This is my 2nd time hitch-hiking, the first was in Malaysia with 3 crazy oddballs, somewhere between KL and Ipoh. Jamban has not hitched before. After scouting the website for tips, we went towards the beach where we found the mentioned gas station. After half an hour of holding the destionation sign and no one approached us, we took turn approaching drivers with our non-existent Spanish to ask for a ride. Finally, Jamban scored a ride from a lady who took us to a town before Girona. From there, I scored a ride from a young man to Girona. From Girona, a couple picked us up to Perpignon. It was dark when we reach Perpignon, but we continued trying our luck to get to Montpellier tonight itself. Finally, a beat-up van stopped and told us, it was late and no one is gonna pick us up so come on in! after rearranging the plants and woods in the back of the van, we had just enough space to lump our backpacks in there and hop on in front with him. I forgot his name but it was a very French name, he told us that he lived in a village outside of Montpellier city and he could drop us at a gas station if we want, but it’s late and it would be hard to find anyone to hitch with at this time, and he offered us to stay over at his house in the village. The appeal of a warm house in a French countryside won us over and we decided to go with this man and his beat up van.
His wife discovered about these 2 strangers only when we reached, and she immediately started cooking more food just for us. His brother in law, a winemaker who lived nearby, was there and we tried some of his wine. It was a cosy family affair where homecooked French food is heartwarming and hearty, lots of potatoes, cheese, bread, not at all like their showy counterpart in the restaurants. After good wine, we had a good sleep and woke up to birds chirping. We started to drift towards and into nature, taking solitary walks. I felt almost like being back in Berducido village except for the different scenery, there were certainly more pine trees here and it’s not as lush but beautiful nonetheless. Our lovely host took us for a late lunch, we haven’t managed to switch the lunch time yet after being used to Spanish late meal time. then we went to his brother-in-law winery and Jamban bought some wine in tribute to this lovely adventure. Then he dropped us near the highway where we managed to hitch a ride with another winemaker to Montpellier city.
Montpellier 24-26 November 2011
We tram-ed into the city to be welcomed by a group of Occupy protestors who were camping out in the square. We gave them our cheer and support, and they sent us off in the direction of our host’s house. Along the way, we were unsure of our step, and another anarchist activist who was squatting in a house not far from our host’s kindly took us there, lend us his phone for us to call our host. Montpellier definitely had revolution in the air. Then we met our host, whose name was so difficult to pronounce that I’d remember it for a long time, Yliria but she was such a bundle of joy, energy and music. It was the way she clutch that cello with those legs and of course the amazing voice that we made her sang for us over and over, and jamban video it. But when will we get to see the video, which will remain a mystery. In the day, we walked around the city, had hot croissants and searched for Asian grocer so that we can cook for our host. We also stumbled onto a wine festival in the square, which jamban and the host, wither her charm and his enthusiasm got lots of free drinks from their 3 vouchers. I of course couldn’t keep up and anyway, I can’t tell between one wine from the other unless they’re red or white, so I left the happy couple in the square and got an early start at cooking pan mee. Jamban made belachan to go with it and it was a hit with our host and friends. After dinner, the tipsy folks went out to get tipsier while I stayed in as befitting of my age and got an early nap before we start hitchhiking again the next day.