Monday, 16 July 2007

pit anyone?

All in all I am glad that almost-developed-but-not-quite countries such as Poland are not contributing as much to the global warming problem as their developed-and-kicking-hard friends, but geezuz will ya BLOW SOME AIRCON MY WAY PLEASE!!! Needless to say it’s been freakin’ hot here of late. Really hot. Living under the roof with slanted ceilings may be pretty and all, but it is a balmy bitch from hell. I wish I had some sweet air-conditioning bliss to send relief to my sweated arse. Instead I desperately await for the sun to set and in the meantime submerge myself in icy baths. Even the tiles in the kitchen are too hot to lie on. But the big problem really is the public transport. For the first time ever I have begun to dislike catching Krakow’s trams. Why, you adamant lover of light rail? Because the trams stink. Body odour off a sweaty young adolescent male pit anyone? Or how about the intoxicating sudor emitted from a fat moustached butcher lady? Last I checked deodorant is available on all supermarket shelves. In fact, the variety of deo sticks and sprays falsely misrepresents that the Poles are smelling musky and spring flowery. Why the hell then do a lot of people stink, despite hygiene and cleanliness being culturally acceptable? Two reasons:

1) Deodorants have only become widely available in the last 15 years or so. Commy times meant a deo stick here or there would arrive in an overseas package from an uncle living it up in the States. If you had no uncle in the States, then soap was your only friend. Or talcum powder. Which leads me to wonder if the breast cancer stats are lower in Poland. Hence the lack of deo routine has stayed with a lot of people of the older generation. Poor stinky bums.

2) The price. For some bizarre and god-knows why reason, the tax on cosmetics is extremely high in Poland. And I’m not talking just about the fancy French shit. Everyday products such as creams, shampoos, hair styling goods, scrubs, deodorants, conditioners etc, carry hefty price tags comparable to the western pocket, and are regarded as ‘luxurious’ goods by tax legislation. So many people stink because they prefer to spend their money on other staples such as food. Or beer.

Nonetheless I am an awful harsh wench, and the above two reasons are in no way justifiable. You wanted the west, then you go and clean ya pit! Deodorant companies are stupid bafoons, because they have a ready made market just waiting to be embarrassed. All you need is to send some of those free-products-for-everyone girls onto all of Krakow’s trams, hand out free deo samples and erect billboards with slogans such as “Poland stinks. Do something about it” or “If your mother didn’t teach you good hygiene maybe we can!”


mischa said...

that was one reason i left tunis in such a hurry. the day after i left, it hit 47 degrees. and none of the trams or trains are airconditioned. they have those pissy little fans we used to have in the back of the volvo in the days before air-con. and deodorant is almost unheard of.

Anonymous said...

In 70s we have had deodorants for every single part of the body... BAC being the leader on the market... My girlfriend's mother in law (biologist) was trying to tell us about ozon hole - back then! -but no one wanted to use "Made in Poland" deo in a glass bottle... I am sure trams stank as they still do... WE have had one bathroom to share between three families... A.

Michael said...

Heartily agree with this. The trams are foul.

Justyna said...

Ah, my anonymous friend your comment has given me more food for thought. The hatred for the orchestrated market and rule was so deeply seeded that people chose to stink rather than succumb to ‘home-grown’ products. Smelly resistance?

Andrew said...

I live in Krakow, and have often mentioned to my Polish friend (who lives in Sydney) that the stank here could be bottled and sold as a rape prevention device.

Today I was whinging about it again (this weather is only good for stinking and whinging) and he said "Oh yeah, Karen's Polish friend wrote about that."

... Karen has a Polish friend?

Point is, while the stink is pretty bad in Krakow, you should try going out to the country. I used to work in a small village south of Krakow and the only thing worse than the BO was the smell of burning rubber.

Can't these people come to grips with basic sanitation? WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BURN OFF EVERY PIECE OF RUBBISH THEY FIND?

Then, of course, stinking of burning rubber, cigarettes, and the type of BO you can only get by wearing water-soured clothes over and over again, they get in my elevator. :(

Justyna said...

Andrew - we were at our plot a couple of weeks ago, having a bonfire and roasting sausages. Our old next door neighbour Pani Irenka (see previous posts) 'helped' to start the fire by throwing in her old rubber sneakers. Ah, the sausages were so tasty.

Mind you, lack of landfill space has a lot to do with the burning stench that goes on...