Warsaw the Old Town

I was snooping around places I had no business being at (what is new?) and in one of the old brick buildings I saw this main staircase (think back to the movie “Professionalist”). The light was amazing and I would consider this to be a poor replication of what I saw there. Near the “Wilcza” street.

    Many years back, the last time I have visited motherland, I found an old brick building from before the Second World War.  It was in rather poor condition, but standing, which is statistically unusual (most Warsaw was leveled).  It was standing on a side street named “Foksal eleven” (before WWII it was called Pirackiego St.).  Not being sure if I was heading in the right direction I asked for direction.

    My interest in the building was two fold, one was because I have addictive interest in buildings (unused, falling apart, abandoned and restricted being my favorite) second I have been asked by a history professor I met months back to look around and see what is there to find.  [Edit: Skipping forward, later I found that this professors both parents and grand parents either lived or where shot in, I have send the pictures I took and I am still waiting a replay.]

    This is where the interesting thing happened, a gentlemen in his forties (???) jumped in offering to show me the direction as he was walking in the same direction.  Quite intrigued in my interest, he started talking.  I read few history books in my short life and I have a hard time recalling any of them being so well narrated.  He elaborated on architecture, sewers, man-holes, store sign, etc as well as pieces of history of the Polish Uprising.

    According to his research, there was a battle hospital placed there in sixth of September, in nineteen-forty-two as this was one of the only ways to get into the city from the riverside.  Scary thing was that a five hundred meter travel took about six hours, because of heavy fire.  Price between life and death (side of the fortification) was a bag of rubble, later used to strengthen the barricades.  He was kind enough to take me on a small tour of surroundings, talking with such a ease, as if it was as simple sip from a can of coke or puff of smoke from the cigarette.

    I owe him a lot and now that I look back at yesterday, I wish he would start teaching.  Love for history is one, but ability to narrate like this, one has to be born with and him teaching could get many inspired.  I am now patiently waiting the publication of his book “Samochód Pancerny Zwany Kubuś” by Ekner (when I talked to him, the book was going through last editorial revisions).  I had the chance to take a quick look at the master manuscript and it looks like a fascinating debate of science in historical context.  I thought that engineers that are humanists did not exist anymore.

The 11+ Hour Hike

Warsaw was destroyed in some 80%+ This photo was taken near the Kings Castle, near the street Krakowskie Przedmieście, I recommend visiting Poland for some of the fine architecture, and by it I don’t mean necessary buildings. This chain fence holds a side of a terrace elevated about 150 cm from the street level.

    I have to say that long walks with your shadow as your only companion are a funny thing.  When you walk for a “while”, your foot steps suddenly become a bass rhythm to which your thoughts solo and climax.  All simple things that have mattered in the morning are lost within the first couple hours.  People surrounding you get blurred and replaced by new ones too fast to give them any consideration.  Every step, hearth-beat, breath turns what “is” to what “was”.  Perspective changes as if a adjustment was made from fish-eye to a zoom view.

    What do you remember, what have mattered, what made a difference?  As I was arriving at my house after over eleven hours of walking, I have a list of memories from the day.  Not as many, as one would  have expected, but with many so unusual it got me thinking about it.

    My feet hurt, tomorrow I’m staying home.  Hopefully this will clear up soon, as I have more plans.  I am exhausted, my knees needs more lubrication (DW40 anyone?), I am dehydrated and happy like I have not been in years.  I did something and those thumb size marks on my feet are a proof of it.

    So… I feel that regardless what I tell you about what I have experienced will be untranslatable.  You are probably sitting down, possibly in a comfortable chair and there is the first reason why me explaining to you what eleven plus hours of walking does will fail.  I believe that “you either do the right thing or the easy one”, thus let me paint you an image.

    During a walk like that you torture your body.  Murdering every cell, extinguishing your life as it was defined days before today and yet you blossom, you think clearer then usual.  You see what was concealed and hidden.  You get stripped of what was earthly about you, leaving your soul to freely interact with the surrounding World.  Neither hours of meditation and a bold head, J.C. nor recycling will ever give you a transcendent feeling, so amazing only poets would be capable of describing it.  I know for a fact that it will hurt like hell afterward, that is a price of enlightenment.

Walk to the Mall

The sign says: “Droga wewnętrzna” with a red line over it, it means that your leaving the inner road system and are about to join the “streets” (sorry no hoods in the suburbs). Picture taken on my way back from the mall, I like it for the interesting color mixing.

    Today, the third day of my vacation, I decided to go to the mall.  I have to emphasize that there is something peculiar about big malls separated by more then five kilometer from each other.

    There are shopping centers tossed around Warsaw but as far as I recall the big monsters are all on the peripheries of the city.  Aside of the separation of town and mall, the difference are subtle enough to be omitted without guilt.

    Apart of a car accident in the parking lot, nothing exiting has happened.  I seen a large number of long legs and pretty eyes.  Although I hate making generalization, I think it is worth mentioning that there is not a large number of people smiling.  It bothers me a bit.  I am curious about the reason, I mean it got almost the whole population infected.

    The number of cellphones is much bigger then I have expected.  Cars are getting slightly bigger and I saw a SUV, I know scary.  I feel that unless you are going on a dirt road or over a construction site caring stuff you should get a sedan.

Nikon stuff is about twenty percent more expensive, that is after conversion.

I have left with a feeling of satisfaction, stuff is here.  It seems that for the average person although still bank breaking in the process, more luxuries things are obtainable.

Lunch, Weddings and Chemical Engineer

Main lobby of the Technical University of Warsaw. The posters are showing the “awesome” stuff the electrical engineers did in 2005 or so…
It is a massive building with a real academic feel to it, after Stony Brook Univ. it is rather refreshing.

    Ever since I was in my early teens (thirteen or so years old) I felt as if everyone started to treat me as if I was twenty five or more.  There is nothing wrong with being looked upon as more mature and honestly now that I look back there have been perks to it.  Some examples: never being asked for age verification, being called “sir” and not having my opinions challenged just because of my age.  I was always tall and BFG (Big Friendly Giant) is just one of my latest nicknames, given to me by my students.

    Since I can remember I was treated older then I really was.  This unfortunately has some major drawbacks, you grow up (even if unwillingly) and much faster then your peers, I gained upwards of ten years over night.  Did I have to grow up?  No, well not really.  It is not that I have been given responsibilities exceeding my age, or been faced with decisions well beyond my years.  I was just different, I saw things and I acted upon them.  Always like the company of people twice my age better, and I didn’t get along with most of my peers.  A simple consequence of of being twenty five in seventh grade is that you don’t age for many years.

    I still wake up in the morning and what I see in the mirror is the same face I’ve been seeing for year, not a single thing different.  So when I finally got around to return to the old continent and with enough decency to call up my old friend for lunch, I was surprised.  Now a brilliant Chemical Engineer, and suddenly that wasn’t that girl I used to talk to.  She was a lady, with all the bells and whistles according to this statue.  Even though one could be mislead by the smooth and clear skin, and cheerful smile there was maturity in the way she presented herself and her speech.  This is not an isolated example, out of nowhere my peers (friends) are making me feel younger, as if our age got leveled.  But now I have another issue, a huge chunk of my classmates is married and with kids.  I feel younger but that just does not matter?  Getting married to grow up is much, don’t you think?