop of a motorbike arrives and says something in French, very angry.

‘I’m sorry, I don’t speak French’ I say – in French, ‘Do you speak English?’

‘We speak French here’ he answers – in English, ‘Autostop – no no no’ he adds shaking his head with disappointment and wavering his finger like if he wanted to have it stuck up his own ass.

‘Not true’ I answer, ‘I checked it and no, it is not illegal to autostop here’.

He starts yelling in French, getting red, says something about me not even speaking the proper language and he says ‘no autostop in Monaco. You need to leave the country, now.’ – in English, ‘I will go up the hill to the border and wait for you to leave’ he says in French, gets on his motorbike, says ‘move!’ and takes off. He also mentioned somewhere that the end was a km away;

It was at least a mile and a half.

So with a backpack on me and a guitar in my right hand, covering the pink thing on my neck with a scarf using my left hand, feeling very sick and angry, I walk up the mountain. There is no shade, it’s around 12:30 – the exact time of when I did not want to be on the road (I don’t know yet, how hot it will get). My bottle is almost empty, there is nowhere to refill it – around me only houses and expensive short-term rent apartments.

I begin to lose control, I’m barely  moving, my body is dehydrated, I am tired, my neck feels weird – when I turn my head left, the left side of my mouth starts to roll saliva like crazy. And it burned. It was so hot, my head was uncovered… My used the scarf covering my neck to cover both, my head and the pink scar.

Suddenly – there it is. A little booth with a Dunes, or however that joke of a country calls their border guards; and the mean cop.

I come up and ask the guard, in French, ‘Do you speak English?’

He barely looks at me, says ‘no’ and turns his face the other way.

‘Is it France or Monaco?’ I say in French pointing at a piece of land.

‘This is Monaco’ says the guard – in French – looking at the place where I’m standing, ‘and that is France’ he says pointing at two steps away, on left.

I’m furious. I take two steps into France, just so as to past him, turn around and look at them; my heart is beating, I am burning, my head is beating, the mind using its full power to control my reactions. I smile like a loon, rise my ‘NICE I’m nice too J’ sign up and stand there, in front of them, on the street.

They were angry, a little bit, and then I just went away, to sit down on a bus stop and get my shit together. I checked it, the bus would come in 15 minutes so if I didn’t get a ride sooner, I can just hop on ; And yeah, I didn’t get a ride…

The bus was 1,20 or 1,50. I should have just taken it in the first place!

I arrived to Nice, scored a pharmacy for something for the weird burn, a pub for a sandwich and went off to my next CS host, one of the most important ones (even though the last time we saw each other we were rather hostile); that’s a new story though and I’ll save it for the next time.

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How I got kicked out of a country*

Everything is… Paolo

*Zajebiscie – (adverb) ‘fucking awesome’ (rude but positive)*

When I went to Charlottesville, VA in July, my friend Lawrence gave me that shirt saying ‘everything is zajebiscie’ (as an inside joke). I promised I’d take a picture of me in that shirt in every place I go to. Of course I haven’t done it so instead I’ve started recording my drivers saying ‘everything is zajebiscie’ behind the wheel. Later on – just some people.

Here’s what I missed in the Italy post. Paolo, my host from Sanremo, saying the magic words:

And you know what? At that particular moment, everything was.

 

 

 

Everything is… Paolo

Monkey attack

Hello everybody, finally I’ve put my hands on somebody’s laptop and can update my stories. Let’s start with this one…

Going to Gibraltar I did not know what to expect. Hot and humid or chilly and windy? English or Spanish prices? British or Spanish coffees? So many unknowns… The one I was mostly preoccupied with was: monkeys or no monkeys? – as my host from Benalmadena, Claire, claimed they’d taken them away. [seriously, I was extremely excited about meeting those cuties!]

