In Marshrutka – extremely hot and incredibly close!

In Marshrutka

The land to the people!
The factories to the workers!
The money to the driver!

Die Erde dem Volke!
Die Fabriken den Arbeitern!
Das Geld dem Fahrer!

Did I ever talk about marshrutkas – the daily challenge for everyone who’s not going by car or bike? It’s public transport in form of VW-busses which you can hitch on almost every street corner by waving your hands and paying 10 soms (around 15 EuroCents) and 12 soms after 9pm. Now the callenges:

  1. you have to know their “marshrutkis” (which means “routes” in English and actually comes from the German word “Marschroute”) just by their number and some well-known places written on the front windows – and there are quite a lot of them (I have seen numbers from 100 to 286).
  2. it’s always crowded and extremely hot and stuffy with people standing incredibly close while not so well informed passengers (me!) are bending forward trying to look out of the window in order to not miss their stops (which are of course not announced – although there are rare exceptions!). Then you have to get to the front (without falling on or hitting people) just in time so the driver will know you want to get off or so you can negotiate the exact stop with him (yes, it’s actually mostly him – I have just seen a female marshrutka driver once)
  3. sitting order – you should stand up for all older persons, especially women, for pregnant women and for all persons with children. Sounds great but is not that easy to manage within a packed marshrutka, which is why young men don’t even sit down most of the time.
  4. Due to 1.-3. people are mostly in quite a bad temper, staring somewhere (also in order to avoid point 3) and seem to hate being in the marshrutka in that very moment

– except for some rare moments of happiness, occuring to me personally when I noticed this nice soviet-nostalgic sticker in the car! I wanted to show it to you – either as a promising business model for “ostalgic” Germany or just as a small smiling asset for your way to work in some packed metro, bus, tram or train.

Some things are just everywhere the same!


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