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Monday, December 29, 2008

Caravan of Metal Camels

On 20th of December we set sails south on our regular Christmas pilgrimage to Serbia and Bulgaria. We always know and humbly accept that we are a part of a mass exodus of gastarbeiters (including ourselves) from the west to the south but we always hope that somehow we would not be a part of the main wave.

This time it didn't look that bad and at one point Jelica even said 'There is not a living soul on the road'. I didn't quite agree as there were quite many Austrian, German, Swiss, Italian and Swedish cars swishing by, passengers' faces a bit darker than the average Swiss or Austrian's.

What was our surprise then when we got to the border and we realised that there are about 5 km of cars waiting in line to cross the border. We quickly calculated that this would be 6-8 hours of waiting which is a terrifying thing with two kids in the back, one banana and two oranges.

Then I somehow felt compelled to use my diplomatic registration, semi diplomatic status whatever. Sometimes I feel ashamed for that but I somehow managed to get away with 50 min. altogether, something that would have taken many hours otherwise.

But my post was not about that. It was about all those many thousands of people - like us at the moment - who spend their lives travelling back and forth from Zurich to Kraguevac, from Munich to Pristina, from Lucerne to Pozarevac, from Salzburg to Adana and many of them from Wien to everywhere. We sometimes unfairly call them the Viennese Turks or the Turkish Viennese.

Observing all those migrating people would make an excellent sociological research. I wonder if someone did his PhD studying these people's lives, travels, families, the cars they are using, their links with families back in the countries, the financial streams from west to south and the admiration streams from east to west.

I remember these people (or more precisely the Turkish part of them who were crossing Bulgaria) even in the 80s when they were still driving old black Mercedeses full of veiled women and several kids. It seemed to me then that they had some strange, distorted lives.

But....I still often get amazed that now I am in a very similar situation.:-)

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