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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

US Government Shutdown

I am an American living in Poland. From here, the shutdown of the US Government magnifies the stupidity, selfishness and greed of the Republican Party. What a bunch of twisted people.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Mall Hell

Anyone who visits Warsaw is bound to make a trip to one of the malls. There is a choice ... Zlote Tarasy, Kliff, Arkadia, Galeria Mokotow ... these places are all within 30 minutes of each other (provided traffic is cooperative).

The problem for me is that I absolutely hate malls. They are a rabid disease on the landscape. I cannot find the proper word to define how disgusting I find them.

Yet, I find myself in one of these monstrosities at least one per week. It was a very clever decision to put supermarkets in malls. A simple trip to a market turns into entering hell. The parking lots require a very high IQ to navigate. If you go to one of these malls, park your car, don't pay exact attention to where you are parked, then try to find your car sixty minutes later. Additionally, I challenge anyone to exit the parking lot without using obscenities. It is not possible. There are strange turns into strange lanes that go down in order for you to go up and out. No kidding. The parking lots are an afterthought of design.

The king of weirdness has to be the mall named Blue City. Without a doubt, this mall wins the prize for most inefficient design (not to mention most unattractive). There is one obvious elevator that is a workhorse. This elevator stops on every floor whether it goes up or down. It is always filled with people with shopping baskets or baby carriages or both. Also, it is notoriously slow. I cannot possibly explain the lunacy of the escalators. There is no way of figuring out which ones go up or which ones go down until to walk to it. And, they are in a circle. I can't explain. You have to see to believe. And finally, there are entire sections of the mall that are pretty much hidden. There are rows of shops that one cannot see unless one wanders down a strange hallway. You have to make the trek down these halls to see what stores are there.

A word about Blue City's parking lot ... simple stay out of it if you can ... and this is very possible since it requires know-how to even find the entrance. Once you are in the lot (which goes from underground to several stories above ground), good luck with which direction you are facing. There is a system that gives animal names to the different sections of the lot, but I think this is so you can tell security the section your car is in when you cannot find it.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

A Long Break

I have been on a break with my blog for awhile. I guess I just ran out of inspiration. Being here in Warsaw has become almost routine. Also, I have found that the feeling of being different and standing out in a crowd has somewhat diminished. This is not to say it is gone completely. There are still times when the stares become too much. But, I think I have begun to just not pay attention.

All that said, I will write when I feel compelled to do so. In the interim, I welcome any and all comments. If you are a person of color living in Poland, please let me know. I would love to hear your experience here.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Racist ads?

There is an ad running on TV in Warsaw that shows a Polish guy in some remote part of Africa that I am sure the writers/client of this commercial has never been. The crux of the ad seems to be that one can use his/her bankcard anywhere. In the commercial, there are Africans in what is meant to be traditional tribal clothing and they are looking at the cash machine as if it is some sort of object from out of space. Then there is a tribesman talking on an iPhone. The whole thing is ridiculous.

I write about this because the commercial is so insensitive I had to wonder how the hell it got on TV. Then I remembered that I live in a very homogeneous place. There is no pressure from other types of people here on the powers that be. So, this type of garbage makes it to TV. Adding fuel to the fire for me was something that happened regarding a commercial not too long ago.

You may have seen the Old Spice ad with the African American guy on the horse. This commercial was banned at first here in Poland by the "ad censors". The people at this government office decided that this commercial was saying that Polish men are inferior. How they got to that brilliant conclusion clearly has a root in ignorance ... one could also call it unintentional racism. Eventually, someone made a more sane decision and allowed the ad to go on the air.

As I think about the bank commercial with the Africans, I begin to see just how ignorant the creators of this ad are. To not see how this is offensive means you are stupid or unknowing. In either case, the client could have asked someone. Someone thought this was funny. Humor is always good, except when it is offensive to others. What would the "ad censors" have done if this commercial was set in a Polish village and the town folk were too stupid to use the cash machine? Would that be funny to them? I hope not. It's not funny to me and it probably isn't funny to a Pole. It is offensive to me because prejudice in any guise is repulsive.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Weird Work Situations

I am not sure how to explain this, but here is a try: my experience with Polish businesses has been that once something concerns money, they become "creepingly" quiet. I really don't know how else to say it. I have had dialogue via email, text and phone with perspective individual and group clients in the planning stage of a project. Things go well and there is often honest dialogue regarding expectations and goals. Then we discuss money. I literally do not hear from these clients again. I presently do some work for a company and I will get emails all day if there is a new project. I mention payment and the emails stop. Literally stop. No response to inquiries. No email explaining that the project is on hold or they are working with someone else. Whereas I used to get really angry, I can now laugh at this behavior. It is the behavior of a child. A frightened child that runs and hides.

I have figured out that I must discuss money or pay at the very beginning. That way, there isn't a barage of emails and calls that are fruitless. So, if you find yourself stuck wondering "what happened?", chances are it has to do with money. Money is very different here. Just pay attention to the news. The normal "cry" of politicians and many, many people is that Poland is a poor country. "There is no none!" Bullshit! There is money here. Look at the construction and renovation going on around the city. But as long as the masses are convinced there isn't, the people making the money can continue to line their pockets.

Friday, March 22, 2013


Ahhhhh ... Warsaw in the Springtime! If it would only get above -2C, I think my outlook would get a little better. As it stands now, there is enough snow outside that it literally looks like winter. It also feels like winter. Something is definitley wrong.

There are some of you that read this blog on a regular basis. There are some that visit once or maybe twice. In either case, I need some help.

Does anyone out there have a question they might like answered? Many friends asked me many questions after I moved here. The most common one was "why!?" As I have been unable to think of really interesting things to write about recently, please let me know if you have an idea. I am kinda stuck and need some fresh thinking!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Death of a Child

I saw a news program that reported the death of a child here in Poland. The child died because the emergency service operator (or someone at the emergency center) decided that there was "no emergency" when the parent of this child called the emergency hot line. The ambulance did not come. The parents took the kid to the hospital where he died. If this isn't painful enough, the spokesperson for this ambulance service had the nerve to say at an interview that we should not jump to conclusions about this situation. Tragic. There is no other word. I hope the outrage of the parents sends them into action. The idiot that made this decision is culpable for the death of this kid. Period. It can be spun with many "what ifs", but the fact remains that this person at the ambulance service made a horribly bad call. And a bad call causes suffering and death when your job is to decide a course of action to save peoples lives. What was this person thinking? Why would ambulance service be denied? Did the operator think the caller was playing a joke? Did he/she think the parent was lying? There is no logical reason for denying emergency service.

To the person who denied this kid help ... I hope you are taking a good look at what you have done. If you have a conscious at all, you are probably in a lot of pain and I wish you strength and peace of mind. But I also hope and pray that you find another job. Something that does not require you to decide the welfare of others.

My heart goes out to the parents.