Jewish Genealogical Society of Oregon

UKRAINE JOURNAL, SECTION 1

Saturday, August 31st

Arriving in Warsaw

 

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Yesterday, I flew from Portland, Oregon to San Francisco, connected to a flight to Frankfurt, and then flew on to Warsaw without a problem.  Arrived in Warsaw Saturday afternoon. It took a while to get through passport control in Warsaw, mostly because I got in the line for "all passengers". Should have gotten in the line that was for Poles and Europeans AND "all passengers". It moved faster. No problem though in getting through passport check. Then I headed for the door that said "Nothing to Declare". No one stopped me, so I walked out into the terminal. Grabbed a cab (only $10 … a pre-arranged limo would have cost about $34), got to the hotel (Hotel Mercure, in downtown Warsaw) and checked in without a hitch. Ken had made a reservation for me through the Internet (poland@hotelspoland.com). Internet rates are two-thirds to one-half of the rate you would pay if you made the reservation directly with the hotel, but you have to pay the entire hotel bill “up front” with your credit card.  

No problem checking in. My room is like an American hotel room, about standard size, double bed, very clean. The toilet is literally a "water closet". It is alone in a very small closet-like room. The washroom and shower/tub is in a separate room, and is just fine. Lighting is dim, but adequate ... a little better than American hotels.

When I first got to my room from the airport, I was dying of thirst so I drank about half a glass of tap water, and brushed my teeth with tap water. That may have been a mistake ... but no effects yet. Then I thought, this is foolish, and I called the desk to ask about the water purity. The desk guy was quite definite, "Don't drink the tap water". Whoops. Found a refrigerator in the room and bought a bottle of bottled water from it ... 11 zlotys (about $3.00) for a very small glass bottle, not refillable. Later, a large 1-1/2 liter bottle at a nearby deli cost me 1.30 zlotys, about 45 cents.

I showered, then collapsed and slept for 2 hours.

 

Got up and went for a walk. Managed to find the riverfront, and the re-created old part of the city, but without a guide or guidebook I didn't know what I was looking at. Still, the old part of the city is a treat. They did a very good job of recreating the buildings and plazas as they were before the Nazis levelled the town in WW2. The streets were teeming with people, mostly Poles out for Saturday night. Lots of young people, but lots of "older folks" too. Reminded me of Prague ... but without the German overlay. There are many street vendors (I bought a small loaf of bread for emergency rations ... 1.5 Zloty.), musicians, lots of restaurants etc. Ended up walking around for about 2-1/2 hours.  

Had a pizza and beer for dinner at a sidewalk café (about a 7", very flat, plain cheese pizza). Total cost was under $5. Then walked back to the hotel. Stopped at a "deli" and bought a couple of large bottles of water and a small bottle that I will refill and carry around with me. Good thing I got two. I've already used up one.

Tomorrow, I'll try to find out about a city tour. 

 

 

I haven't figured out how to get on the Internet through the hotel’s phone system. The phone adapter plug that AAA sold me is totally wrong. It is for the "old style" telephones. Doesn't work on the new ones. So, I can't connect my computer ... yet.  There is an RJ-11 type phone jack on the phones, but the wires look different from my phone line wires (they have 4, mine looks like it has three, and the color coding is different), so I'm afraid to plug in lest I burn out my modem. It's too late now to check on this, or to try to buy the right kind of adapter, so I'll wait until morning. It's also not clear what number I would dial. I think the number the desk guy gave me just connects me to American long distance. That could get to be a very expensive e-mail.

They provide Internet via the TV, but it is very hard to use, slow, and the screen is almost unreadable because the resolution is so low. And, they charge 0.7 zlotys per minute, that's more than $11 per hour. I tried to get into Earthlink's webmail, got in once, but then the system bombed and wouldn't let me in again. So, tomorrow, I will try to find an Internet Cafe.  

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