The Chinese language is no longer heard in Komarna. There are no Chinese who spent four years building the Pelješki Bridge. They went home to distant China. Their work on the Neretva coast is finished, the bridge is built and awaits the official opening ceremony.
For four full years, the permanent residents of Komarna and Brijesta were Chinese workers. About 60 of them doubled the number of residents overnight in these tourist places that come to life in the summer and relax in the winter.
When the bell from the platform on the construction site signaled the end of working hours, the Chinese in smaller or larger groups left the construction site and went to their temporary accommodation in rooms and apartments in Komarna. Then they would be noticed. And they were almost invisible. Quiet, calm, unobtrusive. Dedicated exclusively to what they came for – bridge work. There were no parties, night outs, just occasional walks around Komarna and chats with local residents.
“Nin hao” – good day, has been heard in Komarna for the past four years. The greeting and gentle bow of the tired Chinese to their hosts was an expression of great respect for themselves, but also for the country they came to.
Now the Chinese are leaving, in fact since the New Year their number is getting smaller and smaller every day. Their work is done here. The Pelješki bridge has been built and is just waiting for its official opening. It will be at the opening of everything, but nothing without colorful fireworks because it is a tradition among the Chinese, who shoot for luck and prosperity. “Zai jian” – goodbye, said the Chinese in Komarna, where they lived and built a bridge for four years.
– You can’t believe how hardworking and hardworking they were – Stanislav Vujević, who lives in Komarna with his wife Marijana, tells us. We found him looking at the bridge and the Neretva Canal with binoculars. That’s how it was for the last four years. Every morning he watched the bridge grow, rising above sea level.
– When I saw large ships carrying steel from China, it was clear to me that the bridge would finally be built. No one could do it because there is no company in Europe that has such machinery. At the beginning, it seemed to me that it would never happen, but as the works progressed, the bridge grew “like out of water” – Stanislav tells us.
– We couldn’t wait for this. The Pelješki bridge is the best thing that happened to us – adds Marijana, a little sad that the Chinese are leaving Komarna, but also happy because Croatia is finally united.
– We will miss the Chinese. He will for sure. We also learned two or three words to communicate with them. Nin hao – good day, wan hao – good evening, wan an – good night – say the Vujević spouses.
That was enough for us to come to an agreement – they joke.
None of the Chinese workers stayed in Neretva. He did not marry or settle down, although that could be expected. There are ten engineers left who will be there for another year, they will supervise the bridge, observe the traffic and be at hand for Croatian roads in the maintenance of the bridge.
Residents of Komarna and Pelješac are particularly attached to the Pelješki Bridge. The bridge is a salvation for Dubrovnik, Pelješac, Korčula, which will revive tourism because the journey will be shortened by two or three hours, without waiting at four border controls. Fishermen and shell fishers from Pelješac are particularly satisfied, for whom waiting at border crossings caused major problems. Especially in summer when it gets crowded.
Fisherman from nearby Sreser, Pero Nožica, manages as he knows how. Fish and shellfish cannot wait for three or four hours at border crossings. These are perishable goods that must be delivered to customers on time. Since the fish and shellfish are transported in a truck, everything has to go through customs at Bistrina and Klek, so he thought of transporting them by boat across the Neretva Canal to Komarno, where the customers are waiting for him.
Nothing is easier for him even with the Ploče – Trpanj ferry. There are also big crowds there, you have to arrive an hour early and it is a big question whether you will even be able to board it. But such problems of Pelješki shellfish will soon come to an end because the Pelješki Most will be open to traffic as of Tuesday evening.
– This is my penultimate tour like this. I’ll transport shells like this one more time and then the bridge opens. We will no longer have problems with transportation – Pero tells us, who has had to cancel fish orders several times because he could not deliver them to customers on time.
END OF TROUBLE
Everyone we talked to on the Neretva coast can’t wait for the Pelješki Most to officially open. It was not easy to wait in lines at the borders. Pass four border controls and then again the traffic lights through Neum, where traffic jams and traffic jams also occur in the summer months.
Traveling to Dubrovnik in the middle of the tourist season was a real adventure, regardless of whether you are going as a tourist or for an examination at the Dubrovnik hospital to which the residents of the Neretva Valley gravitate. Now the Pelješki Most solves such troubles and problems for them.
– If the Chinese had not worked on the bridge, who knows when it would have been built. Maybe never – will say Branko Babić from Komarna.
– People just worked and did their job. Even if you came yesterday, you lined up here on the waterfront. Dressed in formal work uniforms