Back on the road

So, I arrived in Belgium with 50 euros in my pocket and a little suitcase. I had no idea where i was going, but i had the day to kill until i got onto the plane to the next country i was visiting. There was a guy by the airport called Salek that said he had to go to the centre of charleloi to visit family, he could drop me there, leave me for the day until he too had to come back to the airport, for 20 euros. Next thing i know, i’m on the road again, bag thrown in the back, windows down, radio blasting some upbeat foreign song and there is a happy feeling in the air. I haven’t slept in days as i’ve been sleeping on grubby sofas and towels for blankets but i can’t bring myself to shut my eyes because i’m travelling on the road again, solo, only my thoughts and myself and it’s happy. On the way to charleloi, we pick up a hitch hiker, little over 21, with dark black hair and Salek said he’d drop him at a cafe to get food. The hitch hiker didn’t speak a word of english, but he sat in the back with a small bottle of what smelt like malt liquor and nodded his head at me and smiled when i turned around. It was one of those moments where the music was up so loud and the road was so long that you could lean back in your seat and have a melancholy sort of happiness. We dropped the hitch hiker at the cafe, and he gave a few euros to help Salek with the petrol. When he then dropped me in charloiloi, i kept my bag in his car and took my rucksack.  I did sort of wonder why i had it in my head to leave my bag with a guy i didn’t know in a city i had never been to before, but he had that look in his eyes that filled you with a certain calmness that allowed me to know that everything would be fine. charleloi (i can’t seem to spell it right) had smells of waffles and coffee. I wondered around the alleyways and the bookshop stalls of second hand books, a few of them were english. I bought a travel book by a guy called Haruki Murakami which i got for 50c. There was a busy coffee shop where i bought a waffle and had a latte for lunch. Two italian guys, one with tattoos and the other wearing thick rimmed glasses asked me to sit with them. ‘Apellemoi mademoiselle’ they kept on saying over and over again and i smiled and stuffed more waffle in my mouth, and started to read the book i got. Jewellery shops, i got anklets and rings and bracelets all for under 10euros. I got a little aries bracelet, not that i’m an aries myself. My best friend is, but sadly they didn’t have my sign. Salek, as promised came and picked me up when he said he would. I showed him the book and he told me about his family an awful lot. I liked him, not because he was a good sort, he had a large scar on his neck with an interesting story behind it which he told me about too, but i liked the way he was so enthusiastic about things. We talked a lot about the world, about deserts and the places he’d been to and the places i’d been too. The stuff he’d seen, and the stuff i’d seen. He said it was his dream to get to london, how funny to think one of my dreams was to get out of london and into the world. I wonder about the migration impulse, the impulse of why people feel the need to travel, or at least some do anyway.


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