Heading Back Through Poland – Eastern European Road Trip

This is part six of a tale about driving from the UK to Estonia, and back again. If you missed earlier segments, and want to start from the beginning, it can be found by clicking this link: Road Trip From the UK to Estonia.

We pick up the tale in the early evening, in the south of Lithuania in Marijampoles, close to the Polish border. We just pulled up at a roadside hotel.

So the hotel is called the Rezidencija Grizulo Ratai – they have a Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/grizuloratai.eu

I was surprised to find my room had a big jacuzzi in there. Just what the road weary traveller needs!

Being the FSU, the food was pants, everything was “finished”, the wine warm and the service patchy at best. But not bad enough to be considered bad in this region. The room was respectable, and the bed comfy.

Breakfast however, didn’t start till 9am.

What kind of roadside hotel doesn’t start breakfast until 9am? Most people want to be on the road by 8am – many earlier. These people really haven’t got the grasp of the hotel business. The lack of other guests would seem to support that.

However, time to crack on, we were exactly 1000 miles from Rotterdam now, so two more days at 500 miles a day to go.

We leave the FSU and head back into the land of tractors, trees and trucks: Poland.

The day ahead means crossing all of Poland in one day. I had grown weary of the travel already, and I wanted to be at home with my wife and daughter. My son was also getting fed up by now and missed his Mum somewhat.

Poland was a complete pain in the arse this time.

The moment we crossed the border, we were flagged in for a customs check.

I *really* wasn’t in the mood, I had 500 miles to cover and these guys were holding me up, and a bribe wasn’t on the table.

They asked me all the usual stuff about where I had been and where I was going and took the vehicle documents to check them on a computer in their van.

They opened up the van and it was pretty full of stuff. They asked me if I had any cigarettes (this is the smuggling route from Russia). I said yes, and showed them the ones I had bought in Belgium. Then they tried to be clever, it went kinda like this:

“Ten cartons? Hmm, we will probably have to confiscate these”
“You will be confiscating nothing. They are EU bought, with tax stickers and receipt, and we are still in the EU, unless you forgot”
“Maybe they are from Russia?” says he while glancing through the Russian visas in my passport.
“You can read, yes? Observe the receipt with a Belgian address. Observe the Benelux tax stickers”
“They might be fake”
“What, the receipt too? Big effort that would be for ten cartons don’t you think? This is silly, Can I go now?”
“We are still checking your vehicle”
“How long is that likely to take?”
“As long as it takes”. [Translation: Maybe you will bribe us]

Aha.

“Probably we should unload your van to check for contraband” [Translation: Maybe you will bribe us]
“Go right ahead. However, do be careful, and I will hold you accountable for breakages and competent reloading”
“It isn’t our job to reload the van”
“Can you show me something official that says that?”

— Silence. —

“Have you checked the van documents yet?”
“We haven’t finished yet.” [Translation: Maybe you will bribe us]
“Do you intend to unload the van?”
“We haven’t decided yet” [Translation: Maybe you will bribe us]

Five more minutes of such nonsense passes. I start to see my arse a bit by now, so I try this……..

“Does that van have an internet connection on all those computers in there?”
“Of course, why?”
“Can you get me the phone number for the British Embassy in Warsaw please? I think I need advice here and this “check” seems to be making no progress and I see no reason to delay a fellow EU citizen in this way. Also write down all your names, numbers and ranks if you would, thanks.”

He walks to his van, they have a swift conversation, he returns with my vehicle documents and says, “You can go”

“Gotcha! No bribe today!” I thought as I was driving off.

Because Poland has this huge motorway crossing most of it, all the people that sell stuff at the side of the road are confined to small areas either end of the motorways and out of the towns now.

This creates an unusual visual situation where the folks selling tomatoes, potatoes and honey are vying for the space with the roadside hookers. Now, these hookers have clearly read ‘Hooker Marketing Strategies 101’ or something, because these don’t look like the usual drugged up skanks you might normally see by the roadside. There were some properly done up, well dressed, seriously attractive looking women out there. So noticeable were they, that the truckers were dramatically slowing down for a better look and this was causing more than the usual traffic congestion.

