Monday, 14 March 2011

Connecting with Strangers

        Talk radio was asking listeners - "Would you invite a stranger who is traveling, to stay in your home?" "Would you introduce a person while traveling, to an acquaintance?"
        Simple questions to answer I would think. That’s what you will mostly read about in a lot of blogs. I cannot begin to tell you the number of email addresses, phone numbers, invites for a meal or accommodations I have received from strangers I've met during my travels, every day.
         Sometimes I accept, but generally I like to be polite and do my own thing. I just spent four days going just 300 miles from Frankfurt to the border of France, slowly enjoying the country along the way. Three different times I was frantically waved over off the road by motorists all with the same reason. "Did I know my license plate was about to come off ?" ( It's actually bolted on just fine, but in my own way, it's crooked off to the side.)
           This opened up a conversation. I found out that these folks just wanted to tell me about a friend they have in Portland, or their dream of going to Alaska, or chat with me, the American tourist !
           Yesterday I followed a guy on a scooter through the streets of Lyon, France until he found me the BMW dealership. Not to be left alone with my bad French, in great detail he explained to the mechanic that I need a quee ? ( radiator hose clamp) . After quite a bit of discussion between them in French, the mechanic looked at me and said, “ I'm English also, where are you parked? “ LOL
           Not completely satisfied with an English guy in France putting a temporary hose clamp on the German-made motorcycle, I walked down the street to see about purchasing some real hose clamps from my new Italian friend, Martin. After fixing me up with proper clamps he looked at my riding gear: Harley Davidson jacket, BMW boots & pants, and an Arai helmet. (Oh yea I’m confused) Martin wanted me to join him for lunch, and then take his motorcycles for a ride. Italian made Brutale 1090 motorcycles. Top speed 164 MPH..! 200 hp.! Now I know I've said, "live your life not your age," but I thought this would be a good time to decline and live my age. (I will be sure to hang onto his phone number just in case.)
           I was reminded of a time when I was docked at fisherman's terminal in Seattle when I had my boat and a family was visiting from Newfoundland. They asked where the Deadliest Catch boat was moored ? "Not sure," I said, "get in the boat and let's go find out." I wasn’t the boat captain they wanted to meet that day , but we had fun looking.
          In my wallet you can find numbers or addresses of those I've met, or friends of theirs in the direction I am headed.
          Germany was great, friendly people, beer taps always pouring, but still serving what I remember growing up on- condensed Campbell’s Mushroom Soup over pork chops. Now I am stuck in wine country, south of Lyon France with heavy rain.

1 comment:

  1. Happy Birthday Garth .... I am early but I wanted to be first!!

    Hope you are in good health and enjoying every minute. I am looking forward to reading your blog and hearing all about your adventures.

    Live your life not your age is a gread adage.

    I just got back from a trip with 50 teenagers. We had a blast tubing down a ski run, snowboarding etc. One teenager said to me, "Today I learned to ski, oddly enough it was also the first time I was able to do a cartwheel."

    Take care and eat some cake.

    Sis #2

    "Run, jump, spread life." /David Powell