Subject: Re: Oregon GTG &What's YOUR story?
Ah Carol, Thank you for a lovely GTG. And the great lead in to my police stories. I have been late getting this message out due to traveling from Portland to Cincinnati (work related)

My story. In Slovakia. 2nd day. Because I am the Crew Chief for our balloon it falls to me to know how to drive and get around on the ground while my husband is in the air. So Here I am in a van with a large trailer behind it. Trying to navigate through small eastern europe city streets to get to the launch site. I had three men in the van with me with no map open (note that). They told me to turn left HERE! so I did. within 2 blocks a little white car with POLICIA written on the side comes up to my side of the van and the passenger side policman sticks out a white paddle with a red dot on it. (This reminds me of the paddle you use to cover your eye during those old school eye chart tests). No lights, no sirens just a paddle. I realize I have to pull over. I am so upset because of the men in the van telling me directions and now the police coming to my window that I have started crying. (not normal for me) The policeman yells at me in Slovakian. I tell him (through sobbs) I don't speak Slovak I speak English. He yells that I must speak Slovak. I repeat to him, no English. He is actually sticking his finger in my face and shaking it and yelling more. Then out comes the 2nd officer. He is calm and pushes away the other officer. (looked like the good cop bad cop routine). With broken english we understand that I took a left turn where there was no left turn. In Slovakia you must pay the ticket in cash on the spot. It was 500 Kronin. I was so upset that I could not drive and asked my husband to please take over. He asked the nice cop for directions. (then they got out the map) The officer pushed the map away and said in sign language, Follow Me. So we got a police escort to the Balloon Launch field for 500 Kronin, which equals $10. Never got an escort that cheap before. But I don't suggest the experience to anyone.

4 days later I spent 6 hours in a police station getting fingerprinted and having a theft report translated. But that is a different story for some other time.

Mary displaced Oregonian (for the moment)