Progress through Poland was mighty slow. Traffic was very heavy and there were roadworks everywhere.

I sat in one traffic queue over an hour without moving more than twenty feet. Poland will be OK when its finished, but right now its just one huge contraflow.

Even when we were moving, the usual Polish rural stuff gets samey after a while.

But most of it was motorways. For hundreds of miles. That all look the same.

The motorway was punctuated by the odd town, that also all looked the same by now……..

Time came to stop for the night, around 500 miles on the navigation was showing for Rotterdam, and we were at the Polish/German border. I had so had enough of Poland after such a long day, so decided to cross into Germany to seek out a hotel……even though it would be more expensive. At least everything wouldn’t be “finished” like in the FSU, right?

The Russian “Mail Order Bride” Industry in 2011/12

The so-called “mail order bride” industry, which primarily is focused on Ukraine, and secondly Russia, has been changing in recent years. The days of American guys rolling up in any Russian or Ukrainian city, flashing a US passport and being swamped in model-quality girls are long gone. This is 2011, not 1991. Women are not desperate to leave any more.

Men seeking a Russian or Ukrainian wife need to understand the dynamics of the society they delve into. Men fixated on the idea of importing a model-quality wife, twenty-five years younger than themselves are likely heading for disappointment. It has passed into internet folklore the “fact” that any obese, older guy can snag himself a super sexy Eastern European wife with little more to offer than his country of residency and his wallet. He can still do that as long as he accepts that the marriage will likely not last longer than the time it takes her to get a green card or permanent residency in his country.

The sensible guys nowadays need to accept their limitations. This does not mean that a guy cannot delve into Eastern Europe, if he knows what he is doing, and end up with a well-intentioned and beautiful wife. He can. But occasionally, reality checks are in order.

I was recently communicating with a British man who had made over thirty trips to Ukraine in search of a wife. After several years, and all these trips to Ukraine, he is still wifeless. No good prospects on the cards either. In these circumstances, we must examine not only him, but what he is looking for, and ascertain if it is realistic.

The gentleman in question is in his fifties, and has one or more ex-wives in the UK. He has a number of children; some of whom are either resident with, or spend significant time with him. One of these children has some type of special needs requirement. He is a nice guy; intelligent, witty and personable from what I can make out. He is affluent enough to afford the whole foreign wife endeavour (which many men are not).

What is he seeking? A large breasted, yet extremely slim and very beautiful woman in her twenties; that is twenty to thirty years his junior. Is that realistic? No. Here was my advice to him:

Your situation isn’t what local women seek to embrace; they already eschewed it. Why would a two decade younger, beautiful one, with a large chest from a poor country embrace it? Times are a changing. Desperation is fading. Your lack of success is testament to that. A reality check is needed. Late 30’s and early 40’s is the group you should be looking in. Perhaps with a kid or two.

My advice was not well received.

What many men in a similar position fail to realise is that desperation in these countries is fading. Finances are improving and women are less likely to choose self-export via marriage as a life choice as that happens. This is underlined by the fact that the “mail order bride” industry pretty much doesn’t exist any more in the affluent corners of the former Soviet Union (FSU) and proliferates in the more impecunious corners. Scamming also proliferates in the impecunious corners as desperation breeds corruption and dishonesty.

As proof of this, if we look at some FSU countries, we will see that the “mail order bride” industry has vanished altogether. In relatively affluent Estonia, Latvia and the Czech Republic, women are not seeking self-export via marriage as a life choice. There is not a single foreign-facing marriage/dating agency in Estonia any more. There hasn’t been for a decade or more.

Compare that to Ukraine. Ukraine is still bristling with foreign-facing dating and marriage agencies; new ones are opening every day (the honesty of many of these is open to question but that is not the subject here). Russia still has many agencies based there, but fewer in the more affluent corners like Moscow and Saint Petersburg. In Russia, the agencies reside in places that fewer foreigners venture to. Places like Rostov, Samara, Togliatti (Tolyatti), Vladivostok and Barnaul.

The link between women’s desire to export themselves and average income is an undeniable fact.

