By Stephen L. France
BVI Hitchhiking could be an Olympic sport testing finesse, patience and charisma in a boiling climate the likes of Mount Vesuvius.
Founded in timing, hand signals, physical appearance and a bit of luck, skillful application can mean the difference between the welcoming embrace of an air conditioned vehicle, relegation to the back of a pickup truck packed with garbage, or rejection, leading to enduring the BVI’s scorching heat on the roadside.
Being rewarded with hitchhiking expert status, an individual learns some very poignant rules to proficiency in this fine skill.
This is the primary rule! It’s ineffective ignoring this and waiting at the bottom of Joe’s Hill for a ride to Cane Garden Bay, expecting telepathic motorists. You might be fortunate enough to receive one of these clairvoyants or someone with great empathy, but that hand should always be extended to inform drivers that you require rescue.
The extended hand should point in your intended direction. Thumb up is accepted, but the majority of veteran hitchers point. Also, using the ‘thumb up’ gesture may invite a driver to look you in the eye, give you that feeling that you’re finally getting picked out of the fiery heat of BVI’s sadistic sun and then return your ‘thumb up’ with the identical gesture, driving on right passed you.
The eyes are the route to the soul and your key to escaping death via dehydration. Also, shades will sometimes conceal your identity to the extent that a friend will pass by, similarly igniting that feeling that you’ve been liberated, only to continue driving like you’re a ‘hollow man’.
Have a pick-up organized – a week prior if necessary – or arrange a place to rest your head for the night – there are plenty of open dumpsters with gigantic trash bags to simulate bedding. As a bonus, breakfast is right next to you when you emerge from your slumber. You may suffer a few mosquito bites, but fortune may smile on you again, providing a near-empty can of OFF beside your impromptu breakfast.
It takes no genius to suggest waiting in well-lit areas, wearing bright clothing and donning an expression of pure joy. The joy part is essential for males; in general motorists will be intimidated about picking up hitchers at night. I’m not for one instance advising an insane smile the like of the Black Dahlia. This is more of a pleasant, passive, amicable gesture to say to motorists “I’m cool, but uh, please help.” This is imperative, unless you wish to find out what it’s like to walk mountainous terrain, be chased by dogs and run in a night so black you can’t even see your own feet.
Following these rules should warrant safe journey around our territory, until the day you can afford to upgrade to four-wheel eminence. Disregard the guidelines at your own peril, but this could witness an undesired long night-walk from Bomba Shack to Road Town; that’s three hours and fifteen minutes to be exact, newbies. Three… agonising… hours… and fifteen brutal minutes.