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Krakow Travel Blog

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I have spent the past few days living in Polish suburbia.  Surprisingly similiar to American suburbia, but with fewer SUVs.  Just as many babies and animals, though.  In fact, my foraging for chleb was nearly derailed by the presence of an enormous dog in front of the cukernia, but luckily the owner came to run interference just in time.  Don't fret that the only Polish words I've learned are food - we've also been taught how to count to ten.  I can only manage to remember maybe 6 of my 10 numbers, but as long as you have 1-4 down, you can always come back for more.  I aspire to pick up some real conversational skills in the few days I have left.  Although I already know that cheese = serem.  I am so equipped to move here now.  Especially since the two great topics of conversation seem to be 1) how much Polish people love foreigners and 2) how much they hate the President/government.  Halfway across the world, and it turns out nothing's new.

James' friend Natalia was an amazing host, setting us up in her family's flat, taking us home to be fed massive amounts of amazing Polish food by her mom, and taking us out to meet her friends.  She also took us dancing at an establishment that played the non-Britney versions of Satisfaction and I Love Rock and Roll.   Life is good in Eastern Europe, my friends.  If only we had been there on 'black people music' night, as they say.

Despite earlier concerns, I still am amazed by how nice people are here.  I think they really do love foreigners.  Or maybe I have ink on my face and people just find me amusing.  I took my newfound knowledge of numbers and food to a deli today and quickly was shot down by questions I could not answer until the woman next to me came to my rescue.  She even introduced me to golabki, the other national treat and possibly the best thing I have eaten here thus far.  Who knew the humble cabbage had such potential?  And when I emerged at Krakow tonight, lost (or maybe just disoriented by an enormous galleria with opening hours of 8-23.00!), mall security not only drew a map, but escorted me to the hostel.  Mall security at SF Shopping Center probably wouldn't even give you directions to Gap.  Speaking of opening hours, there are also IKEAs in Sweden that open until 23.00.  Who is sitting around at 22.30 thinking, "Hey, let's rent a movie tonight!  And maybe pick up a new couch to watch it on!"?

When I relayed my concerns about being approaced by people with bad intentions, James recommended not smiling, not being friendly, and not getting excited during conversations.  Clearly, in the few months during which we have not seen each other, he has completely forgotten who I am.  Either way, this is going to have to be a working goal for Q2, FY07.  Towards which no progress has been made today.
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photo by: vulindlela