Thursday, August 13, 2009

Memories of Poland

I've been thinking a lot about Poland lately. A friend of mine asked me if I liked it there, and when I answered that yes, I did, she wanted to know what it was that I liked most. Hmmm... Now, that's a difficult question. And I'm not going to give you the standard cookie-cutter, touristy answers to it, because that you can read in all sorts of guidebooks all on your own.

So, here are my thoughts (some of them were published in a more genteel form on a different blog, but here you get the uncut version):

Poland is a most amazing country - over there you can name your company "Blow" and nobody's going to even bat an eye. You can even erect a full size highway billboard for your Blow and nobody's going to get upset over it. A few foreigners might temporarily lose control over their vehicles while driving by, but hey, every Pole knows that foreigners are atrocious drivers to begin with, even without any blow by the side of the road.

Blow x800

Foreigners might be atrocious drivers, but every time I saw a baby being used as an airbag, it was a Polish driver (or passenger) who employed this particular kind of extra protection. How do I know they were Polish? By the very eloquent curses they hurled at me when I snapped their photos.

Baby airbag
OK, I admit it, there are stupid people all over the world. It just seems that a disproportionately high number of them was driving in Poland around the time I was there.

But most Poles are very smart people. And very proud of their foreign language skills. I've met Polish people who were busy studying Thai, and Swahili, and even Quechua. Too bad that at the same time very frequently their English skills were left to rot.

Victoria gruop x800

But then again, this haphazard approach to English was rather refreshing. Here is one country where anything goes. Where a jewelry store named "Apart" sells wedding bands and engagements rings and nobody thinks anything of it:

Apart x800 
I want to see them opening a branch in the UK with the slogan - "Apart - the very best choice for the rest of your life."

But hey, who knows? Maybe they're just cold realists and this is simply a very straightforward message to their potential customers? In Poland, anything is possible.

Anything. Even Jewish style porkchops:

Jewish pork x800
The sign in the middle says "Porkchops - Jewish style." Unfortunately, the store was closed (it was Saturday, after all) when I was walking by and couldn't investigate this mysterious Jewish pork up close and personal.

To be continued...

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