Warsaw for the win.

Warsaw, Poland. Excerpts from my journal. IMG_4224 So let's just pick up where we left off, shall we? I arrived in Warsaw by bus from Vilnius (Lithuania) a couple nights ago. And since I'm exceptionally cheap and on the kind of budget where you're not sure when you'll ever find employment again, and haven't paid for accommodation in, oh I don't know, 331 days - it is every intention of mine to keep the free ball rolling and I arranged to stay in Warsaw with a guy I "met" on couchsurfing while in Lithuania. IMG_4273 This guy goes by the name of Mariusz. YOU try saying that. It ain't easy my friends. It's a really good thing he lets me call him Mario... even though he doesn't quite understand my Mario joke. For your benefit, and since I'm digressing, here it is:

What kind of coveralls does Mario wear?

Denim Denim Denim

Haha. Yeah. (you've gotta say it like it's part of the Mario Theme Song... if you click here and skip ahead to 1:40-1:50, you'll hear what I'm talking about. Anyways. Mariusz didn't like the joke. Either that or he's way more mature than I am).   So Mario picks me up from the train station and waits patiently for me even though my train is exactly one hour and 7 minutes late. Nice guy, right? It's late, too. And dark. Nevertheless, he drives us to the old town, where we walk around, check out the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the original town square, and photos from when the city was completely leveled during the war. IMG_4219 IMG_4230 IMG_4231 IMG_4232 The city itself is a mix of old wooden buildings, new, modern scrapers, and the simple, muted, repressive grey soviet blocks. There are some buildings reminiscent of those in Riga's old town, but not as many. Either that or I'm not looking in the right places. I don't find the city as sophisticated or elegant as Riga or Vilnius - it feels like there's a lot less money here, but there's a charm and a beauty to Warsaw that I really dig. Plus, everything is a lot more affordable here. Which is rad when you're on a budget. Or, always. IMG_4220 IMG_4238 Mario lives in the east of Warsaw, in a house he shares with his flatmates. The bathroom, again, does not have a toilet. No no. Why would it? In The Bathroom is a bath, of course! That was embarrassing. Not getting into any more detail with that one, except to confirm that there is, indeed, a toilet in the house. It lives in a room called The Toilet and it's big enough for itself and your two feet, assuming you're not wearing clown shoes. There is no room for a sink in The Toilet. There is, however, a sink in The Bathroom. Not to be confused with the sink you use to wash up after using The Toilet. That's The Kitchen Sink. So, to summarize - the bathroom sink is the kitchen sink, as long as you're still referring to the bathroom as the toilet. Am I perfectly clear? Moving on! IMG_4307"You are a brave girl," Mario tells me. "And, you're crazy. But is good! If you were not crazy, you would still be in Vancouver, typing on computer, not here, experiencing life in Poland." True. The man's got a point. And did we ever experience "life in Poland." The first major component of experiencing this life, Mario informed me, was to eat Perogies. Wasn't hard to convince me on that one; perogies have been my favourite favourite favourite thing ever since my mom started shopping at Costco when I was 5. IMG_4250 The second component was to drink Polish wine. So twist my rubber arm, I did that too. IMG_4274 The third part involved riding Warsaw's intercity train. After perogies and wine, I was about ready to do anything... so we did that too. IMG_4287 IMG_4282 IMG_4285 Then back to his place to crash on his couch (I've said it before and I'll say it again - couchsurfing is possibly the best way to really get to know a city, simply because it enables you to see it through the eyes of a local... instead of through the pages of a tourist book). This is where he lives. IMG_4296 I jest. This is his neighbour's house. THIS is where Mario and his denim denim denim reside. IMG_4300 Nice spot. And, once I was able to discern between The Bathroom and The Toilet and the appropriate uses of the Kitchen Sink, I felt quite at home. Tomorrow I'm joining him in the car as he drives in-and-around Warsaw for work. Should be interesting...