Operations hungry hippo and homeless the ...
Trip Start May 15, 2000
12Trip End Jun 15, 2000
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The idea was to hitch-hike from the Netherlands to Belgium for breakfast, Luxembourg for lunch and Deutschland for dinner. Chris Tucker wanted to join me on this mission and I agreed without really thinking about it. It turned out to be a blessing and a curse.
Chris knows Utrecht well so he sorted us out with a bus to the autobahn headed south. It's illegal, dangerous and stupid to hitch on the autobahn so we walked around the motorways for about an hour and a half looking for the on-ramp we needed. Finally we found 'the spot'. That's where the Chris Tucker factor kicked in.
Sure, Chris has the moves, the smile and 5 languages to call on but he also smokes like a chimney
We were behind time due to taking so long to find "he spot and when Martyn dropped us at a fuel station outside a place called Hank it didn't get any better. After a long wait Bert picked us up followed by Mustapha.
Mustapha was our man for breakfast. He took us across the border into Belgium and dropped us in a place called Boom. For an English speaker that was pretty funny, mind you, so was Hank.
We had breakfast at the Boom Bistro. The only problem with breakfast was that it was already around 2pm. We left our hotel in Utrecht at 8am. Considering we still had a long way to go, you can imagine how delighted I was when Chris ordered a second cup of coffee to go with his second packet of cigarettes.
We were headed to Namur via Brussels and hitching out of Boom was a breeze. Hitching out of Brussels was a different story.
By now I was getting the impression that Chris wasn't having fun any more. I didn't think it was possible but he upped his cigarette intake and in between was spending more and more time not doing the moves or flashing the smile.
A Danish girl finally put us on the right track to the spot and as soon as we got there another Martin picked us up. His enthusiasm for the endeuro2000 project was overwhelming and when he dropped us in Namur I had a very strong feeling that it wasn't the last time he would be a part of e2k.
A little guy whose name I unfortunately didn't catch whisked (and I mean WHISKED!) us away from Namur. Unfortunately he let us out on the autobahn. Seconds later the police were in our face but understood that the little guy shouldn't have dropped us there in the first place. As soon as the police left, a couple picked us up. Did I mention it was now about 8PM and no lunch in sight.
At around 10PM we limped into Luxembourg. I was determined to finish this mission but Chris was out of steam. He opted for a hotel.
Now that I was solo I was sure I could get to the German border after a quick late Luxembourg lunch. By 11pm I was at the spot and loving it. No hesitation, no skepticism. I was going to pull this mission off. By 2 AM all that had changed.
Day one had yielded only 25 of my required 66.6 points per day and it was looking like day two wasn't giving me any. Then it dawned upon me that my chances of finding somewhere to stay in sleepy Luxembourg at 2AM were slim. Enter OPERATION HOMELESS. I didn't have much choice.
I found a cosy little bench in a dark, out of the way park. By now I was damned tired and planned to awake with the birds and get back on the road. I figured that if could still make it to Germany for dinner before 8AM I could still collect the 75 HUNGRY HIPPO points as well as 50 HOMELESS points. With this in mind I curled up into a ball at the bottom of my sleeping bag and passed out.
Around 3:30AM it was so cold my bones were aching. I guess I should have at least changed out of my shorts and T-shirt into something warmer before bed. I put the entire clothing contents of my pack on and went back to sleep- kind of.
The birds didn't wake me up, the primal will to survive did. At around 5AM I had two choices, walk into the light or get up and warm up. It was almost light so I got back on the road. I got to Germany at 8:27AM.
27 minutes too late.
To help make sense of the endeuro2000 concept visit the official endeuro2000 site at www.go.to/endeuro2000