Monday, 6 August 2007


An old friend from home came to visit this weekend. I offered bed and exposure to Polish food in exchange for New Technologies from abroad. As well as Harry Potter, this involved my finally learning how to use the ceramic hair straighteners that have been in the back of my top drawer for the past four months. I had no idea it was so complicated being a girl.

Incidentally, I am now inundated with copies of Harry Potter, and am going to have my work cut out on the lavish rewards front.

Being a girl apparently also involves wearing high heeled shoes, very suitable for a night out propping up dingy bars in Kazimierz. Now normally I am only to be found in running shoes or Birkenstocks (I was particularly worried in Wrocław for the people sitting next to me in the cinema: one of the films was nearly two and a half hours long). But I decided to put my newly-regained girliness into practice.

I had reckoned without road surfaces in Kraków.

Grilles, cobblestones, even just small ordinary cracks in the pavement, you name it, this weekend I got my heel stuck in it. I'm sorry, ladies and gentlemen and those with a well-developed sense of smell, but in the interests of my remaining upright, the Birkenstocks are back. If I'm going to put my foot in it, I want at least to be able to get it out again afterwards.

The second strange phenomenon of the weekend was our discovery of the special nature of Polish salad. Ravenously hungry after a trek up the Kopiec Kraka, we staggered into another dingy bar in Kazimierz for a late lunch, and ordered pierogi and Salade Niçoise respectively. When it arrived, the salad appeared rather more yellow than usual. To my horror, I realised that the whole thing was buried under half a kilo of grated cheese. It was as though, instead of picking up the oil or vinegar shaker in the pub kitchen, the chef had reached for the cheese sprinkler. Thank heavens he hadn't missed altogether and ended up with that other essential element of Polish cuisine, the potato shaker. Or the lard drizzler.
- How is it? asked my friend from behind her plate of pierogi. I was about to answer, but got distracted chasing a glimpse of lettuce underneath the general sea of golden dairy product.
- Marginally less healthy than Domino's pizza.

I sincerely hoped that it was not a tacit comment from the bar staff on my choice of footwear.

This morning, a different delivery man arrived. I let him in, fully aware that I still had neither stamp nor passport, and asked him for a minute to phone my boss. No problem. He went out to get the rest of the parcels, leaving me with a delivery note to sign.
- anything else? I asked when he had come back in.
- yes, where's the loo?
I showed him, and he went to wash the dust off his hands and splash about generally (weather is hot this week).
- and there's nothing else?
- no, I'm in a hurry, bye!

No stamp! Maybe I was right about the prosciutto e funghi. No, on second thoughts, it must have been quattro formaggi...

1 comment:

justyna said...

Before you pawn off your Harry Potter copies on ebay, maybe you would like to exchange one of them for a book that I have on my shelf? I am refusing to pay 100 zl for a new copy on Karmelicka st. I have recently acquired Martin Amis' "Success" that I could exchange for, or a new copy of "The Master and Margarita" by Mikhail Bulgakov? Or both? Or for a couple of hours of Polish conversation classes ;). My email is I walk around town in Blundstones, and have people often ask why I am wearing gum boots. My mother continues to call them 'horse shoes'. I do not care. My ankles are intact.