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Translation:Notes of an international tramp

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Notes of an international tramp (2014)
by Viktor Pinchuk, translated from Russian by Wikisource

An article from the newspaper "Krimskoye vremia" (Crimean Time), published on September 4, 2014.

3753213Notes of an international tramp2014Viktor Pinchuk

In which only places the author of these lines did not have to stay for the night, including such peculiar... as cemeteries. Do not rush to turn the page with a grimace of displeasure: we are not talking about the rituals of satanists, and vandals with necrophiles will not be mentioned. In those distant lands where I happened to visit, there are no such outrages. Having traveled with empty pockets more than 30 countries of the world, mostly exotic, I will tell about spending the nights in places that you will never see even in the most unusual fantasies. Everything described below is based on my own experience.

Between Namibia and Angola


Indonesia: In the homeless people commune[edit]

By the islands of Indonesian archipelago, the number of which estimated as several thousand, I traveled for more than 40 days. In Jakarta, the capital of the archipelago, rooms in hotels are not cheap (from $ 25 and more — Auth.). Having learned this, I started looking for a secluded corner. Soon luck smiled at me: an unfinished building, surrounded by a fence with a large metal gate. Through the holes I noticed people and called out to one of them. The gate was opened by a young guy, and then an old woman came out. In response to my request, pronounced in the local language, the "household" looked at each other and escorted upstairs, highlighting for the guest... an entire floor in a "building" without walls. And what are the walls in Indonesia for? Cold weather does not happen here, and the roof, that is upper floor ceiling, saves from the rain. I stayed in the "homeless hostel" for three days. Somewhere far on the horizon, elite hotels sparkled in the evenings with neon lights, and below was a pile of rubbish. The owners offered me large square mattress, laying on the concrete floor and offered a rag for cover. No need: as international tramp with considerable experience, I always have a roll mat, blanket and an inflatable pillow. But, most importantly, now I got the opportunity, leaving my luggage in the temporary shelter, to wander the streets. Who wore a backpack for days will understand me.

In the city of Surabaya, which is not inferior in size to the above-described metropolis, the circumstances were different. I arrived here around midnight. The road from the bus station to the center took an hour. Leaving the bus, headed forward, measuring the nooks and crannies with a sniper's gaze. I walked past a large company of homeless people who settled down on the asphalt... Stop, back! That's what I need, — deep night, there is no time for long searches. Contrary to expectations, the "colleagues" took the stranger into their ranks reluctantly and allocated only a small section of "living space" a meter from the highway, along which cars passed all night. Well, even so...

China, Guangzhou, Guru-bum

Namibia: Where does Robinson sleep?[edit]

A person who thinks pragmatically is unlikely to end up in deserted places where the Himba tribe lives. Most likely, he will not go to this part of Africa at all... without a guide. However, why a guide if you have a TV? The flies are dying, longing reigns everywhere: how boring are they, lovers of beach tourism and corporate events...

Epupa Falls is a whole gallery of waterfalls in the African outback. Here in a deserted place, at distance about two or three kilometers to the nearest settlement, I came up with idea to swim the stormy river. At result madman-experimenter was carried away by waters and washed up to the opposite bank, belonging to a neighboring country — Angola. In the jungle, where only ants were present from living creatures, I lived 24 hours: walked in a skirt of large palm leaves, ate small leaves, slept on a "mattress" of grass.

Apparently, the guardian angel intervened: the next day I was rescued.

…Three years have passed. Sometimes I remember this overnight stay, comparing my current image in the mirror with a possible option — as a result, I could turn into something similar to one of mummys of the Kiev Pechersk Lavra.

Malaysia: One week in the empty skyscraper[edit]

Have you ever seen a haunted castle? Only in the movies? What about skyscraper?..

In Malaysia, abandoned ruins are not occupied by the homeless. A courtyard with an empty watchman's booth at the entrance and five sixteen-story houses, where pipes, railings and an elevator were completely dismantled, gave me shelter at the beginning of a six-month trip. The buildings were built according to the peculiar project: long balconies, along which rows of apartments stretched out, were located not outside, but inside along the perimeter. And below, on a large concrete platform, were lying in the dust the remains of furniture and household items, moistened by the heavenly moisture of the rainy season. In complete darkness, illuminating the stairway with a flashlight, I went into my apartment on the sixth floor in the evenings: didn't move higher, because steps was slippery in places from "swamp silt". Shin the beam of flashlight on the upper floors... Horror. After returning from a trip, I read some tips for tourists on the Internet: do not stay in Kuala Lumpur hotels that are not equipped with air conditioning (with a fan. — Auth.). I have not stayed in such hotels...

Japan: fell asleep among the dead[edit]

During a two-week stay in the Land of the Rising Sun, I had to spending nights in a wide variety of places. Most often in attics (non-residential floor. — Auth.) of nine-story buildings. In Kyoto, I slept near the elevator in the peculiar student dormitory, where the entrance and exit are not controlled by anyone, and the corridors on the floors are littered with old TVs, pans with frying cutlets that have lain more then month and other items of household. I spent one night visiting a local cameraman. But the most unusual overnight stay was at the cemetery. Hiding completely in the "sarcophagus" of the sleeping bag (it was in January. — Auth.), falling asleep, I heard some rustles: either the cat began a night hunt, or a dead man came out of the grave to look at the eccentric guest.

China: Lecture of the station homeless person[edit]

This country is different from the ones listed above. If, for example, in Malaysia it is possible to freely enter an abandoned skyscraper, and in Japan to slip unnoticed into the lobby of a residential building, then in China this will not work. Consider, for example, the city of Guangzhou, located near the border with Hong Kong. There is a wholesale market here, so buyers and resellers of all stripes come here. Not all Chinese have the means to spend the night in hotels; many sleep on the territory of the station, spreading a newspaper or cardboard. In addition to newcomers, three homeless people live here. I spent two nights in their company. One of them, an old man, makes only indistinct sounds — apparently he mute from birth, the other is middle-aged, sullen and taciturn, but the third, the youngest of the station inhabitants, does not look like his colleagues. He gave a short lecture to the newcomer. As a result, I learned that backpack should not be left unattended during sleep, but need embrace tightly with hands sand keep it that way all night under the blanket. Likewise with shoes, regardless of the degree of wear and tear — it is advisable to hide "under the pillow", otherwise will be stolen. To what has been said, it remains only to add that all the surrounding buildings, be they residential buildings or offices, are carefully guarded from lovers of free overnight stays, including foreigners: verified by me personally.

Zambia: Overnight at the Police Station[edit]

In the suburbs of Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, possible find guesthouses with a democratic price, but I arrived in the city late in the evening — it’s dangerous to walk belong outskirts at the dark time. Decided to act with a proven method.

For a long time, the police officers could not understand the essence of what was happening. According their understanding, if a foreigner has no money, he should stay at home, and if funds are available — should live in hotel. In the end, after asking all imaginable and unthinkable questions, they escorted me... under the stairs and allocated three square meters of "living space", for which, in fact, I claimed.

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