I’d been very careful to spend all my Ukrainian cash before I reached the Ukrainian/Polish border. The petrol tank was full, the road, typical of so many border roads was less than good.
I saw the café as I came around a bend; the speed was sufficiently slow that I just glided in and came to a halt. And remembered that I’d spent all my money; they didn’t take cards in isolated establishments like this.
No soup for me then, this lunchtime; I sat on the bike and took the opportunity for a smoke.
Moto Gelato has straight through pipes. The exhaust roar had heralded my arrival and after a few minutes and short woman in her forties, face nut brown from the sun and creased with smile lines, sporting a slight belly and good legs appeared at my elbow.
The conversation went something like this. “Sprachen sie Deutsch? Nyet? Where are you going to? North by Northwest? To Poland? You have a wife? Where is she? Where have you come from? Odessa? When you last have sex? You like to have sex with me?”
Now I know that I am not a large and physically beautiful man exuding sex appeal with every lift of the eyebrow so this was hardly going to be a straight proposition, here in the heat of the midday sun at lunchtime, while I was still wearing my helmet.
“You have cash, euros?” said with a winning smile.
I hope I was polite in my refusal. “Madame”, I replied, “I cannot afford a bowl of soup, let alone your sexual favours, wonderful as the might be”
“Hryvna?” with a regretful smile once more creasing her face.
“I would like soup. Can you accept Hungarian Forints?”
She smiled, I smiled, I started the bike and rode away. I saw her, in mirror, waving.
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