Getting close to being arrested near the Belarus-Poland border
This is what happened to me as I was driving in a rental car towards the area of Sobibor
along a narrow little country road near the border river between Poland
in March 2008.
On an otherwise totally deserted little country road I suddenly passed a police jeep parked by the roadside, two officers got out and stopped me. It was clear that I had to produce my passport – but there was something else they wanted to see.
However, the language barrier stood in the way of me understanding what it might be. They didn't speak a word of English or German and my Polish is, well, as good as non-existent too. So we were left with improvised sign-language. Eventually, they dug out some documents from their own car and held them under my nose while pointing at my hire car. Then I understood. Unfortunately, however, I couldn't find the relevant car documents in all the bumf I had been given when I picked the hire car up in Warsaw
. No rummaging would produce the requested piece of paper.
Gradually, nervousness began creeping in on both sides. Then, just by chance, I spotted out of the corner of my eye that something within the plastic block dangling from the ignition key bore a certain resemblance to that document one of the policemen had been waving at me. I pulled the key out and had a closer look – and indeed: folded up neatly and tightly, the car document they wanted was sitting hidden in a slot. To much laughter the mutual nervousness evaporated – they had probably begun wondering whether they were required to arrest this strange foreigner who was probably just lost … and the possibility had just begun occurring to me too. Fortunately everything was now solved and relaxed and they saw me off driving further into the remoteness of the woodland ahead … Next time I was stopped, I was able to produce all the documents like a shot.