I started the day from visiting Main Street and finding a Polish guy performing songs by Dzem. I did not say a word about it, because I’m a nice person, yet he must have seen the look of recognition on my face, as he greeted me in Polish. I mentioned it’s shame I didn’t take my baby guitar with me and so he let me play his. I made 50 p during that song – just enough for the rock’s entrance. The universe was playing well that day…

I enter the park, climb the stairs, it’s very hot so I take my shirt off and continue in bra only and I climb up to meet the monkeys (I’ve been already told by my host, Fabio, that the monkeys indeed are up there, just quite vicious and smart; he said: hide away the jewelry, as that attracts them, they also steal food and just whatever they can, really). There’s a Czech/Slovakian family all around me – a lot of people and their kids/babies. Suddenly one of the monkeys grabs that ladies bag… I take a picture, laugh and think ‘eeh, tourists…’.

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As I climb Charles V Wall, karma comes back to me – I get surrounded by 4 monkeys (my jewelry already in the bag), the biggest one (let’s call it BM) stares at my bag, I know what they want from me, so I hug it. BM pulls the bag from the bottom, I pull it back up and we struggle like that for three rounds, with me shirtless yelling ‘no you stupid monkey, give me my fucking things back you bitch, give them back to me!’ and mothers covering their children’s ears. The strap of my camera falls out, so BM moves its focus onto that. We struggle for the camera this time, after a few rounds and me constantly yelling, I bang the monkey with the London Coffee Festival Bag, win the camera over and yet another fight begins, I yell even harder and when BM is getting ready to attack, I just let it go, as I don’t want to end up in a hospital on my trip. The monkey takes out my lunch (packed in a plastic box, a couple of layers of foil and a plastic bag, smart one!), eats it in front of me and at the same time guards the bag so other monkeys can go through it and see if they like anything (surprisingly they don’t, not even the cookies).

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Every time I take a step towards the bag, BM gives me the bitch look (yeah, BM stands for BITCH MONKEY) pulling it’s chin forward and opening it’s eyes wider – so I wait and collect evidence. Finally a guy coming from downstairs manages to distract BM and uses a stick to grab the bag and pass it to me. He says ‘run’ and we (me, him and his absolutely terrified girlfriend) climb up to meet more monkeys. With babies. Doing toilet on the stairs. At that point I’m terrorized by wild animals and passing them by is the last thing I want to do, there’s no other way though. I look in the eyes of the girl and she’s totally pissed; her boyfriend motivates us, gives the monkeys some food and we pass.

On the top there’s a lot of those monsters so I make my way down straight away. It’s long and scary, I’m on my own now. I get lost a couple of times, I’m out of water (luckily I find a shed of some construction workers and they share they fill my bottle), finally I find some people and we walk along each others.Then we get lost again. Then it takes so long and I’m so tired. I put my hand in the bag and I find some cookies. How come? Yeah, obviously right after I take them out, a couple of monkeys run to me like crazy so I just throw the packet in their face and run away screaming. And there they are – two men with a spliff and a car. I ask them ‘is it the way down at all?’ and they offer me a lift.

In the car I tell them my story, they share some smoke and offer to give me a round of the city to show me the whole thing in a short.

Such a great ride! I asked them a lot of questions, I’m afraid it might have been even too many… but I NEED TO KNOW! They told me about growing up and living in Gibraltar; about the lack of events and music; about how big is the upcoming festival for the reason of being the only one their country holds (where 1/2 of Gibraltar’s population has fun with their friends and neighbors because everybody’s a friend or a neighbor – that what makes the country so crimeless).  Probably not that fascinating place to live… very nice people though and amazing amazing views. Just take a look:

And here’s my favorite host in front of a pretty view:

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As I’m normally very bad finishing my stories, I’ll just say: so that’s the Gibraltar I explored. Plus a few free coffees from a Spanish bartender and a guy on a street quoting my favorite movie scene’s dialogues to his children (of course I picked it up!).

Answers to my entry questions are: it’s hot, expensive, though not like London expensive, the monkeys most definitely are still there and they drink Spanish coffees.

*****

PS have you thought about how unhappy the Gibraltars are about Brexit? 96% of them voted ‘in’ and to be fair, I can not understand the remaining 4%. Unbelievable.
Almost as unbelievable as the fact that some people pronounce ‘mojito’ as moh-ji-to. It’s just not the right thing to do.

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Monkey attack