It’s not like that. Each bus approaches one of the four stations where those heading to Ukraine usually stop, we run with tickets in hand indicating the destination: Lwów, Lviv, the first major Ukrainian city for those coming from Poland. It’s not like that. Nobody speaks English. We asked aloud, trying to beat the crowd: “group! Is this going to Lviv? “,” group? “,” group? “.
At two in the afternoon we went to buy tickets, there were no more seats in the bus 16:00, we ordered the following: 17:15. From Lviv, pictures of long queues arrive in front of ATMs, reports of a city under containment, in a state of alertness and uncertainty, and, consequently, supermarket shelves also begin to lack the most nutritious things – and they last longer. : Legumes and canned protein, the freshest, which also doesn’t arrive often in town. At the huge Krakow Central Station, options are not lacking. We load our bags with dozens of bars of cereal, crackers, bananas and nuts. We waited in line for an hour, at a time, to withdraw the Euro, but minutes before our turn the Euro ran out at the only ATM they were offered.
Half an hour before our bus and we are already ahead of the four platforms where the bus will stop, but the exact time comes and goes, again comes and goes, again and the transfer to Lviv is still unknown.
At least 50,000 people have already fled to Poland, those who haven’t passed are still waiting to pass, and the wait is over, for many, in Lviv, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees said Friday. “Can anyone tell me anything about the bus to Lviv?”, ask at the door of another bus. We’re only talking to those who wrote Lwów on a sign leaning on the window announcing the stops, but even so, drivers look at the ticket and shake their heads in disapproval. Until a boy in a fluorescent jacket comes to ask where we want to go. “group”. In Broken English we try to make ourselves understood, he begins to imitate the assembly line, as if taking small packages and laying them next to him. “One bus – late”square on the side. ‘Next bus is late’another box. ‘The next bus is late’. Well it was the buses that were arriving very early and people were just getting on now – at bus time.
Then the boy took us to an information point and there the lady explained, in English, that the buses were arriving more than an hour late. But three have already passed. We quit, back to the podiums. Another bus arrives with Lviv listed among the destinations. It’s not like that. Frustration was audible and suddenly the boy was in Portuguese: “They need help.” But this was not the biggest surprise. Katrina speaks to us in Portuguese, despite being Belarusian. Suddenly we realize it’s Katerina Druga, one of the main Belarusian activists in Portugal (but no one recognized herself wearing a mask). There is an old lady with her in the hood. It is the grandmother, who now does not know whether she will come to Portugal, and whether she will remain in Poland for a while. It’s just that, like Katrina, she can’t enter her country because she has an arrest warrant issued in her name. The family often leaves the country to see it – and flies from Portugal to somewhere near Belarus. A week or two ago, this place was in Lviv, but last Sunday, when Katerina’s grandmother was on the way back, Ukraine had already closed its borders with its neighbor, an ally of Vladimir Putin. The young activist gives us her mobile phone card so we can have internet in Ukraine. “Won’t you need it?” “No, now I can’t go back there, because of Russia, Ukraine has become another country where people can no longer be safe.”
A giant, double-decker bus and baggage trailer appears with a Polish and Ukrainian flag on it. News began to arrive that a curfew was also imposed in Lviv. On this floor it is impossible to reach the border before ten o’clock in the evening, that is, when it imposes itself. It’s not that either, though, going to Ukraine – this bus arrived a day and a half later than it was supposed to, it’s special, it has much more room for luggage that those who didn’t buy a ticket bring. Back. Some people walk in, and the bus continues.
Our bus finally arrived, three and a half hours later than scheduled. On the way to Lviv …
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