Monday, 13 October 2008


There's a pedestrian crossing in Podgorze where the 'beep-beep' has a sort of dotted crochet rhythm (dum da-dum da-dum etc), rather than just being in strict time like all the others.
Also, the pitch is a sort of rather smudgy major triad. The overall effect is rendolent of a French chanson.
By the time you reach the central traffic island, you half expect the little green man to throw his arms wide and burst into strains of:
- Noooooooon, rien de rien!!! Nooooon je ne regret-te rieeeennnnn....


On Friday night I popped into the internet place on the Rynek* to check the cinema listings. There were two young guys, apparently students, slouched behind the front desk eating yoghurt and Prince Polo.
I checked the website and then went back to the desk.
- Ile to będzie? I asked, rather ridiculously since I'd only been online about two minutes.
The guy made a tutting sound and looked down at his hands with a smile:
- Oh... dużo...
I realised with horror that he was flirting with me. In Polish.
- *completely panic stricken* oh no... ile??
The guy sucked in his breath: Bardzo dużo, to nie mogę powiedzić**
Lost for (Polish) words, I must have made some kind of girly eye-widening gesture.
- Złotówka. Said the guy, with a smile, bored of me now.

I survived my first ever (extremely basic) flirt in Polish...

A mate of mine lives just off one of the major party streets in Kraków town centre. Consequently, lots of drunk guys walk past his doorstep on the way home from Gorączka and suchlike, and we all know what intoxicated males are wont to do in doorsteps.
Leaving the flat one afternoon, I bumped into a neighbour on his way in, a portly gentlemen of late-middle-age vintage, and thought it propitious to say 'Dzien Dobry' on my way out.
- Dzien dobry... replied the neighbour, slightly surprised. He was however not to be caught out: quickly he recovered his senses in time to make that long slow intake of breath and say:

- Ale... Wie Pani co...?

Uh oh.

(I hate it when they say this).

He beckoned me outside, where there was a significant amount of something liquid splashed onto the bottom of the door post and seeping onto the doorstep. All the while, he continued to hold forth excitedly on a topic that I was unable to decipher: I thought I caught the word 'dog'.
I took a shot in the dark and interrupted him:

- Ale... to nie moj pies.

- Nie? Pani nie jest Pani Monika?

I shook my head.

He apologised, and I made a swift exit.

I have no idea who Pani Monika is, but I suspect that her dog is blameless on this one.

*Whaddya mean 'which internet place', what do you think I am, bloody Cracow Life??
**The author requests that the kind reader remember that her Polish transcription skills leave a lot to be desired.


peixote said...

I must protest. Females do it too.

pinolona said...

Not the ones I know!

JetPunk said...

You at least sound like you can speak some Polish. I lived in Krakow for about 7 months and about all I could say was "gdzie jest piwo"

Michael said...

I can't believe that I've only just found this posting! Don't remember you telling me about this experience with the neighbour!

pinolona said...

gdzie jest piwo is probably the most important thing you'll learn :p

Michael: ha ha I thought I did! He seemed convinced that I'd let my dog pee in your doorway. My dog doesn't pee in doorways (at least not on purpose) she's a good girl.