Travelers' differences ..
As strange people exist, so do strange countries. In Singapore, forget about chewing gum, don't drink outdoors in Russia, don't hitchhike naked in Swiss canton Appenzell, but at least cover yourself with a fig leaf !
On the Square of St. Marco in Venice do not feed pigeons ‘cause you’ll pay 4,000 kuna, and don't whistle in Canadian Ontario. If you find yourself in the American city of Quitman and have a chicken as a pet, by no means allow her to quack and cross the road because it is punishable. It is also punishable to wear heels at ancient sites in Greece, or name a pig Napoleon in France, run out of fuel on the highway in Germany, or pee in the ocean in Portugal.
Do you speak English?
Of course, you can't use plastic water guns on New Year's Eve in Cambodia, and if you live in one of the Arab countries (Qatar, Morocco, UAE…) and have not paid any fines or taxes - you cannot leave the country until you have paid off your debt. Want more miracles? If you are somewhere in Croatia, you may wonder even more because there are even more strange wonders that are inexplicable to strangers and often drive us all crazy. The biggest wonder is that our country and some of its companies make life difficult for their citizens instead of making it easier, like the Scandinavian countries. Of course, I look at everything from a passenger's point of view, and politics is of no interest to me at all, but only facts. So, like this…
Zagreb Railway Station and Croatian Railways. It's Tuesday and it's 5am. Some starving pigeons and locked inner corridor doors to the cash registers. On the third platform, a group of Scandinavian tourists, a sleepy conductor waiting for the train and a temperamental love couple kissing on a bench next to a crumpled Lidl bag. They've been there for a long time, forcibly heard because they weren't very quiet, and they have a problem with chronic jealousy. Scandinavian asks conductor: Do you speak English? He murmured something in his beard in Pidgin English, so the cheerful group realized that he was speaking English. They showed him the ticket, and he pointed them to the next platform! They move there and I see them again asking another conductor, who is pointing them back to my third platform. Confused by English knowledge of Croats, I see them still returning to the ticket office because something is not well explained to them. They are strangers. It is normal for our people to confuse everyone,but for strangers it is hysteria and a good topic for afternoon jokes about Croatia. Everyone assures me that our people speak great English and I naively believe everything! I hope that Scandinavians didn't miss the train. And of course, I would send all the conductors and railway workers to the English course!
Believe it or not, it is complicated for us to send a stranger to the platform, and without talking about other things. While one miracle lasted, another began! Croatian railways have made it very easy to get into the Guinness Book of Records because they allow travelers to travel in the past.
I carry memories..
I will not talk about train speeds and wagon comfort, but about the eternal Zagreb-Osijek route, for God's sake - I will! Believe it or not, there are still buses in the morning between Križevci and Dugo Selo! The railroad should have functioned long ago, the Chinese would have built a section from Zagreb to Dubrovnik in those few years of suffering! You still go by bus and train for the price of one ticket. It is a pity that there is no Balaton between Križevci and Dugo Selo, since HZ would organize a ferry ride!
And at the end, when a man returns to his homeland, he no longer sees happy people. They are all thoughtful. As I was getting off the hot train with a few suitcases, the commuter told me that when I was coming back to fill my suitcases with kulen and bacon. If it were other times, his intrusion would be funny - and now it's sad. He doesn't know that I carry memories in my luggage, not food! In fact, I'm sure he'll bring Slavonian delicacies to his old suitcase in Zagreb. We are a generous region, none of us go hungry and thirsty.
If you happen to be in Germany, it's a big penalty to play the piano at midnight, and you can't dance at the restourants in Japan after midnight if the lights are on! In Russia it is illegal to drive a dirty car, and in Vietnam you must not drive it without your hands on the wheel!
If you happen to be in Croatia, none of these should surprise you!
Source: Glas Slavonije
Author: Slobodan Kadić
Translation: Marela Sopta