I slept on Tintins’ couch and woke up feeling great, but still tired. I needed a few more hours of sleep. Before Tintin went to work I recorded her story about her tattoos and then I had breakfast with her boyfriend Johan.
Jiaxin and I were supposed to meet at the central station and catch a train from there to Södertälje from where we would start hitch-hiking. I was kinda lost as I walked from Slussen, but as I arrived at Sergelstorg I heard a familiar voice a few meters from me. I looked to the side, and who was coming there if not Jiaxin? Her friend showed us to the central station and we sneaked into McDonald’s to use their bathroom. It cost money, but we went inside as someone else walked out and then we guarded the door for each other (if you don’t pay, you can’t lock).
We jumped onto the train to Södertälje centrum, made a sign saying “Malmö”. At the station we asked a couple how to get to the highway. They told us it was a bit to walk, but it was a beautiful day. The sky was blue, air temperature over 20 degrees and the sun was very bright. So we started walking.
45 minutes later, we arrived to the access road. We ate some tomatoes, almonds, yoghurt and bread while waiting. After fifteen minutes a guy stopped. “Hey, you are standing at the wrong spot. No one’s gonna pick you up from here. It’s not the access road.” Shame. We looked at each other.
“If you want to I can take you to Södertälje Syd, it’s easier from there.”
Wow. We jumped into his car. Södertälje Syd is the place we were supposed to start at, but the train didn’t go all the way there. It was a few kilometers away and it definately was a good spot. After standing by the highway in five minutes a truck signed to us that he would stop, so we started running. It took a while for him to slow down so we had to run a few hundred meters.
The truck driver, Andreas, was born in Libya, and as he did his military service he served under military head Muammar al-Gaddafi. We all know his name, don’t we? Although, our driver was not too eager to talk about this period of time in his life. He told us he had been in the air force and he had done a lot of parachuting for the military. Instead we talked about families.
As a truck driver it’s hard to have a family. He has two children, and he has sole custody of them. Jiaxin and I were curled up in the bed in the truck, the driver and his hungarian friends friend who went with him for the week sat in the chairs. It was the most uncomfortable ride this far, my neck was very sore and my back ached. But, we got a ride all the way from Södertälje to Jönköping. And the rain was pouring down outside, we were very happy to at least be dry.
Andreas wanted a girlfriend. Someone to be there when he came home and someone to travel with, cook with. But he was working six days a week, so he could not combine it with a family life. I was thinking about our first hitch – Federigo was working about every day of the week and still he had a family. They never saw him though, and the children will grow up without their father by their side. He will always be a phone call away, but not at a hug distance.
The truck driver bought us lunch, he knew about a place on the road that had decent food and they were gonna stop there and eat. “I’ll buy you lunch, it’s not the best but at least it’s something. The next place is very far away.” We had salad, potato wedges and bread.
Outside the restaurant we met a school class from Skåne, going back from a school trip. We asked the driver if we could get a ride with them, he told us to ask the woman in chief. She said no. “I don’t think so, since we’ve paid for the bus.” Her tone was bitchy, I wanted to tell her there was no need for it, a simple “no” is fine for us, we get them all the time. We also ride with people paying for their rides all the time, and they never complain. I think we could have been a good inspiration for the kids.
Anyway. We continued to Jönköping and Andreas dropped us off by the highway. It had been dry weather for a while but as soon as we stepped off the truck big drops of water started to fall from the sky once again. The rain increased in strength and we got more and more wet. We held up the sign, it wouldn’t be readable for much longer. Cars went by one after another, no one showing consideration for us. Until five minutes had passed.
We were soaking wet as another truck driver pulled in by the high way.
“I feel so sorry for you out there in the rain, jump in!”
Thank gosh. We thought. The raining increased the further south we went, and suddenly the roof window started leaking. After ten minutes there were three big puddles in the space between the two chairs on the truck, five minutes later it looked more like a small lake. The driver put a towel in his lap and Jiaxin curled up towards the window. I lay on the bed, with another bed above me, keeping dry. It was quite nice, like being inside but yet outside. Not completely left out from the world.
The drivers’ name was Attik (I am sorry if I spelled it wrong) and he was going to Arlöv, just outside Malmö. We were very tired and were half asleep most of the way. Twenty kilometers outside Malmö there was a big explosion. The truck shook.
I sat up straight. “What was that?”
“A tyre exploded. That happens once in a while. We have to find a tire-shop.”
So, we went into Malmö. All the way into Malmö. Thank you. Attik dropped us of by the same gas station as we started two days earlier. Our circle was complete. I unlocked my bike and Jiaxin got on the bus to Lund. It was already eleven pm and I didn’t get to sleep until half past twelve. So many impressions and thoughts running through the brain. Another adventure has come to an end. And still, it’s just the beginning.
As Jiaxin said when I thanked her for the great weekend and sharing these experiences. “Hey, the best is yet to come!”