Sunday, 11 May 2008

The Dealer

Within the hallowed halls of the interpreting school in Kraków, an undercover market is thriving.

Saturday morning. The corridor, painted a light duck-egg blue,* exudes light and space. The brand-new po remoncie linoleum gleams wryly, like threadbare satin. You couldn't ask for a more innocent setting.

As the wall clock ticks its inexorable way through ten minutes to nine, the lift doors zwoosh open and the first students begin to trickle in. With a weary 'click', the long hand shifts its weight over the hour and a gaggle of girls, freshly tumbled off the Warsaw express, burst rucksack-laden through the fire doors and stagger into the airy blue of the corridor.

But wait - something is happening...

One girl hauls the burdensome load off her shoulders.

Immediately, several other students, until this point slouching listlessly along the walls of the hall and dreaming of last night's excesses, flock around her, scrabbling for wallets and purses. Coins chink together and fresh cash crackles.

She pulls open the backpack, diving deep and rummaging blindly within its depths.

Her waiting colleagues hold their collective breath.

Moments pass - signifying hours for the fix-starved addicts in the corridor.

Finally, the dealer's head emerges from the rucksack, and then, slowly, she draws out her precious cargo.

The other students take a step back and there is a respectful pause before the distribution of goods and exchange of money begins.

Our Varsovian supplier, a visitor from the civilised world, begins to hand out...

... hard-backed, spiral bound reporter's notebooks.

Impossible to find anywhere in Poland.

Along with applicator tampons and pre-packaged sandwiches, this is one essential product that is virtually unheard-of here...

*Incidentally, Jilly Cooper's favourite colour. It's so true. Read any two or three of her novels in quick succession (guilty) and it will jump out at you.


Anonymous said...

On the other hand - before coming back to Britain you should stock up on SQUARED notepads ;) Really hard to get them here.

pinolona said...

I know! I hate the ones with lines!
But at least they have hard backs.

Maybe I'll have to make another trip to Warsaw with stationery in mind...

Anonymous said...

Like this: