Tuesday, 8 May 2007

valid warnings?

Apologies for the delay in blogging. There was a long weekend here in Poland – Constitution Day. Incidentally the first written and codified Constitution in Europe in 1791 – second in the world after the States – it codified the freedom of religion and gave political equality to the peasants. Beetroot picking serfs began to have a say. Pity the founding roots of a political culture do not stand much for today, in a country where only 48 per cent of the population goes to vote and the one political voice of the people is a big fat whine. You only have to look at the country’s leaders for the symbolic essence of the political atmosphere in Poland. Yes, the president and the prime minister are identical twins!! They’re about 156cm tall, and one of them lives at home with his mother and his cat. And no, last year’s elections were not rigged. People actually voted for them! Mind you, what is interesting is that the economy in the country is so strong at the moment that irrespective of what the government does, the Polish zloty is powering through and people are starting to lead comfortable lives.

Jaroslaw the Prime Minister on the left (the one who has a cat),
the President Lech Kaczynski on the right
(has a wife and no longer lives with his mother)

We spent the weekend in the mountains again. This time it was by the Ukrainian border in the Bieszczady Ranges, where the mountains continue further into the East. We arrived late in the day on Thursday and the first signs of us getting old and worrisome appeared when we got stopped by a park ranger. We had planned to set up camp in the late evening within the mountains in a national park where you are not supposed to set up camp willy nilly. Normal practice, for Michal and I at least. The ranger rushed out of his ranger station, clomping in his wooden clogs with a massive beard yellowed by tobacco smoke warning us it was not a good idea to freelance camp, due to the current ‘climate’ conditions. He was neither talking about the weather nor about the hungry bears waking from their winter hibernation. He was warning us about the Afghans and other “easterners” who in desperation of trying to get into the EU have been doing "harrowing" things to campers in the mountains. I scoffed at the lame reason provided and was about to shrug it off, when I saw my fellow campers starting to nod their heads in agreement making a hasty retreat. What??!! Where was our adventurous spirit and youth?! Where was our carpe diem mindset and the hospitable nature in sharing our Spam can of meat with a hungry Afghan who probably wouldn’t eat the filth anyway?! “This sucks”, I mumbled underneath my breath as I watched my decline into nannadom and boot camping. As I dragged my feet and whined Michal began to yell at me for having no humility and a sudden inability to adapt to a new environment. Yeah, whatever, maybe he was right. I made him take 8 litres of water in his backpack once when we went hiking in Oz and I remember his Polish head looking at me like I was a crazy spaz. He argued a bit but later learned how crucial and scarce water supply in the bush was. Maybe the crazy Afghans do rape and pillage the virgins in the mountains and steal their two minute noodles and camping socks…

all the post boxes in the mountains had the toadstool hats

a lake in the mountains

bieszczady mountains


Michael said...

Did you see any bison?

Justyna said...

nope. there is a small population somewhere in the forests though.

edd said...

i absolutely love the "post box with toadstool" idea! if only little bearded dwarves would come and collect the mail! perhaps the kaczynski's could have a life after politics...need to grow beards though.