Some of you might be wondering where did you hear this name Antoine before from me. Yes, you are right, he's the french guy who travelled a bit with me in India. Antoine wanted to travel 2 years, from France to Antarctica hitch hiking WITH NO MONEY AT ALL. Believe me, it's possible!
Today he will tell us one of his thousand of interesting stories while travelling. In the future I hope he comes back to the blog to teach us good tips on how to survive in this Planet without Money when travelling. We love you, Antoine!!
The whole story begins as we were hosted by a couchsurfer (Couch surfing is a network about hosting people for free at your place) with which I had an argument that ended up with me leaving his place. At the time, me and a friend were befriended by a baker who baked the most awesome marzipane cookies ever. The funny point is he was exclusively baking that. I mean, open bakeries on the street that don't serve that much of a variety in pastries are a common thing in big Iranian cities (yet the contrary is also true) but the man was spending his whole day doing the exact same cookie, with the exact same design. He did so bleedin' much of 'em each day that we spent hours at his place eating his cookies, therefore getting fat (I got pretty skinny on parts of this trip - I'm 1m84 and I weighted 59 kgs at some point: in Iran I earnt 5 kgs, through consciencious pastry eating - man I can't help but remember this guy in Tabriz (Iranian Azerbaïdjan) : I swear we weren't gazing at his pastries so much, but as we sat to have a rest, the guy just went outside with a plate covered with various sweets and offered it to us with a smile, then went back into the shop 0o) and checking out his daughter.
So, threw out that I was from my crash pad, I went straight away at the baker's place. He wasn't going to host me this night which I totally understand - actually this story is, I think, an illustration of this: almost all the shit gou get involved in in a trip without money is in fact... Your fact. I should never have went back to this guy, who already did too much for us. Anyway I could think of no better at the moment, and the guy "declined my request" (that's couch surfing "slang") but he called a friend who was willing to host me. The guy was old, didn't speak a word of english, and picked me up on his small scooter. At first, when he tried to grab my hand or slightly redirect it on his tighs or waist I thought that Iranians are way more tactile than we are and that he might be trying as well to keep me steady in the busy Esfahani traffic. I started to think otherwise when he aimed for his crouch.
Then we got down, entered what was nothing else than an abandonned building, climbed three flights of stairs with barred windows and absolutely no light, to reach a tiny lighted room containing a small heater, blankets and a matress.
At this point, you may be asking: why didn't I ran away or something ? Mainly one reason to that: I considered the baker that introduced me this guy an actual friend and a good man - even now, things are quite blurred for me concerning his motivations and I'm unable to satisfyingly judge what really happened, while I tried to cross-reference my experience with the other part of the story that stayed at his place, François, my travel buddy.
Then, feeling a bit stressed, I started drinking, insisting on my sleepiness, and looked insistantly at the blankets. the guy offered me the bed. With him, obviously. Then we started arguing - the guy tried to force me into doing it - was a bit too old for anything anyway. Showed me his parts, patiently explaining my feet would feel warmer there.
I packed my bag lightspeed, escaped his embrace and ran away as fast as I could, half drunk in an unknown suburb of Esfahan. All I thought of doing was following my compass to the east, thinking I'd eventually cross a river I knew. After over an hour, I entered a drugstore open late at night and had this discussion:
- Do any of you speak english ?
- Yep, me.
- I have nowhere to sleep because the guy that hosted me...
- The guy ? (laughs) You're not here by coincidence are you ?
- What do you mean ?
- Well this is the gay neighbourhood of Esfahan, my friend.
After that they called a friend that was one of the best things that happened to me on this trip, but that's another story.
Wanna read more Antoine's adventures? Check out his blog here!