Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Illegal aliens?! - US!!

September 29, 2009 Today started off as just another beautiful day here in Poland. We were driving along one of the back roads - stopping at villages to take pictures of farmers with horses pulling wooden carts, women in dresses with headscarves raking straw in the fields, and all the other sights that an American would find interesting. Paul was following another car slowly through a village, when two police men waved us over to a parking lot. What could be wrong? We weren’t speeding or tailgating. The officer, in limited English, identified himself as a border guard and asked for our car registration papers, passports, Paul’s driver’s license and his International Driver’s license. Uh, oh. The International Driver’s license was in back in our hotel room. No problem (whew). The guy seemed really nice. But then the two officers started looking at all the stamps in our passports. Back and forth they kept flipping the pages, stopping and then flipping some more. We realized that they were looking for our entry date into the EU. Before we came to Europe we had looked at length of stay requirements on a Tourist Visa, but had seen several lengths of time on the internet; and in the end, just figured it didn’t really matter. Were we legally here for only 90 days or 180?!? I guess it really did matter now. We sat nervously watching from the car. Finally one of officers came over and asked, “You cruise to Portugal May?” “Yes”, we said. He started to get really serious at that point. Our hearts started beating faster. Was it 90 days? Had we overstayed the Visa? Did it expire at the end of August? Were we going to get deported??!!! Paul said, “We were in Russia in August.” “August,” he repeated, “OK.” He went back and said something to his partner. All we thought we understood was “Roosha”. Good enough. He handed us back our documents and we were on our way.

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