The Hitchhiking Trip to Siberia – 2009
On the road from Moscow to Irkutsk
“How old are you?” he asked, when we drove off.
“Twenty-three,” I answered.
“Wish I could be that young now. It’s been 25 years since I live on the road, just changing trucks. And you know what? I don’t want to quit this job, even though it’s a hard one. I just can’t imagine myself living off the road.”
“Yes, me too”.
By noon we were passing the city of Pokrov. I’ve noticed a sign on one of the old buildings that said “Russian Government for Russia”. Was it just a different interpretation of the neo-nazi slogan “Russia for the Russians”? Perhaps. About an hour later we turned onto the Vladimir (one of the medieval capitals of Russia) bypass. Around 4 PM Gosha received a phone call from a woman. They had a sweet and romantic conversation, but when the call was ended, the driver said:
“Gosh! I don’t want to visit her now.”
“Who was calling?”
“Just a woman. She works in a roadside café not far from here. I visit her sometimes, we drink “niegrousteenochka” (his own word for vodka) and then… you know, make love and so. But I have no wish to see her now. I better go home, hug my wife, we’ll drink vodka and everything will be fine.”
The weather was very warm for January in Russia, and perhaps that was the reason why there were so many prostitutes on the road, who did their best trying to attract truck drivers just as sirens hunting sailors. “Look at them, wow, they are like mushrooms after the rain. Usually, they take 500 rubles for their services. You can’t find a cheaper one here,” Gosha said.
It was around 6 PM when I got off the truck near a parking lot with few kilometers left to the city of Nizhniy Novgorod. I thanked Gosha and left him in his preparations for a sleep, since he was tired and had no wish to continue his trip. I was hungry. The vegetarian sandwich I had with me and the cup of hot tea made another simple dinner on the road. For about an hour I wasn’t able to hitch a ride. A small dog came to me. I fed her with cookies I bought back in Moscow before taking the bus. Finally, around 8 PM a cargo van picked me up. The driver was not that talkative, so we were just listening to some music, until the road police officer stopped us. He checked driver’s documents, then came to me.
“Do you have your documents with you?” policeman asked.
“Yes, sure!” I said and handed him all the papers.
“You are not a citizen of Russia?”
“No, I’m not. I study in Moscow, I’m a journalist.”
He looked at me, then smiled and returned my documents. Then he went back to the driver who was waiting for him by the police car. Policeman checked the van via computer, trying to find something wrong with it to be able to get some money from the driver, but everything was fine, so 30 minutes later he just gave up.
On the road from Moscow to Irkutsk: Part Two
On the road from Moscow to Irkutsk: Part Three
On the road from Moscow to Irkutsk: Part Four
On the road from Moscow to Irkutsk: Part Five
On the road from Moscow to Irkutsk: Part Six