Federigo drove us to the highway in the morning. Jiaxin held up our sign saying “Stockholm” and I stuck the thumb up in the air. We stood by the access road and the sun was heating our cheeks. We were standing there talking about the experience, the car, house and job, when we suddenly heard this honking behind us. We turned around and there, about a thirty meters from us, stood a red mini van. A girl was waving towards us and we ran up to them. Sadly, they were headed to Helsingborg, which is back to where we came from. “If you come back tomorrow we’ll ride with you” we said, and they continued their trip south.
We walked onto the highway, met two men picking up garbage from the side. Talked a little to them. Asked what it was like working there, the traffic was heavy and so was the noise. “It’s a pain, it really is. But it pays. That’s what counts.” I guess so. Someone has to do it. We stood there for a few minutes, but the wind was a lot stronger than at the access road so we decided to walk back.
Right before we left the highway, one and a half hour after Federigo dropped us off, the incredible happened. A car stopped.
Elin drove a small blue car, she excused the dog-hair everywhere and tried to wipe some of it before we sat down. I love all these contrasts. No ride is the other one alike.
She works as a teacher at Linköping university, and she was on her way to a friend in Norrköping so she gave us a ride there. She teaches political science and environmental politics. Since I study journalism and Jiaxin environmental studies and sustainable science, we had some great discussions. We talked about how the world needs to change, about the struggle to create a sustainable and environmental friendly society. We talked about politics and differences between China, Sweden, Africa and Europe. We arrived in Norrköping in no-time and she took us to a halting place for busses from where we walked back onto the highway. We walked under a bridge, the walls were painted with peace marks.
We walked for about ten minutes and tried to find a good spot. As we finally spotted one we didn’t even get there until a car stopped.
“Hey, Stockholm? I can take you to Nyköping.” Cool! It was a man in a mini-van, he works as a constructor and cleaned out the front seat for us. His name was Mehran and he came to Sweden from Iran 23 years ago. I will write his story in the post after this one. Because it deserves a post of it’s own.
He dropped us off at the highway outside Nyköping and, as before, we didn’t stand there for more than five minutes before a car stopped. Though it was a taxi. I walked up to it and said “hey, we don’t want to pay anything.” “No no, it’s cool, I’m gonna fetch some customers in Stockholm, I’ll give you a ride there. Jump in!” We saved 1400 SEK on that ride compared to the paying customers.
He had his son with him, Emil, a naughty boy that Jiaxin fell in love with. Oh well, at least she really enjoyed his company. He gave us strawberry festis and raisins. We offered him almonds, but he didn’t really like them.
They dropped us off in the center of Stockholm, Birger Jarlsgatan. We walked from there to Kungsträdgården and the big christian gathering. It’s saturday. Judgement day has come. But first, we needed to find a bathroom. That can be a problem while on the road like this, all places in nature isn’t suitable (fences along the highway not providing enough shelter for girls to pull their pants down).