Crossing over with Clayton Long

Trip Start Jan 17, 2006
Trip End Dec 01, 2006

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Flag of Poland  ,
Saturday, October 7, 2006

My first expedition into Poland came courtesy of my company in the form of a loaned car for the weekend. My American guest, Clayton, and I decided that we wanted to drive somewhere for the day and I had never been to Poland as yet, so I decided that we would drive there. Now I didn't want my company to know that I had driven to Poland (or outside of Berlin for that matter!), so we went to this dual township called Frankfurt (Oder)/Slubice.

What we had to do is drive to Frankfurt (Oder) and park the car, the walk across the border. Because Poland is a transition country and not yet part of the European Union, there is still border control for everyone who passes, so we had to get our passports stamped when we crossed the border - as I like to fill up my passport with stamps, this was sort of fun for me. So we walk across the border and what do we see? Tonnes of tobacco shops and money exchange houses. Because cigarettes are significantly cheaper in Poland, lots of German people drive across the border to get they coffin nails at bargain prices. I think the entire economy of this town was dependant on this habit. Anyway we get in there and have a little walk around and soon discover how tiny this town is. It couldn't have been more than 15 minutes walk across the entire city.

Being hungry lads, we decided to get something to eat and the only thing open on this Sunday afternoon was the kebab shop. There were in fact two kebab shops, but one was surrounded by homeless-looking characters and the meat on the stick was a bright pink colour - not really appetising or even real. So we went to the other shop that had a hand made rotating stick with layers of chicken on it. This shop was quite interesting and it had this sauce thing that was four bottles of sauce upside down with these squeezy things on the end to distribute the sauce. It looked much like the udder of a cow and functioned the same way when milking it. Having the experience of Berlin where a "big" kebab is a normal meal, we did the same and ordered the big kebab at this place. It was probably the biggest thing I have ever seen in my life - it was like two German kebabs in one!. There was an unbelievable amount of meat in there and I couldn't even close the thing! I had to eat the bastard with a fork! So accompanying the meat was not the usual lettuce and tomatoes and was something I had never seen before, but it was mighty tasty all the same. In the kebab was coleslaw, beans, peas and all four sauces that he had there. Different.

Our next stop was the cigarette shops because I promised my housemate Felix that I would pick something up for him. I couldn't find his favourite brand Lucky Stripe, so we got him some crazy Polish brand. On leaving the cigarette hut, I tried to be clever and use the only Polish words I know "Good day". Through this funny occurrence, I found out that the phrase 'good day' cant be used as a hello and a goodbye, only as hello. So anyway I say "good day" as I was waving goodbye and he got a priceless look over his face - a look of confusion. He then backed away from the window as we walked off laughing about what had just happened. I guess you just had to be there.

I was really surprised by the people of this town because I think I met one person who could speak German or English. I didn't expect them to speak English, but as the German border was literally metres away, I figure they would have at least learned the numbers so they could communicate. Europe is a funny place.
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