Forrest Gump was right, life is like a box of chocolate and you never know what you are going to get. Last December I was travelling for work from Frankfurt to Ljubljana. I passed through the security gates and was waiting patiently to board until a twenty-year-old, handsome guy accompanied by two German policemen caught my (and everybody else’s) attention. The boarding started, people rushed to get on and while on a bus to the airplane I remember wondering: “What’s that guy’s story? What has he done? Accompanied by two policemen, but without handcuffs ….mmm.” Slowly getting to my seat I was about to bet that the guy would share an hour flight with me. And chances are he is sitting right next to me!!!
Now, I do not mind occasional conversations with a neighbour on a plane, but I was not ready for a meeting in the afternoon in Ljubljana, so I pulled my iPad out and started to prepare a presentation. Take the hint and don’t disturb, but there was just no escape….we spoke a great mix of languages: street English, street German and some street Italian as my neighbour said.
So where do you come from?
I am from Albania, married and have a kid. They actually live in Bulgaria, I built them a nice big house…
What do you do for living?
I buy very cheap second-hand cars in Germany and then sell them in the Balkans. Life is bad in Albania, you know, the gap between the rich and the poor is huge. I had my own business once – one of the biggest disco clubs in my city, but that was taken away from me….
Do you mind if I ask you why there were policemen around you?
No problem! I am coming from Norway, went there for my car business…. I stayed there for two weeks and violated some visa stuff … now I am traveling from Oslo to Frankfurt, from Frankfurt to Ljubljana, from Ljubljana to Tirana, then by bus or train to my home town. All paid by the Norwegians (giggling – ed.).
How was Norway?
Shitty, they only have lots of money, gas and oil, nothing else. Really cold country, cold people, nothing to do…never again.
What are your plans now?
I am going home for Christmas, have not seen my parents since ages, and then I will come back to Cologne, I actually like it and there are so many cheap but good cars! My dream is actually to go to Russia to sell some used cars there, I have heard the business is really good, Russians are rich. I was hiding my dream these months because of the war…but as soon as it is over I will go!
But how would you deal with your clients in Russia? Not so many people there speak English…
I am a friendly guy, don’t you see?! Well I speak street English, street German and street Italian and I have Albanian friends and family everywhere! They help…
Just landed….well good luck on your long journey home …. with other policemen!
Thanks. Nothing will stop me, I know what I want, I am a fee man, I can go anywhere I want…. and I am coming back to Cologne…I have friends there…and believe me, Cologne is better than any other place in Germany….I’ve seen it all with my business!
The picture is taken from a free photo archive MorgueFile