Oulu. With John Lennon and Che Guevara.

Monday morning I left, and my friends dropped me off at a bus stop on the road to Ylkaviesa, a town 28 kilometers away, where I waited with my cardboard sign and my thumb. After a while, I decided to walk and began to sing, inspired by the many car that passed by, ignoring my sign, and the one car that slowed down yet sped away when I walked towards him. I got a lift from an older couple, but ended up in the same situation, 28 kilometer down the road. At a roundabout I waited, and went to the gas station. There was a man who said he could take me to Oulu, and that I had to wait 20 minutes because he would go into town first. He did not come back. In English I think they call it being screwed. The interesting thing was that he was able to be so immoral to me only because his wife – the evil genius – had urged him to do so. And she remained invisible behind the toned car glass. The man only needed to say the words “you wait 20 minutes”, he didn’t feel he was accountable for the vile intention that came with those words. Anyway, I had caught inspiration for a story about a lifter that stayed endlessly without being picked up and survived just because he believed so strongly in humanity and also these lines were created and initially hummed (later yelled) alongside that road in mid Finland:

Mr. McCormack
High on his truck
and he never takes a hitcher (sound of passing truck – real)
Mr. McCormack High on his truck and he never gives a f**k

But would he have taken
this one hitcher
yes he would have run into Lucky McHotten (sound of passing car – real)
and he would have gotten
so much richer
aaa-haaaa

Two Hungarian interpreters brought me to Raahe. Thank you, guys. A young woman finally took me from Raahe to Oulu and even gave me a glass of juice in her apartment. Thank you, Sanna! We said goodbye at a gas station in Oulu, where I soon had my next remarkable experience …

The truth about the Motorcycle Diaries

Yes, I know… you won’t believe it… the man who saw me at a small gas station in Oulu and offered me a coffee as I told him I was hitchhiking north, did look like John Lennon when he was younger – when he was much younger, than what had remained was a loudly belching TV addicted heavy drinker who pulled out his front teeth in order to take a more comfortable sip from his Finnish Karnu-beer. But he was really kind. I really enjoyed being at his place – Thanks, Tuomo! I slept well on an old mattress on the kitchen floor.

Hangin’ out…

So my senses for the Amazing Coincidences were tickled… and in marched his brother who looked like Che Guevara on the photographs they showed me. It was so cool, hanging out with those two men in their mid-fifties and laugh together about two of the greatest men of the twentieth-century (okay, they are my personal favorites). I made some quick shots of the black and white photographs and you can see the result here. By the way, there has been an encounter between Lennon and Guevara, you can read about it here.

Those two Finnish guys on a motorcycle – isn’t it priceless?
It felt a little bit like ‘Men without women’, thus it felt like Hemingway who would be a good third man in our illustrious company. Without intending to be arrogant, I felt like Ernest myself. Instead of an old man struggling with a fish, I had a hitchhiker in mind, struggling with the passing cars that never stopped, yet keeping his wonderful faith in humanity. It was of course inspired by my hitching that day.
They had made long motorcycle trips in the eighties and nineties, for example to Hammerfest, which boosted my ‘Going North’-mindset. Let’s see.
Tuomo proudly showed me a Lenin-bust and said he had visited Moscow ‘many times’. At that moment the James Bond movie ‘Golden Eye’ started, which has the smashing of Lenin statues in its introduction video… So here we were, total strangers to each other, watching James Bond and smiling in our hearts about the similarity with Lennon and Guevara. After the movie we saw some issues about Obama, whose victory a few days later caused me to celebrate so much.
Tuomo was a metal worker, and I was reminded of a crucial voting group during Obama’s campaign. All fell into place before the lights went out.

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Kamiel Choi

Dutch philosopher and poet, sometimes sharing thoughts on the internet.

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