Thumbs up: hitching cross country

Bags on our backs and sign in hand, we stood precariously at the edge of the ferocious highway, cars zooming past us.

.Chris: “Stick out your thumb”

Clau: “No way, that’s so embarrassing”

Chris: “And how do you plan to hitchhike?”

And so it went. Chris waving down cars, while I stood behind him trying to play dumb, like I wasn’t part of it and getting slightly hysterical whenever a car slowed down. Not only that, but every time someone did slow down, I’d drag Chris back and tell him I didn’t trust him, or his car, or his aura. Or the way the sun shone on him.

When I finally had a reality check and started participating more in life, a man who’d been watching us from his shop for the last hour, approached us. He had a look of deep concern on his face as he reached us.

“No one will stop for you” he said. We politely ignored him. What did he know about our destination? A lot, apparently.

“This road goes the opposite way”

Wonderful.

He kindly directed us the right way, and even wrote down the towns we were going to in the Georgian alphabet.

All of a sudden – cars were stopping. This worked! Especially when you were standing in the right direction. Funny that.

We got picked up and dropped off through the little towns,the highlight being a 2 hour journey in the back of a van, where the guy kept stopping to buy us ice-cream, before dropping us off on top of a hill and zooming off into the distance.

As the night crept in, we decided to call it a day. We were on the outskirts of a town, and not quite sure where to wild camp. We happened to spot a fire station, and taking our chances, asked in our best Georgian where to sleep.

Judging by their reaction, we were the first people to have given them a job in years. After a lengthy discussion amongst them, they proceeded to make it their job to take care of us, finding the perfect place for us to pitch, checking in on us every few hours, and inviting us to join them for breakfast the next morning. Little did I know that breakfast included obligatory shots of vodka, and beer to wash it down.

Job wasn’t over. The firemen were insistent on taking care of us, and when we told them where we were trying to get to, they popped us into a car, and drove us all the way to the next town, where they proudly showed us the must-sees of Georgia.

We were sad to say goodbye to the Chief fireman, but happy to have an excuse to go and nurse our premature hangovers at midday, leaving the rest of the sightseeing for the evening.