As you know, Jim and I were given a ride to Doobrovits (my OWN spelling) to attend Jeanne and Kolya’s wedding. Driver Dan knew the way to Rivne very well because his in-laws live there, but he had never been to Doobrovits nor to Bereshki (Kolya’s village) before.
Jeanne and Kolya were picturing us on public transport all day and repeatedly called to check up on us, and to make sure that we had made the proper transfer in Rivne to be en route to Doobrovits. We didn’t lie, but we just didn’t tell them that we were riding with Dan — he wanted to surprise them.
We made one restroom stop — women to the left, men to the right, turkeys wherever!
All was going pretty well until we somehow got off of the main road that led to Doobrovits. Jeanne and Kolya knew that we were close because we had let them know when we had left Rivne. They were waiting on a street corner to meet us so that we would be sure to get out of the bus at the proper spot.
Dan was aware that he might be on the wrong road, but when we were stopped by a passing train, he took the opportunity to run up to the taxi ahead of us and ask if we were headed in the right direction. The driver assured us that we were on the right track. Which we were. But it wasn’t the BEST way. Dan drove for miles on a cobblestone road — opting to take the sandy shoulder whenever possible.
Jeanne was getting a little concerned that we hadn’t arrived yet and called to ask us what color our marshrutka was — I told her we were riding in a white van. All true. She was asking me to describe landmarks that might give them a clue as to our whereabouts. There was NOTHING but farmland. I assured her that we were close.
Meanwhile Dan got the bright idea to look on the map and see which village is just PAST our designated stop. When Jeanne called again, I mumbled something like “I read Kolkee or something like that. I remember that it reminded me of Kolya’s name.” She mentioned the village to Kolya and I heard her saying UH OH! She passed the phone to Kolya who wanted me to pass the phone to the driver. He was going to ask the driver to let us out right there, but he first needed to know exactly where we were. Then Kolya was going to take a cab to pick us up from the side of the street.
I lowered the phone away from our conversation within the van as we were all beginning to laugh at our funny joke. I wasn’t sure exactly what to tell Kolya at that time, so I simply disconnected the phone. He persistently called back 3 or 4 times in a row, and I just as persistently disconnected the calls. (That’s the ONE advantage to poor cell phone reception — it didn’t seem TOO odd that we couldn’t stay connected.)
As soon as we entered Doobrovits, I called Jeanne back and said that she should see us soon. We were just kidding about Kolkee. She informed us that we had really “gotten” Kolya — he couldn’t figure out how in the world we had ended up en route to the other village.
As we approached the corner where they were standing, Kolya commented that the white van looked like Dan’s — his van has a white bumper and most of the white marshrutkas here have black bumpers — and as he turned the corner Kolya realized that it indeed WAS Dan. Not until the van stopped and Kolya approached to greet his friend did they realize that Jim and I were also in the van — dark-coated windows kept us hidden!
We were relieved to be there; they were relieved that they didn’t need to worry about us any longer; we were thankful to pull off a pretty good surprise; and we only had about an hour to kill before the ceremony. We went to a cafe with Kolya’s sister and a friend and enjoyed some good laughs about our adventure.
Then we headed for the administrative building for the big event…
To be continued…