Charming old cars are not the only peculiar things you will see on Macedonian streets. In fact there are a lot of interesting road users worth paying
a little attention to. Walking around you’ll surely get a chance to see horses (actually horse-drawn carts), tractors (with or without trailers) and… donekeys! These last ones are mainly used as porters for empty plastic bottles that are collected by lots of people on a massive scale here. This has to do with two things: firstly, Macedonians use plastic bottles for their home-made alcohols (rakija and wine) and secondly, it’s a very common occupation, mainly for those who don’t have
a permanent job. Streets are kept clean, drink-makers are satisfied with free materials and bottles-pickers are happy with their finds (sometimes the real heaps of plastic “treasures”). The ones that aren’t glad about it are probably poor donkeys loaded with sacks full of bottles.
During last week I came across three animals that had to earn their living by carrying the colourful junk. One of these donkeys had to wait for its owner “parked” next to a STOP sign until the old man emerged from a shop across the street. After a short break he continued with his work and the grey faithful friend was just a couple of meters away to help him out. When I was walking away
I wondered how many times a day do they hunt for the empty bottles… Who knows, maybe next time I will come over and just ask about their little business…?