I was hitchhiking from St. Petersburg. Years ago I’d think of that as dangerous, cold, long and tiring. Coming from the other side, I saw it from the other side. I was looking forward to using my thumb again for moving and for counting every fifth birch tree behind the train window (which reminds me that every nation uses different way how to count using hands and fingers and it would be cool to cover it by a blog post. if i was a better blogger). So I started hitchin and was all smiling about that and then it started to be cold and tiring. Virtually the only drivers that took me were army men. Apparantely the military training teaches one of empathy and love towards other creatures. They helped me.
Helped to get to the border where was this freakishly long line. Queue of people waiting longer that the one in front of the hell’s gate. I don’t like lines. If I was going to stay the line not only I’d die there but also couldn’t make across the Baltic states (but I was dropping my ambitions to make it to Poland in one day and had no place for night arranged anyway). With a hope that there is a “EU citizens” gate I walked to the front of the line. There was no such a gate. Obviously. But the fact that I was not a Russian person smuggling weird stuff in a plastic bag but a foreigner with a decent backpack impressed the people so much they themselves told me I could go to the front.
The policewomen there were moving slowly, leaving the glass cabin for a long moments, no need to work hard to make the waiting time for the people in the queue few hours shorter, no. There is no point, the line is there everyday, again and again, never ending line of Russians with their bags. But not for the young officer, she was new. She took my passport, looked at the last page, then at me, then browsed through all the pages, back at the last page, another long look at me, then put the passport in the scanner, then under the UV light, then all pages under the light, and then repeated this whole process about 8 times. “Is there a problem?”
“No. No problem.” And she repeated the scan and light and long looks 5 more times.
Come on, I’m on the line of Europe, let me go home, don’t start with Tibet visa shit or anything. Please. I was waiting paitiently few more minutes after which she stood up and left the cabin. She went over to the second check-out cabin and returned after a while accompanied by the older policewoman. Now they did the round together. Looks, scans, lights, looks. Just tell me, tell me, what is it. Did someone put drugs in my backpack? Those fools who let me go in front of them? Is my name on the persona non grata list? Or something with the visas? I want to go home, but tell me what is it!
“Excuse me, is there a problem?” I asked again.
“No, no problem.” Said the experienced officer.
“You can go.” Said the young beautiful lady and gave me my passport with a smile.
What? Well, ok. I’m done. I just took my backpack and left the building.
When I was crossing the brifge across the river, going to Europe, there was a girl standing in the middle, laughing. We knew each other shortly from before.
“Why are you laughing so much? Now it really seems like we just managed to smuggle some shit.” I said to her.
“Do you know what she said? The lady that was checking you, when she came over to the cabin where I was being checked…”
“I don’t know what to do with this guy. On the picture he is a little boy and now he looks like the monkey makake.” We bursted to a laughter.
“Ok, so now I’m a monkey, officialy. She said that aloud in Russian on public?”
“Yes, it was so hard not to laugh.”
“End of fun, now the Estonian border. Freaking border of the Shenghen. They might be tough.”
But they were not. No line there.
“Do you have anything to declare?”
“Alcohol, cigarettes, …?”
“I wanted to buy vodka but I run out of money.” I thought it’s ok to joke, he was young.
“Just go, go.”
“Have a nice day!”
And I was in Europe, at home. I sat on the pavement and was just crazy smiling. I wanted to eat the last piece of bread but it must have fallen of my backpack somewhere at the station. Whatever. I took a chalk and wrote I’M HOME!