Thursday, March 31, 2005


Sometimes I have the feeling I am being haunted. There was one important reason why I didn’t miss my house in Amsterdam. Since months they are restoring the house nextdoor. From early morning on they are drilling and hammering and singing and throwing and pumping and shouting and whatever else makes noise in the most irritating way. Recently they took the whole rear wall out. If I’m lucky it is finished when I come back in July. But I don’t count on it.
Three weeks ago they started working on the road in Sturovo. It started innocently, some men drawing white lines on the bumpy surface they call a road around the park near my house. Two weeks ago the drilling started. They are going to turn it into a pedestrian zone. A lot of work needs to be done. I’m afraid it won’t be finished before I leave here. The drilling usually starts early. I always have the feeling these workingmen think people don’t deserve to sleep when they are up and about already. The first thing they do at 7 o’ clock is take out their drills and shake up the neighbourhood. When everybody is awake they go for their coffee and after that they continue doing the more silent but still pretty noisy stuff.
Last Tuesday I went on a small trip. I left in the morning, outside my house the workers stood in line in a long ditch, shovels and pickaxes in their hands. They looked like serfs. Or prisoners being forced to do the dirty work. But these men get payed to do this work, although I’m afraid it isn’t much. And it didn’t look like they were enjoying it.
I walked to the trainstation, which is about three kilometres off centre. My goal was Trnava, the oldest known settlement in Slovakia. It still has an ancient city wall and seems to be worthwile visiting, although it isn’t as beautiful as it used to be (but what city is?) After two hours the train arrived, I found the hotel I had planned to spend the night and was led to my room which lay adjacent to a big courtyard. In the courtyard a small army of working men ran around accompanied by the sounds known so well so me. They were working on a new parking lot. I stared at the hotelemployee in horror. “Don’t worry”, she said, “they stop at three o clock”. “And when do they start tomorrow morning?” I asked in return. “About seven, half past seven”, she replied. She must have seen the frustration on my face, because before I could follow my instincts and ran out the frontdoor of the hotel, she had called one of the men and discussed the matter. “Okay”, she said, “they won’t start before ten”. I cheered and threw my bags in my room. Silence at last.
The next morning the working men woke me up at seven fifteen. They didn’t bring the heavy drills, but all the hammering and shouting was enough to wake up a deaf person. I complained, ate the funniest breakfast I ever ate in a hotel (they served eggs only, you could choose in what shape you wanted to have them, a glance in the open kitchen showed big piles of those cartboard things eggs are stored and sold in lying around everywhere) and continued my trip. The next goal was Nitra. A trip by bus this time, followed by a nice walk from the station to the centre and after a quick visit to the information office I found the perfect hotel. Fancy but not too fancy, cheap, but not too cheap, nice big room with a nice big bed at the backside of the hotel, windows looking out on a small empty courtyard with a big tree. Perfect. I unpacked the little items I brought with me, sat on the bed and felt the floor shake. A terrible noise followed. Then above my head the drilling started.


Blogger Ellu said...

What is your day to day like as a bridge guard?

12:27 PM  

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