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Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Gentlemen Start Your Engines

Apparently instead of having Formula One car racing in Croatia they prefered to race coaches.

At least that was the only reason I could think of for the driver having fitted racing slicks to his vehicle.

Which was a really comforting thought as the driver began to negotiate a series of hair pin bends on our way out of Split.

As we gained height you could look down on Split itself. From above there was a stark contrast between the traditional architecture and the stark concrete blocks that had arisen during the communist era.

Sitting there I began to wonder about the driver. He would certainly have been of military age during the conflict.

Had he killed people? Had he fought decently or committed atrocities? Had he fought at all?

This was a question that regularly ran through mind during my time in the Balkans. It was also one which was very rarely answered. Few people would admit to having fought and those who did were very reticent about what they had experienced.

9 Comments:

Blogger Katy Newton said...

I used to get a similar reaction when I asked my German friends what their parents had done in the war. It wasn't meant to be a loaded question, just curiosity, but they always cringed before they answered.

5:52 pm  
Blogger The Boy said...

In the years pre kids I used to do a lot of travel in countries without stop lights (I hate calling it the third world). I particularly remember one night when I foolishly sat in the front seat of the coach, noticed his headlights weren't working, yet he still passed other trucks and coaches, sometimes three abreast.

I think conscious amnesia is necessary in lands that have lived through conflict though.

5:56 pm  
Anonymous Stu Savory said...

Even GWB can't answer that question honestly.

8:34 pm  
Blogger toastedeggbanjo said...

Ahh the coach trip from split, not for the faint hearted. What makes it worse is when you see other coaches lieing half way down a cliff face after the driver got unlucky

9:31 pm  
Blogger gonorr said...

think your coach driver now doing transfers from the airport in Prague to the main drag.
Jeez that was one scary trip.

5:09 am  
Blogger greavsie said...

I remember an old German pilot who flew a small 6 seat plane around the Orkney Islands. His method of approach to the airfield was worryingly steep.

9:04 am  
Blogger Nick said...

Many of the people I've talked to in Croatia and Bosnia about their wartime experiences are reluctant to talk freely - but that's often simply because they've experienced things they'd rather forget rather that they've done things they'd rather you didn't know about (although I've met a few of those people too, I'm afraid).

10:27 am  
Anonymous Mr Angry said...

I was on a golf holiday in tenerife last summer when we took a coach ride to a course on the other side of the island. I think it was driven by your Croatian driver - he must have relocated.

He absolutely flew round the many hairpins on one side of the 'mountain' descent. He only slowed down once he'd clipped a safety barrier and people started crying.

Not me of course. I was too busy hiding at the back whilst assuming the brace position.

12:56 pm  
Anonymous Stu Savory said...

@Greavsie,
Due to the shape of the island, the main runway at kirkwall in the Orkneys has a severe downdraft. So the correct approach is indeed steep, and with more speed and power than usual.

Been there (in PA28 D-EHFS), done that, so it's not just UL.

Stu (certified flying instructor).

8:24 pm  

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