Ada said it again today , what an easy life we have , as if we’re always on vacation. I’m sitting here in Szczecin , Poland , waiting for a friend to fly in from Zurich . I’ll meet him at the train station here in the city late in the afternoon . Ada will be shopping for a few items in order to fix us all a wonderful dinner .
My friend and I will walk here from the train station . Oh , he’s not taking a train. I know , I said he’s flying in . Relax ! No , I haven’t completely gone off my rocker yet . He’s flying from Zurich to Berlin . He’s taking a shuttle bus from the Berlin airport to Szczecin and the bus stops next to the central train station . Got it ?
We’ll walk along the river on the way to the apartment . Ada and I live not far from the river . My friend and I might have to stop for a beer on the way , too , there being so many nice places to choose from ; and besides , old guys need to take a break from time to time .
I kind of operate on the beer standard . I don’t calculate how well the economy does related to the price of gold . I don’t pay attention to the price of silver , either , or of potatoes , or of bread . Beer . The price of beer in Poland is still pretty good .
Things are not like in the old days , of course . ” Not like before “, Ada says . In earlier years , it seems , you could have brought a silver dollar over here from the USA and lived on it for several weeks . If you had had the foresight to pack an extra pair of blue jeans , I’m told , a guy could have traded them on the black market and lived on the proceeds of that deal for the next few months . And beer ? They were giving it away ! Usually you got a free shot of vodka with your beer . Or something like that .
I used to get a half liter of good beer here in Poland at a good bar or restaurant for about a dollar . Then , about six or seven years ago , the price suddenly doubled . Still , it’s a good rate by American standards , if one is on an American income , but it was , nevertheless , a personal shock . What’s happened to the economy ! Luckily the price of beer here has remained fairly stable for the last several years . Oh , yeah , I’m monitoring it ! Someone has to .
My friend arriving from Zurich is an American guy , too . He’s more of a vodka drinker than a beer drinker . He really missed his chance in Poland , I think . Vodka drinking here seems to have drastically diminished in recent years . Oh , it’s still available , of course . There’s no shortage . It’s just that the culture has shifted away from vodka drinking .
Luckily , beer drinking is still holding its own in the city of Szczecin for now . I’m not prepared for the day that the beer drinking goes away here .( It might happen any time , I suspect . The world is constantly throwing up potential roadblocks and unsettling surprises . Keeps things interesting , I suppose . ) I might have to move part of the year to Portland , Oregon , at that point . That’s a good beer – drinking town. So far , at least . One has to keep one’s options open . They’ve legalized pot up there , and beer drinkers might be put on short list at some point , I suspect .
Anyway , Ada doesn’t drink any kind of alcoholic beverage . I admire her for that . The fact that she has saved us thousands of dollars over the years that might have otherwise been carelessly dumped into liquor purveyors’ coffers is really beside the point .
You should perhaps know , too , that I mainly just drink beer to keep the mosquitoes away , anyhow . It’s the vitamin B in the sudsy booze that does it — permeates the pores —– and those nasty flying , stinging /biting , blood-sucking critters can’t abide it . Not that there are any mosquitoes around here —- thanks to the beer .