category: By Laura Hayes
It’s been the backpackers favorite form of money saving travel for years, yet fear of the unknown puts many off the idea… “you never know who will pick you up”, they say. This is true. But you never know who your taxi driver will be either. Of course safety in numbers is always better and a little common sense. If you don’t feel good about getting in a car, then don’t! Just wait for the next one.
It’s with this attitude I convinced my friend to thumb it to the beach with me.
After five minutes of hitching the journey began. Our first driver was only going a few kilometers, but things were going to get better. No sooner had we jumped out of the truck had the next car pulled over. Plush leather seats and air conditioning, this was traveling in style. Our driver and his friend were both deep in conversation on their cells hardly noticing us, except to check we were comfortable. When calls were finished the usual introductions took place and then we all sat back and enjoyed the ride.
Our next and final leg of the journey was certainly an experience. An old guy, with a truck just as old, introduced himself as Johnny James. He insisted we sat up front with him brushing remanants of a donut and other bits of old food on the floor. I got the middle seat, closest to the strong garlicky fishy odor that seemed to be emitting from our driver. What had this man eaten?.
We stopped at the first beach and all became clear, behind his seat was a huge tub of fish seasoning that he was selling. Whilst the smell was still strong I was somewhat relieved it was a powder and not his breath!
When we got back in the truck I noticed an old dried up shrimp embedded into the seat that our new friend had been sitting on, unfortunately so did he. He scraped it off, and generously offered me the hidden jewel. I politely declined, unsure of just how long that thing had been there. JJ didn’t seem to worry and happily popped it in his mouth. Provecho!
Driving at a snails pace and stopping a lot to sell fish seasoning didn’t bother us, however JJ’s disregard to road markings was a little worrying. The middle of the road didn’t feel so safe when oncoming traffic was fast approaching. Three hours later, after Johnny had sang us a song, stopped at viewpoints to let us take photos and had managed to avoid other traffic, we finally arrived at the beach.
Money saved and unentertaining bus journeys avoided, and now the beach and beer awaited us.