From all smiles to painful everything

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At one point, I remember telling myself that I’ll check the time – if it’s midnight or so I’ll go home, otherwise I’ll be late for the next day’s classes. It was 2:30 AM. FML, better get going…

Getting back home i.e. to Martyna’s place (my AirBnB host), wasn’t that easy. It was a 30 minute walk away but I wanted to bus it, because lazy. The problem is that the night buses here don’t always stop at all bus stops – you need to hail the driver as if you’re on fire – and they might still miss you.

Since I didn’t quite know where I was going I figured that all I needed to do was to count the bus-stops and get off at the fifth stop (just like my GoogleMaps told me). Well… after a bit it became very clear that this strategy doesn’t work when the bus skips stops. In no time I was at the city center’s final station.

This was a tad bit inconvenient. At my lowest point of desperation I asked a cab driver whether he could give me a ride. His response was “I don’t speak” and then he rolled up the taxi window. Wanker! I was cold and unhappy and everything was shitty and he doesn’t even make an attempt to understand me.

Anywho, it took me a while to figure out the logistics of getting back to Martyna’s flat. The munchies hit real hard moments later – I ate everything I had, before I passed out to dreamland.

The previous day I packed my stuff and headed off to Warsaw to my very first zouk festival. In all honesty I didn’t even want to go. I was making all kinds of excuses – it’s going to be cold and I’ll get sick and won’t be able to properly train for the London Marathon etc. However, I couldn’t have been more wrong.

My flight was from Luton. I think I saw Annie Jaffrey at the airport. It might have been somebody else though.

I remembered the Jim Jeffries segment about plane etiquette as I was happily taking both armrests in my aisle seat (living dangerously!!!). Pilar gave me a book “A field guide to the British” by Sarah Lyall to help kill the time in the air. The book’s about an American who writes about living in the UK and getting used to the life here. I have to agree with a lot she said. I’ve been in the UK for two years and consider myself an expert on all things British. For example did you know that the part where you’re supposed to rinse the dishwashing liquid off your dishes is considered optional. People don’t talk to their neighbors but exchange letters instead. And there’s the thing about not heating their homes – they seem to like to freeze.

Back to Warsaw. I was all smiles after I got out at the train station. They have snow!!! It was the proper white stuff which doesn’t immediately melt like it does in the UK. I haven’t seen this kind of weather for about 4-5 years. It was beautiful. Things were looking good!

I spent the entire first evening chatting with Martyna (my AirBnB host). She’s lovely and made my stay in Warsaw very pleasant. Her apartment is beautiful and so nice and warm – nothing like the place in Angel which I call home.

zouk libre

The plan for the following day was to have a luxury day i.e. chill at a spa, have my nails done and get a massage kinda stuff. Then go to the Zouk festival. On my way to the ‘spa’ place I got a bit lost and went to a gym instead. I figured I needed to get in a 10K run anyway. Last time I was in a gym was 7 years ago. I did 13km on the treadmill and then surfed the internet in the ‘relax room’. It was quite nice actually.

I ran in my socks since I didn’t pack my running shoes. This resulted in two blisters.

I did a few classes at the festival and went to the party. I was about half an hour late to the party but still one of the first ones to show up. However, people slowly started to drop in and soon it was so crowded there wasn’t enough room on the dance floors – yes plural.

Saturday was similar – but classes started at 11:30 AM, followed by a party at 10PM. During our lunch break I went to get a cup of coffee at the hotel’s bar. The barman saw me and said something I didn’t understand. As I didn’t reply he gave up on me and approached the person behind me. Then I asked if I could get a black coffee. Here’s the transcript of our conversation (barman in italics): ‘One coffee!’ Yes, please. ’Black, not black, white!’ At that point I wasn’t sure I wanted my coffee any more. Black, please. ‘Here! Or! Take Away!’ Here. ‘6 zloty!’. Uhm, can I pay with my card? I think this is where the barman ran out of both patience and English – he gave me the POS machine to make the card payment. We never spoke again. After that Gestapo-like interrogation I finally got my cup of coffee which, by the way, was the best coffee I’ve had in a long time.

I got home around 5:30 AM, had a few hours of sleep and then back to school – classes started at 11 AM and ended around 7 PM. I had dinner at home and felt quite tired. I decided to squeeze in a power nap but woke up around midnight. Oh well, there’s plenty of time to get to the party I thought.

I’m very glad I decided to head back. I think I fell in love with Aoife (Ireland). She managed to hit me in the face twice during one song. I guess this brings good luck. 😀 I’m not sure I’ve had this much fun dancing with anyone else. She was amazing!

The party ended at 6 AM and I bussed back home. The only warm place on the bus was the area where my thigh met the other lady’s thigh who sat next to me. Getting off a bus is a bit of a mystery to me. The driver doesn’t open the door. There seems to be a button somewhere but I always fail to find it. Every time that happened the bus driver shouted something at me – probably profanities to express his disbelief about how stupid I was. To this day I still don’t know how the doors open. It will forever remain a mystery.

I got home and everything was aching – my feet, shins, thighs, back etc. This dancing business is a serious workout. Would I recommend it to a good friend? Absolutely! I had a very good time in Warsaw. The Zouk Libre Festival was a great success and I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Poland.

Ivar