On the other side of the coin, I was recently communicating with an American man who also complained about his lack of success in the Eastern European dating arena. He told me:

I am good looking, healthy and relatively young. I have a good job and make good money. I know how to treat women very well. I am enjoyable to be with. I am interested in starting a family and having children.

Most women on learning this will think, “What’s wrong with him then?” and will muse on why he can’t find a woman at home. They simply will not believe the accounts given by Americans of the bad dating environment in the US; the “entitlement” attitude they encounter, and the subsequent lack of availability of appropriate and slim women.

His “benefits” of being young, in good shape and of a normal state of mind may actually work against him in some circumstances. I would be inclined to explain to the women I wrote, in a very careful manner, why I was seeking a woman from abroad if in his shoes (without disrespecting my local women). Its like sales training for those that ever had it; overcome the customer’s objections before they are even raised. Marketing oneself long-distance to women is a skill that takes honing and development.

The introduction letter is a vital tool; a first impression that cannot be left to chance. One must hire a competent Russian interpreter and translator to help craft and hone your introduction letter. Preferably a female one, as women understand the target market: Women.

Understanding the society you are delving in is also essential. You cannot rely on the twaddle written on dating sites. Russian dating sites are geared up toward telling you what you want to hear. They will wax lyrical about how these ladies “love to make cosy home” and “love to cook tasty meals” – which may be true sometimes. But not all the time. You will find the same guff written on the profile of many “professional daters” (scammers to you), often from Odessa or Kiev, who entertain a different foreign guy each weekend, and have a Prada and D&G fetish. Preferably at your expense.

To get to the real facts about a Russian or Ukrainian wife, and how, in 2011/12, you can find one, you need to educate yourself. This means learning from those who have spent much time in the former Soviet Union; and who are in a cross cultural marriage already.

The road to a beautiful Russian or Ukrainian wife is still possible to travel; but you must enter the arena educated and with a good idea in advance of what is possible and what is not.

The “mail order bride” industry is changing. Marriage agencies are not the future. As Russian and Ukrainian women embrace the internet at home, social networks are the way forward. Sites like Planet Love Match have recognised this already and are responding to the changing environment. Mix the dating site together with a social networking site, in both languages – brilliant but simple.

Foreign dating is changing. Get ahead of the curve by educating yourself.

Stuart J. Smith is the co-author of the Russian Bride Guide: How to meet, court and marry a woman from the former Soviet Union. He has guested on many radio shows on the “mail order bride” subject. He runs the busiest Russian women information discussion forum on the internet today.

Russian Ukrainian Adventures Newsletter – Fall/Autumn 2009.

The forum has been on rocket fuel recently. We remain the busiest Russian women information forum on the net by far, and are well on track to also become the biggest! August was another record month for the forum: More new topics than any month for over a year and a half, third highest post count ever, biggest page views ever and we also smashed our “most on-line” record too!

As RUA continues to grow, so does our membership. We also picked up more new members during August than at any time since April 2007 (the month this board started). Many of them are arriving from another forum that seems to be on the verge of being abandoned due to poor management. So if you have recently joined us from over there – welcome! You are in good company. You will find many people you already know here.

Russian Ukrainian Adventures Newsletter – Summer 2009.

We recently opened a new room entitled Women from the Eastern Bloc – Countries within the FSU Sphere of Influence. This room is for discussion about “Eastern Bloc” women. Perhaps women who are not strictly FSU, but women from countries under the former Soviet sphere of influence. If you are involved (or hoping to be involved) with a woman from Czech, Romania, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria, etc., we have a room for that specific topic! If you are Polish, Romanian, Czech or a citizen of this part of Eastern Europe, then come on by, we welcome your expertise and look forward to chatting with you.

Eastern European Girl – Large Age Gap – Cheeky Girls

Frankly, I had no expectation of anything romantic happening between us, although I must admit that I was secretly hopeful. When, two months later, we became more than just friends, cynics derided our alliance. To them it just had to be a stunt, after all I was 41 and she was 24. They cited my quirky reputation and wonky face as evidence against me,


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