The Hitchhikers’ Guide to Reunion

Would you let a complete stranger into your car? I do it regularly, and picking up hitchhikers has allowed me to meet some very interesting people.

My first year in Reunion, I didn’t have a car and I remember how frustrating and difficult it was. Now, I always try to stop if I see someone with their thumb up on the side of the road.

There was the retired hotel manager who told me about his invention. He’d designed an eco-friendly car part that would allow cars to run on sea water rather than petrol.

And once there were two teenage girls who I picked up just as my young son was getting tired and grumpy in the back seat. All three of us ended up singing a mix of English, Créole and French songs for the entire ride to St Denis until my son feel asleep.

One of the first times I ever picked up a hitchhiker, we ended up having a fascinating discussion about world politics, green versus red hot chillies, and which English accent is the most difficult to understand (to be diplomatic, I won’t say which one we decided on).

After dropping the man off at his destination, I realised I’d just spend half an hour chatting to one of Reunion’s most famous Maloya artists. I can’t wait to see which interesting person I meet next on the side of the road!

Vocabulary

Hitchhiker – Autostoppeur
Thumb – Pouce
Retired – A la retraite
Eco-friendly – Ecologique
Part – pièce détachée

To run – Faire fonctionner
Rather than – plutôt que
Teenage – Adolescent
Pick up – Recouperez
Grumpy – Grognon

Chilli – Piment
To drop off – Déposer
To realise – Se rendre compte 

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