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Gotthard: Three days to go – dusty, but good guys

Luigi on the job in the workers' canteen.

It’s the stereotype that miners are rough, introverted types, who don’t enjoy company.

But spending a few hours among them is enough to persuade me otherwise.

Lunches at the canteen are plentiful. Pasta bolognese, salad, meat, vegetables and fruit – plus a tankard of beer. But half a portion is quite enough for anyone working in an office.

A few of the younger guys are eating in silence, but others are chatting non-stop, about the morning shift or the week’s celebrations. In all, three parties are being put on for the miners in the next few days.

There’s much laughing and joking over coffee. My computer doesn’t seem to bother anyone, nor do my clean clothes which look at bit out of place among the workers’ dirtier ones. I’m trying to capture everyone’s emotions about the impending world record. Though to tell the truth, emotions don’t seem to be running very high. People keep telling me that October 15 will simply be a day like any other. I don’t believe them.

An Italian mechanic brings me a liqueur after lunch. Please don’t publish my name, he says with a smile. He can’t wait for the festivities. Not because of going down in history – no, he can’t wait for the delicious feast, drinks included, which is being held in honour of the miners.

Luigi Jorio, Faido, October 12, 2010

Luigi on the job in the workers’ canteen.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR