Sunday, September 21, 2008

Do widzenia to summer

There have been some frightening rumors going around recently, and I'm not just talking about those related to the future of unstable financial markets.

Somehow, I'm not considered a newbie in Krakow anymore. I'm even showing other people around, and some Polish people have admitted that I actually understand some of their language. Once a gringa, always a gringa? I'm doing my best to avoid it, but you know what, sometimes I like to cook my pierogis with extra hot tabasco sauce. Maybe I can live with being the eternal American if it means not needing a reason to smile and enjoying heavily spiced cuisine.

In any case, I have bigger fish to fry. Such as buying my first pair of snow boots as well as an outer layer that looks more like a sleeping bag than an actual item of clothing. That's right, there will be no more jaunts through the wooded mountains of the Tatras to pick fresh raspberries straight off the bush, because Zakopane has already had their first snowfall. The good news is, Krakow has plenty of activities to do indoors, and here are some of my favorites of the past few weeks:

- A sea shanty concert at a bar called Stary Port, with corresponding nautical theme (stuffed parrot included). It sounded exactly like Irish folk music, including a Polish version of "Whiskey in the Jar." But my favorite act was the opener, where two small Polish boys dressed in matching nautical striped shirts sung a raucous song where the chorus went (in Polish) "I am a little Pirate!"
- Drinking hot chocolate at Nowy Prowincia that is actually a melted Hershey bar. You eat it with a spoon.
- A random jazz concert at Alchemia, a very bohemian bar complete with a Johnny Depp lookalike as bartender. I felt like I was in Paris circa 1900. Needless to say I'll be going back.
- A conversation with a taxi driver in which my pronounciation was good enough to fool him for the first 30 seconds of the conversation. Then he told me my Polish wasn't that bad, and I actually don't think he was saying it out of pity. He told me to keep learning, and that he wished he had learned more English.

In order to make it through a week straight of 46 degrees rain (8 Celsius if you are Euro), it's all about the small victories.

But mostly the melted chocolate.