Warsaw ramblings cont….
On the same holiday, Summer 1956, I met another 9 year old boy, Janusz and we have kept up our friendship ever since. He is a writer, journalist, TV journalist, producer of TV serials etc. We shared various holidays and proms, thanks to his mother I passed my Latin exams at Warsaw University, we knew each other’s girlfriends/boyfriends, husbands/wives. My father and I laughed reading his first attempts at short stories, and, as he from his teenage days swam against the tide, we all understood why communist censors would not publish any of it. He visited my parents after I left for the UK to show off his first born daughter. Recently he made a documentary program about my mother.
Janusz was delighted to see me again, especially because I was wearing sharp pink trousers (thanks to a last minute shopping trip in Auckland with Stephanie May) which complemented his “lime green” trousers (he was told recently by a friendly ‘do-gooder’ to dress according to his age in dark colours).
So now back to Warsaw, as you can see in the photo we are sitting at a cafeteria.
Dogs in Warsaw
As the whole of Dunedin’s City Centre is a no go area for dogs, I was so surprised to learn and see dogs everywhere in Warsaw. You can take them into bars, cafés and restaurants. They walk freely with their owners on the main streets and shopping precincts, they ride free of charge on busses and trams.
I do not know if there is another major city in world where you can comeback after forty years and find that the main routes for busses and trams remain the same. The ones I used 45 years ago tram nos 15, 9 & 7 still go through my old street of Grojecka and bus 116 drives from Zoliborz (my first home) past Warsaw University to Wilanow just as it always did.
The only difference is the actual trams and busses. Originally rickety, noisy things with open ended platforms, from which your could jump on or off or between the stops are gone, they have changed into futuristic, very long vehicles with bendy carriages. They talk to you in between the stops letting you know where you are, where are you going to. Television screens confirm your routes and display news flashes. It was on a tram that I learnt of Serena Williams win at the American Open.