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The Rich-Mike Hitchhike Insight: Hitchhiking in Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey & Greece

Azerbaijan is hard to judge because we didn’t really have to do anything because all our rides were arranged for us. This said, the mere fact that the staff in the service station in Baku went so far out of their way to help us, and then so did Charmin and Rafael, driving us all the way to the Georgian border, demonstrates the kind of altruism that facilitates hitchhiking.

Georgia was a touch more difficult, and there were times when we had to wait a long time to get anywhere. The myrid of roads exiting Tblisi made escape from the capital particularly difficult. The people that did pick us up though, despite appareances, were really helpful –especially Yurgen and Pesk who bartered the price of our hotel room down for us.

Turkey is right up there with the Orient. The people were friendly, accomodating and we were picked up many times –even when getting out of the huge capital city, usually the most arduous of tasks. The Koran states that good people should help wayfarers, and it’s a maxim that had been observed to a sometimes humbling degree throughout the Islamic countries we’d travelled through.

Despite being nextdoor to Turkey, Greece was impossible. We’d found what we deamed to be a great road, with all the traffic heading in our direction. The only people that helped us were foreign: a Russian, the BBC and an Albanian bus company. Someone told us that this aversion to hitchhikers is because they are associated with illegal immigrants trespassing the borders. The economic crisis in Greece has apparently ecacebated an already potent breed of xenopobia. The kebabs are fantastic though.

Azerbaijan Hitchhiking Rating:      af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15  (7/10)

Georgia Hitchhiking Rating:    af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15   (6/10)

Turkey Hitchhiking Rating:       af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 (8/10)

Greece Hitchhiking Rating: af2e834c1e23ab30f1d672579d61c25a_15 (1/10)

The origins

Just when we thought our lives couldn’t get any better, as we stood on the cusp of our great adventure, something truly amazing happened. For some reason, unknown to mere mortals, the gods every so often see it fit to intervene in the affairs of man. This night was one such occasion. A lightning bolt of pure inspiration, a manifestation of divine providence itself, shot forth from the heavens and into my brain.

“Hey Michael, I’ve just realised something,” I said, slightly choking on my beer.

“What is it Rich?” he whispered, sensing the magic in the air. “I’ve got goosebumps”

I paused for dramatic effect.

“Have you forgotten?”

“No! I was pausing for dramatic effect”

“Oh right”

I paused for dramatic effect.

“Umm… now I really have forgotten” I said, scratchinbg my head.

Fortunately, the gods saw it fit to jolt my memory.

“I’ve got it!” I paused for dramatic effect… “‘Rich’ rhymes with ‘hitch’” I whispered.

Michael thought about this for a second; judging by the extent to which his pupils dilated, he must have been struck by a similar celestial epiphany. He turned back to me and in a low, slow voice murmured, “And ‘Mike’ rhymes with ‘hike’”

“The Rich-Mike Hitchhike,” we said together, as we stood up, beaming at each other.

“It’s beautiful,” I said, wiping a tear from my eye.