Monday, August 01, 2005

And another hiatus

Ok, so I'm back in Lyon once again, for the grand total of 20 hours! I got back last night, utterly exhausted after 15 hours of traveling (bus, tram, bus, train, bus, plane, bus, metro, train, then home sweet home)! Poland was... intense, for lack of a better word.
Beata and Scott arrived in Lyon last Thursday, and I gave 'em the grand tour of the city. Appearantly I make a pretty good tour guide... I took them through all the traboules and shared all of the quirky stories behind them (like: they were used by the Resitance during WWII; or, this one was designed by the same guy who built le Louvre...). I also essentially force-fed them all of Lyon's traditional cuisine (not that they were complaining, mind you!). We took a day trip to St. Etienne to watch the Tour de France, where we waited for eight hours, got a bunch of free stuff, burned under the french sun, and saw Lance Armstrong win! It was really cool, and I would have never have gone had it not been for Scott, who is obsessed with le Tour.
Then I followed them back to Poland.
The first half of the week was spent in Wroclaw, with Beata's family: one grandmother who chronically overfeeds anything in her sight (again: not that we were complaining!), her aunt and uncle, who live in a communist-built building that has a 'no gaying' sign spray painted on it (more on that later), and her other grand-mother, whose house we were invading. They were all adorable, and spoke polish. Alot.
The second half, Beata and I went a-travellin': we went to the country-side to visit distant cousins, we went to visit Scott in Krakow, then to see the mountains at Zakopane... This is when the trip got intersting: we were all strapped for money! For the last 3 days, I was surviving on: 1/2 a yogurt for breakfast, fruits and bread for lunch and dinner. Also, we became a little psyco when it came to being tourists. We'd get up between 5:30 and 6:30, be out and about (oh dear my poor feet hate me so) until 7PM, when we'd go back to the hostel, shower, collapse (and put our feet up... litterally), then, wearily, get up around 9PM to try and take advantage of Krakow's rich night life.
Poland is a really interesting country. On one hand, you can still spot the relics of communism (the blocky concrete buildings, the service is still quite bad... 'the client is always right' does NOT exist there, there are many alcoholics and unemployed people... especially at night), but on the other, I was strongly reminded of 15-years-ago-France when I was there. They're fiercely proud of belonging to the E.U., and have begun attempting tourisitfying many areas (particularly the South, which has been less ravaged by WWII and the Soviet influence). It's also incredibly, incredibly catholic. I'm talking about 98% of the population, here (there used to be a fair amount of Jews, but they were so thoroughly wiped out during the Nazi reign that only about 10000 remain). They have a radio station that has been dubbed 'more saint than the Pope' because the priests that comment on are so conservative... and influencial. There are also almost no minorities. My entire trip there, I saw one black, and one asian. Both were at the airport. Homosexuality is outlawed. It was a shock coming back to France!
Polish is very interesting as well. Beata describe its sound as 'a waterfall'-- it's all shs and chs and jeuhs and dzeuhs... All sounds made with the teeth! And it's grammar is insane. There are seven declinaisons (don't know how to say that in english), no less! And each word (even names) is conjugated... so each word must have a different suffixe, depending on how you use it, why you use it, and where you use it! And I'm not even mentioning prefixes. I mostly fell back on two words: dzienkuje (thank you) and dobrje (good), which can also be said dobre or dobja, depending on how you use it. I hope Beata doesn't read this post, because I just know that the spelling is all wrong.
Anyway, I'll probably post more about each city. For now, I'll just say dziendobry (good day), and I'm off to bed. I'm still completly spent from the trip! Walking all day (we even went on a four day hike in the mountains one day) with little sleep and food definetly takes its toll! I still can't believe how much I managed to see in one week, I'm so grateful and happy.
I'm leaving to the beach tomorow (even though I swore to myself that if I had to take another train, I'd throw myself on the rails, Anna Karenina-style), so I probably won't be able to update until another week. Sorry about that :-).


Blogger 007 in Africa said...

This is a great post. Yeah, I'm so glad to get some news from you!

3:49 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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4:05 a.m.  
Blogger Victoria said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

4:59 a.m.  
Blogger Beaver said...

Very, very cool post ! Ahhhh I feel the call of the airplane ! :)

2:27 p.m.  
Blogger Ammo said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:14 a.m.  
Blogger Ammo said...

Poland definitely sounds... interesting :) I didn't realize it was still so conservative!
Unfortunately you're having the same problem Dorothee had: spambots have found your blog and are posting ads on it... It's extremely annoying (I had the same problem with my guestbook). The only solution unfortunately is to stop giving people the option to post anonymously.
Enjoy the rest of your holidays!!

Sorry about the deleted post... The typo I'd made was just too embarrassing :)

12:17 a.m.  

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