almost a river cruise

We had some fine weather here in Szczecin and my friend Willie was visiting and so I thought it would be a good idea to catch one of the hour-long tour boats . They cruise up the river enough to see the area from another perspective , the old shipyard , tugboats and freighters , various birds including cormorants and an occasional eagle . Willie agreed to my little plan .

The usual tour boat was not in service . I communicated to the man aboard in English and Polish and he responded in Polish and German . Willie chimed in with a couple of German phrases and we discovered that his boat wasn’t going out that day , but that there was a larger boat further along the wharf that was in business . We walked along the riverfront to the Captain Cook . A girl with  carrot-colored hair was standing on the dock selling tickets .

She spoke to us in German , too , and a few words of English. We bought two tickets and climbed aboard . A few German tourists were already aboard , all ready with glasses of beer and cameras in their hands . Loud obnoxious sea shanties were playing on a P.A. system until  , mercifully  , someone eventually turned the volume down .

The appointed time for departure came and went . Willie pointed out to my attention that the German tourists had begun nervously checking their watches . A couple of minutes later one fat guy started anxiously pacing from one side of the boat to another .

Willie grew up in New York City . After ten minutes he leaned over the side of the boat and reminded the carrot-haired girl that it was time to go . It was ten minutes past time . I heard her response , ” Yes . Yes ” .

New Yorkers don’t take no for an answer , however , even when it sounds like yes . ” Five more minutes , ”  Willie called down to the girl , ” and if we haven’t moved by then we want our money back .”  It wasn’t a negotiation . It was New York come to Szczecin . She said they were waiting for a group . ” That’s not my problem ,” Willie said .

And so those next five minutes came and went and we asked for  our money back from the ticket girl . She offered no resistance at all , saying again that they were waiting for a group . We thanked her and walked away .

I had a Plan B , of course .

I took Willie over to the nearby ferry boat landing and told him that for two zloty round trip ( about 30 cents ) we could go over to the nearby island and walk around the flower gardens for awhile . I told him that the ferry came across every half-hour on the half hour . IMG_7432

I must have been wrong , though . Maybe every hour on the hour ? No ferry boat arrived . We joked about our luck and laughed a little and eventually decided to leave . At that point I wasn’t  sure when or if the ferry would come. We saw the ferry boat over there across the river , a blue boat tied up at the dock . Willie took pictures of pigeons and  I tried to ask an old lady who had come along what she knew about the ferry times , but I didn’t get very far .

We wound up at a nearby cafe and each of us had a beer sitting at an outdoor table and watching small boats sail by . ( No , the beer was not sitting at an outdoor table ; we were sitting there . ) It was now almost an hour since the Captain Cook had been scheduled to depart . A large group of school age kids had arrived and gone noisily aboard . The Germans were gone by then too as the boat slowly pulled away from the landing with the group , evidently , that they had been waiting for for so long  . I say : What a way to run a railroad !Poland 1 2016 June 020


Filed under humor

4 responses to “almost a river cruise

  1. I’m guessing you didn’t miss much of a tour. A boat load of school children? That would have been like old times for you, except you couldn’t send them to the principal.

  2. It all turned out to be for the best, eh? Children, piped-in music and no where to go might have been too much for most people!!

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