February 27th, 2009
So, we just completed our first major Polish adventure. We wandered out this morning in search of food and ended up repeating a pattern. Whenever we're in a new place, we wander outside with the intention of finding food. Not any food -- but REAL food. The stuff that REAL people in the area eat.
(You and I both know that REAL people eat McDonalds, KFC, and the crap that meerkat
won't eat, but forget that's true for a moment.)
So we wander around looking for a suitably authentic place. Some place that serves the local food. The sort of place the Polish equivalent of a trucker would walk into, sit down at the counter, and order whatever it is that Polish people eat.
And we keep wandering.
And we wander more.
And we're REALLY hungry...
And -- OK -- next food place we find, let's eat there.
Hey, there's a pizza place! Let's go there!
(the wandering itself is a write up all its own. In summary, we found a couple of neat places around the old town and the main square.)
We ended up eating a Sredna Hawajaska -- a medium Hawaiian pizza.
(In the process, we ended up walking by two separate Irish pubs, two separate jazz cafes, a
thai place, a chinese place, and a couple of expensive restaurants)
As we were munching (and half watching the marriage episode of Friends), we pulled out the guidebook and the arrival packet to look at things that we thought we should see. Then we decided we should locate a grocery store.
So we look at the packet and find a couple of places that list a "big supermarket" in her arrival packet. I think "OK, great, let's start walking down this street" and she says
"That's a really long way". Well -- loathe as my testosterone is to admit it, it IS a long
So we decide to find out how the bus system works.
We wander around for one of the "ZTM" signs or RUCH kiosks. We wander into a drug store
with an entirely unhelpful woman who didn't speak English. We wander into a liquor store
and tentatively ask for "autobus". He starts showing us a couple of different bus tickets
and cycling through them. meerkat pulls out the dictionary and asks for "weekly".
The guy shakes his head and comes around the counter to point at the "metro" where we can
presumably get such a thing. He points down the street and points in a squiggle to show
that we should bear right at this one point.
We go down there and see our first porn theatre! Rock!
We continue on our way and run across a kiosk where we can get a ticket and the woman inside
also informs us (through a mixture of hand gestures) that we can get a 3-day pass. We go
for that and climb on a bus that'll take us to the right direction -- a giant mall with a
(Along the way, we passed the Chinese embassy, the Polish museum of Marie Curie, and the memorial to the Warsaw uprising. By the way, there's symbols all around town -- graffiti left by the Polish resistance to show that they were still in action. This place is a WWII nut's dream in that sense)
We get off there and would have missed it if it weren't for me having noticed that it was
at the "CENTRUM" stop (meerkat was looking for the name). We climb off and sure
enough -- there IS a giant supermarket.
The intersection there is so large that there are no crosswalks on it. You walk under the
street. As we do so, we're assaulted by all sorts of donut and pizza and food places that
people are grabbing food at and munching away at as they go. At one corner of it is four
old guys who were warming up on instruments. One of them played a fragment of "Rhapsody in
Blue". We ended up walking by them a couple of times trying to figure out where to go out.
We walk over to the supermarket and it's closed. Crud. Ok, let's go by the mall and look
We do so -- and meerkat decides she's thirsty -- so we stop in a "1 minute" store
with a very nice lady in it. There's two things of water that we were trying to discern
the difference between and we decided that since I want water, we'll get one of either.
The difference ("gazowata" or something like) that was carbonated and non-carbonated.
As we walk out, I say "Proshe" and the lady smiles at me and says something in Polish that
sounds complimentary. Then she says "Do veedznya" as we walk out. meerkat was
quick to point out that she said "Be seeing you" -- something I've always approved of in
We wandered into another place that seemed like it might have food. It was a collection
of various expensive things -- organic foods and the like. Also, chocolate soap which
proved too much to resist. meerkat said "Proshe" and thought the girl gave us
a funny look. We looked it up later and "Proshe" means "Please" and "You're welcome".
Then meerkat realized that the time difference had screwed us up and that she
was going to need to take her pills. We tromped back pretty quickly and realized we needed water.
We found a little store next to the telepizza place and got a couple of things -- more toilet paper, *strawberry* juice (even MORE tasty than it sounds), water, milk, and cereal.
We got to the apartment, and she took our pills. Shortly thereafter, the realization that we just did a whole lot of work hit us, so we went to sleep for a couple of hours.
There was more later in the day -- but essentially it was us looking for a way to dial a mobile number and trying to brute force the way the phone system works. It seems like in order to dial a mobile number, we'll have to get a phone card and use the public telephones. That's a whole strange ordeal -- and it's a post for another time.
Just think of all the crap I left out because I didn't think it was important!