It still hasn’t sunk in, not completely. This was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I am so grateful I took it.
I’ll start by saying that if you ever get a chance to visit Poland, do it. Don’t let fear of unknown places and differences in culture hold you back, not from coming here. I don’t speak a word of Polish. No, that’s wrong. I can now say “thank you,” but I darn sure can’t spell it. No matter. A startling number of Poles speak fluent English. I haven’t had a bit of trouble since landing in Warsaw. Short hop to Krakow on a LOT Bombardier with a handsome friendly male flight attendant who spoke both languages flawlessly, Uber ride to the hotel with a Polish stud blaring disco punk from the speakers, and a lovely clerk at the hotel who helped get reservations sorted like a champ. Not to mention no fewer than six offers from dashing gentlemen at the airport to help get my luggage down four flights of stairs (for those who don’t know, I walk with a cane and struggle a bit sometimes) and the lovely Hungarian native flying from Florida to visit her mother beside the Danube.
All this, and I haven’t even mentioned running into @instructor2121 at Chicago O’Hare, or the fact that my bestie @gmuxx was waiting for me when I landed in Krakow. Everything has gone so smoothly that I’m afraid to keep talking about that, lest I jinx it.
Steemfest won’t officially kick off until later this afternoon. So for now, I’m just taking it in, absorbing the fact that I’m thousands of miles from everything I’ve ever known, dropped squarely into the middle of a world that has been here long before the nation I call home even existed. These streets have history. And I can feel it. I see it in the eyes of the people who live here. There’s a certain wisdom, a certain knowledge, that transfers automatically from generation to generation, a soulfulness that’s missing in so many other places. I think the whole modern movement in some countries to erase the past from our present is a mistake, but that’s another post. I’ll make that one soon.
I flew out of the Charlotte/Douglas airport Monday afternoon around 5:00. After landing in Chicago just after 6, I immediately got busy trying to get myself to Terminal 5, lest I miss my international flight to Warsaw. So focused was I on my task that I didn’t pay attention to the man sneaking up behind me in a black hoodie and black knit cap.
Would-be mugger? Hah. Not a chance. I turned to see Rick Miller, @instructor2121, doing his ninja routine with a big shit-eating grin on his face. Over six hundred miles from home, and I run into somebody I know in the same airport, same line for the transit to Terminal 5. In what world do things like this happen? Mine, evidently. Most striking about this is that it’s a byproduct of Steem. When you form a close-knit community that spans the globe, bumping into people you know at international airports becomes as common as bumping into people you know at the grocery store. It’s just what happens.
Planes, Trains, and Buses.
Holy moly, the 787 is a big aircraft. A whale of a jet. Three rows of three seats and wide aisles, with a herd of flight attendants and a self-serve juice bar in the tail of the plane. Well, I don’t know if that last part is official, but it was on our particular flight. LOL They fed us two meals and I finally got to watch “The Martian” on the back of the seat in front of me.
Our average cruising altitude was 36,000 feet, and cruising speed was 625 mph. We hit the ground in what was, without a doubt, the hottest landing possible without setting the wheels on fire. I’m literally afraid to say how fast the pilot came in based on the in-flight information system, because it seems impossible. But let’s just say we all met the backs of the seats in front of us up close and personal, that there was lots of rubber screeching and smoking, and I’ve never heard engines roar so loudly to slow forward momentum. At least we made it out alive.
The brief flight from Warsaw to Krakow was on a prop plane. At first this troubled me, but only until we hit the air. From my seat, I could watch both the right propeller and the right landing gear in action. My fear of airplanes has turned to fascination.
The INX Design Hotel is remarkably attractive, inside and out. In my opinion, they sacrifice practicality for fashion a little too much, but it’s far from camping. And the fact that I actually ate Polish sausage in Poland is going to be a bragging point from now on.
How to Guarantee Seeing Someone You Know? Wear Your PJs in Public
A quick meetup with @katrina-ariel? No problem. Katrina and I have hung out before. She knows what I look like. But dang—I sneak down to the INX front desk to make sure the last day reservation was booked properly, and BOOM. There’s @crimsonclad, tackle-hugging Muxxy and scaring him witless, and none other than the @steembirds themselves behind me in line. GAAAH! Well, at least I’ll be dressed for the meet and greet. It’s an hour away, so I’d best stop typing, get this posted, and start heading to the Qubus.