That day Jojo had 900 kilometers behind him. On his trip across Europe and Asia he’s currently driving through Russia.
“Autumn in Siberia is fantastic. The colors slowly shift between yellow, green and orange on those trees is just a treat to the eyes and you cannot see enough of it. This doesn’t happen in Slovakia. Where did our Slovak autumn go? The last few years I just don’t see it. One day it’s hot, and on another I have to grab my winter coat. Here in Siberia, we’re catching up this Autumn, it’s an experience,” he begins his consistent announcements from his trips.
“We were on the road for nine – ten hours when we realized that we haven’t eaten yet. So we stopped at a gas station.” From the tone of his voice we can assume that things seemed a bit rough. If there are complications on the road and Jojo begins to talk about it, he kind of quiets down a little. He did the same just now. “When we finished eating, we were going back to our car. And that’s when I stepped wrong on my foot and sprained my ankle…” We already can guess that driving in this state won’t be easy. We would already tell him all sorts of home remedies or suggest visiting an ER, but try to think about it when someone is thousands of kilometers away from home and that said person is determined to finish something they’ve started. “I sat in my car and I knew it was going to be painful. The next closest hotel was about 160 kilometers. With cruise control, though, it was bearable,” he explains. We’re pretty sure this requires the eye of an expert, but Jojo wasn’t that sure in that moment. Caught up by his trip and mission that he gave to himself, he won’t let a single injury break him.
“We stopped at the most nearby hotel, which was about 160 kilometers away. It wasn’t hotel Broadway, but a small little hotel that had Turkish symbols at the front. A young man was standing at the entrance, who gave us his attention right away and gave us a beautiful room. In our standards it isn’t luxurious, but in Russia’s, it definitely is. The bathroom is just as big as the room itself. Huge toilet, bidet, sink, plus another room with a bathtub and a huge shower. This hidden Turkish hotel was really nice.”
We ate dinner in the hotel. We ordered a salad when suddenly a huge dish with a large melon was set before them and a beverage from figs, the table ended up slanting just a bit. “The owner of the hotel sat down at our table, who lived in Budapest for a year. From yesteryear’s regime he serviced in the army. We got a debate going, sort of. We tried to gesture our thoughts with our arms and legs due to our language barrier. We spoke with all the languages we knew… He put a bottle of vodka in front of us, on the house. We didn’t decline after all those hours on the road, so we drank with the owner for old memories. And suddenly we were sitting in between people who were interested in who we are, where are we from, where are we going, and we asked about their families, work, life…”
A lot of questions and a lot of answers later, Jojo with Zoli stood up that they’re going to sleep. They of course start their road five in the morning, so they need to gather strength for the next kilometers. The owner did notice that Jojo was limping, and so he didn’t let him back into the room. He decided to help him and took him to a local hospital right away. “And that’s a whole story on its own that stumps one’s mind. I took my needed documents, money just to avoid surprises. The first shock was when we were entering the building with metallic doors. The environment looked so akin to a jailcell, not a hospital. Behind the doors was light, security and through the whole waiting room was a low ceiling and thin doors. Old, including equipment. Scratched benches… I couldn’t take pictures, because my phone stayed hidden. The hotel owner was holding it with my other documents and kept an eye on it, he kept an eye on me and tried to help me. Soon enough he would start carrying me on his arms. He was really kind and helpful. Everything was being solved right away. In a moment I was inside the doctor’s office, it had a door, but they weren’t closing. The whole process where they’re looking into your documents and have to write down your name, trying to pronounce “Jozef”… Samek is a complete absurdity that they cannot even read it. It looked like we have just woken up the doctor. His interest was woken up by the fact that I wasn’t a local. He looked at my ankle. Marked a spot with a pen and sent me for an x-ray. Just a few meters you walk past three doors. It was a horrible feeling of anxiety. As if when you’re watching a movie where you’re being taken to a prison. It felt horrible, I would never take kids there. The whole environment was from a B-grade horror film.” Jojo went through the x-ray. A horrible sound, a clap, and another sound – x-ray from the 80’s. Three minutes and the doctors looked at it for a second, and said that he doesn’t see anything, but it definitely needs a plaster. “I instantly declined, a plaster on my foot is a no go. In the pharmacy they just put a wrapping on my foot and ankle and gave us medicine. I was really thankful and went away as quick as I could, because I really didn’t want my foot to be plastered at all. I have cruise control so it’s definitely bearable.”
After his treatment they went back into their room where they gathered their strengths for the next trip. Lake Baikal was waiting for them, where they are planning to rest for a little, swim and slow down.