Friday, September 24, 2004

More things about Poland

Polish TV dubs stuff in a very odd way. They have the original soundtrack and then some bloke speaks over the top of it like in a simultaneous translation. He does all the voices - men, women, children. It seems to be the same bloke every time. It seems very cheap, and comes across as very cheap too.

The word "pub" in Poland seems to refer to a bar which is underground in a kind of cave or cellar. If it's on the ground floor it's simply a bar, underground and it's a pub. I have no idea whether this is a universal rule, or whether it's just the places I have been to so far. I could ask someone, but the research is rewarding in it's own way, so I won't bother.

Krakow is obsessed with the Pope. I don;' know if he is from here, or just because he is Polish. But the airport is named "John Paul II" and you can get a map from the tourist office which directs you around the city in a walking tour in which you can "follow in the footsteps" of his Holiness. Surprisingly this is not merely a ten yard zimmerframe track from the cathedral to the parking space reserved for the popemobile, but in fact a quite extensive tour of the old city. He must have been here a good few years ago, or else the "following in the footsteps" is poetic licence for "walking along the route which the motorcade took"

Polish pronunciation is dead hard. Those of you who, like me, enjoy the early rounds of the UEFA cup so that you can follow the progress of Excelsior Mouscron and Odd Grenland, are alomst certainly familiar with the team Widsew Lodz. It may be that you mentally prononce this name "Vidsev Lods" or something similar. But in fact Lodz is pronounced more like Wooj. I have no idea how Widsew is pronounced. Vidsev, Vidshev, Vidshoe are all possibilities that I can imagine. But it's probably more like "Throatwobbler" or something.

Polish people have big noses. This of course is an insane generalisation, but I've seen more massive conks here in the space of the last couple of days than in the rest of my life combined. It must be a slavic/germanic/jewish combination gene which extends the nose to a large degree. I am reluctant to ask, in case people are offended by my observation. Or else just tell me to "fuck off you small nosed bastard".

I am trying to develop a post-dictatorship theory. What makes a country succeed or fail, or move or progress following the ending of dictatorship? In the last few weeks I have been in four countries (well 5 if you count the few hours I spent in Budapest on Tuesday) in which a dictator has been ousted in the last 30 years. Spain, Romania, Serbia, Poland. And they're all in different stages of development. This was primarily brought on by the fact that Serbia is about as developed as Romania despite being bombed by NATO only 5 years ago, and overthrowing its dictator a year or so later. Is it cultural? Is it related to the extent of the dictator's reign and madness? I can only conclude that Ceasescu was particularly backward and it's taking Romania that much longer to pull out. Or that since those that took power after his overthrow were basically the same people who were in power before he got the chop. I'll keep working on it and come back to you when I have a theory worth analysing. Right now, you'll notice it's a work in progress. And not much progress either.

No comments: