Someone told me about a storytelling contest that is going on at a local pub. The next theme that will be held is titled, "Road Warriors: Adventure Stories."
Of course, this got me thinking about my adventures on the road. No, I'm not going to compete in the story slam, but here's an anecdote for your pleasure. If you can one-up me in road stories, please share!
We were north of Navan, Ireland staying at a farm hostel. Nearby was a music festival that we went to check out. It was a bit of a dive. John and I did not want to stay. We missed Dublin and wanted nothing more than to be there. So, we went back to the hostel and packed our bags.
It was midnight by the time we left the hostel. No bus is leaving Navan at midnight. And we were 20 minutes away from Navan. So we started walking, certain that someone in Ireland still encouraged hitch hikers to get around their enchanted island.
We got to the main road. It started drizzling. We kept walking. We made signs that we tied to our backpacks, but no one could see them. It was midnight. I'm not convinced people could see us let alone the signs dangling from our backs.
After about an hour of walking, we noticed a car had pulled over quite a ways behind us.
"Is that for us?"
"I don't know. Let's check it out!"
By the time we got there, we noticed that it was in fact a taxicab. We told the driver that we are hitch hiking because we didn't have fare money. He told us that he stopped to pee. Not to pick us up. Oh. Uh. This is awkward.
"Don't worry about it. Jump in!"
His name was Malone and he moved to Ireland from Sudan after a time in the refugee camps. He offered us some money so we could eat when we got into Navan. We declined, but thanked him all the same.
That night we tried to find the road out of Navan that would lead us to Dublin. There are exactly three main roads out of Navan all going different directions. Yes, the signs are in English, but we could not decipher them whatsoever. I closed my eyes, went to the middle of the intersection, and spun around while pointing. Where ever I was pointing when I fell over was the road we chose to take.
For about 10 minutes.
"Man, it's like 2 in the morning. Should we be hitch hiking right now?"
"Probably not, but I'm not going to be the voice of reason" I said. "That's going to be left to you."
We kept walking.
We noticed a woman in front of us. We were trying to get to Dublin before the break of dawn (which is about an hour and a half away via bus) so we were walking rather fast. We were gaining on her, but we thought nothing of it. Until she stopped hurriedly, took off her high heels and darted to the other side of the street. She didn't stop running until she was out of sight. Even then, I'm not sure if she stopped.
We kept walking.
I see John swaying a little from the weight of his pack. He was not going to give in before me. Should we stop? It was almost 2:30am at this point. I ask him if we should sleep in a remote field if we find one.
"Yeah, that sounds great. I'm hitting a wall."
Thirty seconds pass.
"Or how about under that bridge there? That looks safe."
We crawl under the bridge hoping to not to disturb any other homeless folks. We find that our five star en suite is complete with cobblestone sleeping space. We tossed and turned trying to fit each rocky knot into our spine in the least uncomfortable arrangement. We never cracked the code.
Four hours later, we both sat up at the same time and looked at each other.
"Breakfast?" We say in unison.
We made our way back into Navan and found a little cafe. We eat our eggs and black pudding and start looking for a bus to take us the rest of the way to Dublin. Enough of this hitch hiking crap. It didn't work at 2am, why would it work at 7am?!
The bus came and we settled in for an hour and a half ride with 15 drunk high school students. I was able to sleep through most of it, until someone threw an empty beer can which landed square on the back of my head. I turned around and handed the can to a very intimidated 15-year-old boy. I had a small moment of celebration. The first time someone was actually afraid of me! I was very tired.
We made it to Dublin and found our friend's flat. The moment he opened the door, I crashed on the couch. John took time to fix a bed on the floor. No one could rouse us for the rest of the evening.