It’s all happening when I hitchhike

     Am I crazy---wait, let me finish---or are flea markets the best thing ever? I L-O-V-E flea markets

     You see everything in life when you stick your thumb out on the road, including things you don’t want to be a part of. The other day a Sri Lankan family picked me up. I noticed two kids in the back seat when I got in, but somehow didn’t notice the wife in between them, crying. I had obviously been given a ride in the middle of a family fight. It’s a smart move by the husband, really, but it was very uncomfortable, and made worse by us getting stuck in traffic. The husband made bad decisions to try and get around it, increasing the stifling tension in the car, and I decided I had to get out and walk the rest of the way. Fresh air never felt fresher.
     Yesterday I hitchhiked from the middle of Switzerland to north of Frankfurt, Germany. It was easy other than getting stuck outside of Basel, though the same guy who drove me into Basel the week before stopped to say hello. (How is that for a coincidence?) We had a quick chat and he told me that a German prisoner who looked like me had escaped from jail and was on the loose in the area last week. Great. No wonder it took so long to get a ride.
     Women, women, and more non-news-reading women stopped for me all day long, about twice as many as men. Even two fresh-faced, young, blonde, Swiss girls stopped to say they couldn’t give me a ride because they had no room, but wished me luck. Normally I passionately despise those people who stop to say they aren’t taking me, but I’ve decided from now on to judge on a case-by-case basis.
     Why would so many women be overcome with desire for me to accompany them? The only possible explanation I have is that the night before I shaved with a new five-blade razor that left me with an ultra-smooth face. I have to modestly say that I was irresistable. I need to pay more attention to my grooming habits.

     Red alert! Red alert! Something is cheap in Switzerland!

     Just over the border into Germany a gregarious Italian named Giorgio took me. Finally, someone was in a hurry. I don’t even hold my thumb out in Germany for trucks; they’re too slow. It’s the autobahn! We need to speed! Giorgio was happy to oblige, but I cringed as he passed on the right (a grave sin in Germany) and in construction zones where the maximum speed is supposed to be 80kmh, he was blowing through narrow lanes at 140km. He smiled and announced, “I am not the safest.” You don’t say.
     The last driver went out of his way to leave me in the little town I needed to go. I was so thankful about arriving that I wasn’t worried that he was screaming down the autobahn at over 160kmh (100mph), swerving into other lanes while trying to use his GPS. Does anyone know how to use their GPS? I can’t remember the last time I saw someone confidently use it, and the true miracle is I have never been in a GPS-related accident.

     One day last week I took my little daypack and hitchhiked on three or four different highways from north of Zurich for over 100km to Basel just to meet someone for lunch. It sounds absurd, but I did it very easily, to my own surprise. This above isn't quite my technique, but I was a little self-conscious showing it to all the truckers in the parking lot. People say hitchhiking is dangerous, but after I got to Basel I took a tram and it crashed into a delivery truck, nearly jolting me off my feet. Besides, I think it is more dangerous to eat in this restaurant below:

     OK, Basel might be uniquely situated on the borders of both Germany and France, but this restaurant is multi-culturalism out of control.

     People get in the Rhine River in Basel and float with their clothes in the quick current as huge barges (see under the bridge?) motor past. It's a pretty genius idea. Is this done anywhere else?

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