I am in Poland writing this post .
The beer is good . There is a beer store not far from where I am staying owned by an English speaking guy who had lived in London for awhile . He wanted to stay there but his wife was homesick and they moved back to Szececin . He sells a variety of unusual beers . Most of them seem to be from around the area . I bought a black German beer from near Swinoschie , which is on the Baltic. The ferries leave from there for Sweden and Denmark . They used to go to Denmark , anyway . Maybe the Copenhagen ferry quit service recently . I’ve heard rumors . Things change .
Ada had me buy a bottle of Teachers Scotch for friends . They were the ones who brought us from Berlin to Szczecin . We went over to their place for dinner last night and had a delicious meal . There was another guy there , too , and not much of the Scotch was left , I suspect , by the time we left . The other guy , Jurek , drove us over to their flat , but Jurek and Valdek were tasting the Teachers and Jurek ended up leaving his car there for the night and the three of us , Ada , Jurek, and I, took a taxi home . The Poles are good about not drinking and driving .
I’ve been wearing cargo shorts around the city . Ada wasn’t too sure about that , at first . ” No Polish men wear shorts ,”she said. But now they do (1), and I am not Polish (2) , so I ventured it. Besides standing out as a tourist I was o.k. , and I saw several Polish men in shorts . People tried to talk to me in German . That’s all . I know enough German to order a beer and that’s it .
The younger people here speak English , nowadays . It’s not a problem ordering in a restaurant or beer place . Ten or fifteen years ago it was a small miracle finding someone who understood English . Now no . I think most of the waiters/waitresses also speak German and maybe Russian too .
In Szczecin , nevertheless, I think it is a rare thing to run into English speaking tourists . I did hear one German soldier here speaking English in an Internet store and making himself understood . Last time I was here I heard a few young guys speaking english , so , being American , I butted in and talked to them . They were Isreali medical students and , I think , happy to talk to an American there . Americans ? I’m sure that there are some besides us somewhere in the city . Somewhere . I might die of shock if I ran into one of them , however. Never have in twenty years of coming here . I met two Brits once . In the Dublin Pub . They were two young guys and more than a little snotty , I thought . Maybe they thought the same about me . I once met an English speaking Norwegian ship captain and his Crew . Also in the Dublin Pub.
I used to know all the pubs : Dublin , London Pub , the Cutty Sark ,TheBoston Pub , Petttie Paris……. But they are mostly dark little dungeons to me now . I prefer the sidewalk beer places and open air cafes to have a beer or a coffee and watch the crowds walk by , say “thank you” to the waiter or waitress and get a “you’re welcome ” in good English in response ( seems like a big deal here ) , usually with a little smile that I think hints at pride in knowing the language and using it when the opportunity arose .
I am sitting in the “Maly Theatre” cafe writing this because they have Internet connection here . I am inside since the weather changed this morning and decided to be a little cold and rainy . I am having a coffee. The waiter asked me if I wanted a piece of plum pie with my coffee. It’s a promotion today . I told him no thanks since I just had a big breakfast . “Thats O.K. , ” he said with one of those telling smiles .
Tomorrow we go on a river cruise if the weather permits . And if they get the ” twenty or twenty-five passengers ” they need . And if they decide it’s a good day to cruise .