Friday Afternoon on a Crazy Train

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More than 130 people drowned and about 200 are still accounted for after the shipwreck of a vessel full of African immigrants off Lampedusa island. Approximately 500 immigrants from Eritrea and Somalia were crammed on board of the flatboat, seeking a better future in Europe.

Without trying to diminish the severity of this tragedy, the overcrowded vessel reminds me of the situation on a train that I experienced last week. Many Slovaks are coming to the capital, Bratislava, attracted by the job opportunities and the cultural life. But on Friday afternoon, all of them want to get home. This means traffic jam, hundreds of people queuing at the ticket office and trains so full that 15 of us are standing at the toilet.

It is hard to sit down and the the price of privacy is so high in the big cities. I have nothing against the establishment, but they should at least provide decent transport for those who were deprived of work opportunities at home. Or maybe they want to prepare us for the worse.

If they really are rehearsing for future development, we are lucky. Today, I read in a Spanish online daily that a 23-year-old died in Sevilla of malnutrition. The lead-in sentence called them the first victim of famine in Europe. Most of the people on my train were eating sandwiches bought hastily at the station, which is at least a good sign.

The journey was actually not that bad. I was lucky for two reasons: I knew some people at the front of the queue who were able to buy me a ticket, (thanks guys!) and I spent only 1 1/2 hours crammed on that crazy train. The guy hanging on the door next to me started to read a book entitled 'God Hates Us All'. I told him that I can feel it.

Erik Redli is a university graduate from Slovakia who lived in London for much of his graduate life. Read more of his posts here.

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