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What you learn!!!

- June 10th, 2012

Whoever said travelling provided some of the best kind of schooling, knew what they were talking about?

Six days in Poland and Ukraine at Euro 2012 and there’s a lot of things that have surprised, shocked and enlightened us.

Car rentals:  Yes, despite all the problems we managed to rent a car to take to the Ukraine. It will be the first and last time. Rental for the car was 84 zlotys; administration charge 30 zlotys, 500 zlotys for allowing us to drive the car into the Ukraine. Then there’s a 25 zlotys pickup and 25 zlotys dropoff charge otherwise known as pocket change or bribe money to make things easier.

The car was a Fiat Panda (if the names not bad enough, it was a robin’s egg blue), not big enough to hold my lunch but driven with expertise by colleague Cathal Kelly who made that mewing, gasping, sewing machine engine go head to head with a country full of Lada’s.

 

Crossing the Ukraine border: Usually it takes five or six hours to cross but if you have tickets to a match or accreditation it only takes one . . . so they say.

You spend the first 30 minutes having your passport and car registration looked at by Polish border guards before moving 20 feet, crossing a white line and having the same process repeated by Ukrainian border guards in the same line. They do it in case in those 20 feet you managed to sneak someone into your car even though there are enough soldiers and guards to form a sizeable infantry.

 

Friendly women: There are wood nymphs in Poland. As you streak along in your Panda at 80 kilometres and hour, you travel through several impressive swaths of Polish forests. Suddenly from nowhere you see an attractive young woman rather alluring clothing at the edge of the road with no abode to be seen. Travel another half of a kilometer and there appears another women dressed the same way, again appearing out of nowhere. Drive another little while and yet another impressive women stands by the road. No doubt these friendly residents are looking to make you feel welcome although it is a rather strange way of doing it.

 

Work for everyone: In some of the more out-of-the-way railway crossings in the Ukraine, you’ll find a well-appointed small structure. When a train is about to cross a road, out comes the woman or man and they push a button allowing the crossing arms to come down. When the train has passed, they push a button and the arms come up. I don’t know what it pays but it’s nice outdoor work.

 

Best quote of the trip: “Those apples are so big. I’ve never seen anything like it. What are they?”  I asked  the women in the grocery store.

“Apples,” she said.

Second best quote of the trip: “Wow, your English is very good?” to a helper in the media centre. “I can understand it almost completely. Did you learn in school?”

“Yes,” he responded. “In school where I was born and live . . .  Cleveland . . .  Ohio.”

 

And finally, “Hello sir, are you looking for something? How can I help you?” said the woman volunteer.

“Do you speak English” I asked.

Duh.

 

 

 

Categories: News

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3 comments

  1. Andy W says:

    Have you seen any road-side sausage stations, Morris?

  2. Morris Dalla Costa says:

    Yes indeed, nice, big, meaty, fat ones with sauerkraut.

  3. Andy W says:

    Excellent!!! Loving all the blogs, keep up the great work.

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