The Austrian Kids dropped me off on the side of the freeway, directions, south to Italy or north to Austria, I was miles from where I had to be, on a freeway that did not lead there. Like I had before, to those who saw me on the side of the road, I gave them the stack of photos, some corners bent now as the miles had found their way to wear them down. With their photos chosen, http://www.nomadsight.com/works/cleaning-up/ , and http://www.nomadsight.com/works/its-public this one, they jumped in their little red fiat, and speed their way south towards Italy. I jumped the guard rail, with my portfolio clutched under arm, my heavy back pack swing above my small stature like a tortoise and made it to the other side of the freeway. “Head north back towards where you started.” I thought. It was windy outside the shelter of the red fiat. The sun had dipped behind the dark grey clouds sitting above the Slovenian Alps blowing in words of warning, rain was coming, night was falling.
With my cardboard sign still in tow, I unfolded it, picked some new flowers to punch through the paper, thought of my destination, I was going to catch that plane in Zagreb. It started to rain, and the cars passed without looking. I couldn’t have a repeat of the day before, stuck and sleeping a the rest stop.
I walked up to a group of kids, they looked approachable.
“Yes California, thats great man, are you really from California?”
“Yes and I need to get to Zagreb”
“Well your on the wrong side of the freeway, you need to be on the other side. This way goes to Austria.”
“Yeah I know, and that way goes to Italy.”
They where getting in their car, their patience running down.
“We are going to Austria, Im sorry we can’t help you.”
And they drove away, me left holding a map.
Back to it. More cars, passed, more time ticked by.
A young couple, smiled as they saw the sign but kept driving, or so I thought. They turned around and rolled down their window to me and the rain now coming down.
They said something in Slovac that I didn’t understand.
“Oh! Are you really from California?”
“Hahaha! Wow, man, I think most people who see you here think your crazy you know? This road goes to Austria and Italy? You are far from Zagreb!”
“I know, Im trying now just to get to Lubjana or something.”
“Oh ok man, we are going to Lubjana, we go to watch a movie there, we can drive you to the train station they have trains going to zagreb…I think.”
“Wow, that would be great, oh man I was really thinking I was going to be stuck here.”
They where from a little village in the mountains and came down to the city on a date. They where teachers at an elementry school there. I told them how I got dropped off there by the stoned Austrian kids, they told me how that sucked.
They chose this photo. http://www.nomadsight.com/works/a-memory-from-the-future/
Took a picture with me and wished me the best.
You know, I was worried about getting a train, my plan had been to hitch hike across the boarder, hope that the car didn’t get checked. I had heard that exciting they don’t check so much. I had been in Europe for a year, I had planed to leave before my tourist visa expired in September but things came up that I don’t feel like writing about here. Keeping me in europe past the terms in my passport. I read that if caught, it would be 1500 euro fine, 5 year ban on E.U. travel, and a stamp in my passport “Illegal Emigrant”,(the last one I didn’t mind so much, illegal emigrant, please, its our planet and our life and we a free to chose and be where we want). Now that time was pressed, and my flight from Zagreb to San Francisco was a mere 12 hours away and I was still in another country, I bought the 14 euro train ticket and hoped for the best.
I heard them before I saw them. The two Americans, “maybe I can blend in with them.” I thought, and made my way down the aisle sitting across from them and their game of cards.
Even with the anticipation of the boarder, it felt so nice to sit and watch the landscape go by. Greens made gold with the setting sun, lakes and rivers and mountains filling the view. The train rocked me calm.
Until it suddenly stopped and shut down, silent and dead. The guards boarded and said something in passing, I wanted to pretend I didn’t understand, as everyone else pulled out their passports.