When I hear American or British voices in or around Szczecin , Poland, where Ada is from , I usually butt in and say something to the people . That seems to drive Ada crazy , but I think she’s learned to live with it .
Ada says the place is crawling with Americans , anyway . I’ve seen , with the three kids on the train who show up in one of the next paragraphs counted , about eight around town . Well , add another five . We’ll count our five friends who made it here over the years to visit . No , six , when we consider our mechanic in Arcadia , who is a Polish guy . he came through last summer . I’m talking about a period covering the last twenty or so years . Well , add one more American , Herbie Hancock , who did a concert at the castle last summer . Now , what’s that total of Americans I’ve seen here ? Fifteen ? Sixteen .
I’m not saying that there are not more Americans around . There’s a big NATO base just outside of the city . The soldiers don’t seem to make it into the city much , though . We met the American wife of one of them a couple of years ago .
On the train from Berlin I heard the American voices of three college-age kids sitting across from us . Turns out one of them is a student at USC . I’m a UCLA grad , but I still talked to her for a minute or two . Turns out we can just get along if we try . They were doing some world travelling , soon to be on their way to London . They said they’d been in Berlin for a couple of days , had seen everything there was to see there , and now were bored . Their plan was to visit Szczecin for two hours , a day trip ; then take the train back to Berlin for a flight to London the next day .
Seemed a bit of an odd idea to me . The trip from Berlin to Szczecin takes at least two hours . As luck would have it , rain would accompany them for those two hours , and would soon after that stop . Rain does that sometimes ; has a mind of its own .
Rain can be mischievous when it wants to . Several years ago a friend of mine and his girl friend planned a one-day trip over to Szczecin from Sweden . That morning it began to rain . I assured them that the rain would stop in an hour or two . I had an interesting and extensive walking tour planned. Pelted with rain , however , they wanted to buy umbrellas , but I assured them that the rain would stop . Don’t worry , I said , it’ll soon stop . I know these things .
It didn’t stop , of course . It hadn’t rained in Szczecin in several days before their visit . It didn’t rain again for several days afterward , but the day of their visit rain harassed us throughout the entire day without a minute’s break . What can you do ! Our walking trip had to be modified a bit .
I don’t know what three strangers might do in a strange city for a mere two hours in the rain . Well , on the other hand , if these kids managed to see everything there is to see in Berlin in two days , then I suppose they’ll see Poland in the two hours allotted and be ready to move on to other countries .
They told us that they were bored in Berlin after two days . Ada and I still can’t quite wrap our heads around that one . But , to each his own , and all power to them . At least they’re out there looking .