Monday, May 19, 2008

Finally finding God at the Ukrainian border

There is no need to call the cops.
There was a safe return from the journey to the Ukraine.
A most spectacular excursion, as one may say, and it would take a whole series of postings to tell it all.

To break, as the most important news is that all these horror stories that were being told before to go to the Ukraine, are baseless.
Anybody can peacefully go to the beautiful city of Lvov, stay in most comfortable hotels, meet most friendly people, see the spectacular architecture, use one of the many ATM machines, pay with credit cards, use a taxi and enjoy the many astonishing things to witness.

One hurdle to get access to Lvov is still there.
This is the border crossing between Poland and the Ukraine.
Strangely enough entering the Ukraine took 1,5 hours and returning to Poland, that is now also Europe, took 3 hours.
But it is all very well organised and disciplined: the contrary of the San Diego-Tijuana border crossing.

The journey was made with a group of Polish teachers.
Somehow they allowed the permanent pilgrim and the wife of his cousin to come along on their trip.
Travelling was with a Renault bus.
An older vehicle, bought second hand in France.
With on its side images of a film.

Before to take off documents had to be signed because cousin Jerzek had arranged a special travel insurance.
Covered by 10.000 € (15.500 $) the bus took off and very soon a lady came to all seats offering a glass of vodka.
It turned out that this distribution of vodka continued with a new round every 30 kilometres.
Pretty soon everybody on board was very happy and singing old Polish songs.

No wonder that after one hour of driving the first stop was made at a gas station.
The group of teachers stormed to the bathrooms and to hurry up the relieving the women simply also used the bathrooms exclusively reserved for the men.
Who were unable therefore to use the urinals.

Reaching the border with the Ukraine, hundreds and hundreds of cars and trucks were waiting to cross.
But to great delight the bus simply passed them by and was directed straight in front of the custom and immigration offices.

This was an incredible experience.
Beforehand stories had been told that waiting time at the border would be up to 6 hours.
And the cars waiting in line would spend that amount of time for sure.
But not so the teachers in the Renault bus.
Soon a Ukrainian official entered the bus and collected all the passports.
Within an hour we had them back with a stamp of entrance on the last page.
Luggage was not checked and before we knew the bus was driving on the awfully bad road into the Ukraine.

This experience was astonishing and surprising, even to the tour leader, who had been crossing many times but never so quick.

Hence, the contemplation came that maybe there is no God after all.
But that God is in oneself.
That the person having the experience is God.
Somehow and magically in control of the things that happen.

Of course this is a concept of thinking more far-fetched than a trip to Lvov.
But then, Lvov was beautiful.


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