Hey all you travellers and troublemakers, I haven’t been able to log in to wordpress until now. So here is my first blog;
I’ve come from Townsville, Australia (200,000 people) to Krakow, Poland (2million people) for 6 months; this is my first attempt at a blog for the Border Crossings program.
I regret to inform you that the following will not be as enlightening and/or inspiring as you’ve come to expect from these blogs.
I have spent 3 weeks in Krakow so far and have had a fiercely good time, but I think my commute here was just as important as my stay.
So, I present various Facebook posts I made during and in hindsight of my travels to Krakow – I hope you find them interesting and above all amusing.
First, I flew out of from Sydney at 5:00am en route to Bangkok, Thailand.
6th Sept – 8:00pm
“First and only meal in Thailand. My eyes were hungrier than my arse was.”
7th Sept – 5:32am
“Bangkok has lived up to its reputation; within my first hour here I could be seen bolting through crowds of disgruntled tourists in a desperate search for a bog. I shall delve into more detail when I reach a country that doesn’t have hair on its feet.”
“My 14 hour stay in Thailand will be remembered, but not as a high point. Spent the entire 14 hours laying on a dirty towel, on a cold marble floor in the dark alleys of Thailand’s massive airport – with frequent dashes to the dunny.
Maybe managed an hour’s sleep in total and then it was time to jump on the next plane – all while resisting the urge to faint, spew and/or perform bodily functions that would require the world’s top plastic surgery to my anus.”
7th Sept – 5:20pm
“My connecting flight from Thailand to Helsinki, Finland was a rejuvenating experience. After boarding the plane I found my seat and was glad to I was sitting besides to gorgeous European girls. (I can’t post photos yet, but I will when I can) With a quick ‘Yes!’ to myself I sat down and said (as Australian as I could), “How’re you doing?” I was presented with perplexed expressions and the shaking of heads. One of them managed, “No English”. I was slightly disappointed, but then I met their eyes again and every negative thought left me.
Through the use of a pen and pad, my iPad and a map we were able to converse and enjoy ourselves for the entire 9-hour flight. I was sitting next to Tatiana, 20, and Natalia, 17, was sitting next here – they were Russian.
We played Fruit Ninja together, agreed that Harry Potter is a very good book series and played many ‘pad & pen’ games. By the end of the flight I felt like a very good friend to them, part of the group – even when they were insulting me in Russian…”
8th Sept – 9:00am
“Ok, my flight from Finland to Poland went without a hitch. I landed in Warsaw (Warsaw is the capitol, I’m studying in Krakow) at around 5:30pm and proceeded to the airport exit – having lost another 2 hours in time (I’m nine hours behind Aus). Having not slept in 3 days and not eaten properly in 2, I was not in the mood for the robust and annoying Taxi driver demanding I accompany him. I managed to bat him off momentarily to have something to eat – which was not relaxing as he kept looking in on me every few minutes.
So, I hopped in his taxi, initially trying to enter the driver’s side, and we set off for the ‘a cheap hotel near the train station’. I was white-knuckles tight the entire drive. I don’t know if his van lacked blinkers, or he just refused to use them, but he drove like a maniac. I asked him, “doesn’t Poland have speed limits?” He replied, “Yar, it is 50km/h in the city.” I looked down and he was sitting on 90km/h.
He finally overcharged me at the Holiday Inn and I soon found that the Holiday Inn, and ALL hotels near the train station had NO VACANCY. After dragging my luggage around for a few hours I decided to take the train straight to Krakow – hoping it will present more fruitful alternatives. I hopped on the train – feigning passing out on the platform – and finally landed in Krakow at 11:30ish. However, I could not dwell for long as my almost vacant bowels weren’t happy with their little contents.
I defy anyone to find a public toilet in Krakow in less than 15minutes…
My desperate quest for a toilet led me to the departure train station of Krakow. The toilets were located down 2 flights of steps were a disgruntled; old man demands $2 for entry – though I’ve found this is normal.
After relieving my bowels I headed back up to the grim, hot and frankly disgusting hall. My original plan was to taxi to my apartment, call the owner and stay the night there. But I could not locate a pay phone that took coins rather than ‘calling cards’ – when I asked anyone a) ‘do you speak English?’ and 2) ‘could I borrow your phone?’ they seemed to have forgotten how to understand English.
Out of water, I desperately nibbled at the week-old protein bar I had deep in my luggage – though after a few nibbles, my stomach argued with my fatigued brain. I was literally falling sleep on the spot and was permanently dizzy.
I trod outside, hoping a solution would present itself. When suddenly a patrolling Police car pulled in front of me – mistaking me for a homeless person. I tried to explain my predicament and the angry cop gave me directions of a 24 hours cafe. I begrudgingly heaved my luggage in that general direction and, after finding no sign of ANY cafe, realized I was at a low.
Though only for a split second; I was genuinely scared and if someone gave me the option to immediately go back to a comfortable, familiar home in Australia I would have immediately obliged. I welled up and tears were in my eyes as a homeless man extracted a half-empty bottle of fluid from a bin. But I pulled myself together and looked for any sing of food and/or hospitality. A small. pink sign saying HOTEL WARSAWSKIA was about 100m away, beneath a small, unassuming door.
Thankfully, it opened and I soon blacked out on my bed…”
The next day I made my way to my apartment and it has all been smooth-sailing from there.
I will write about my first few weeks in Krakow in another blog.
Hope you enjoyed my jet-lagged ramblings. If so, let me know in any way and I will continue to display my sufferings for your amusements.