Major Adventures

Just a bloke's records of how his life unfolds.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Halloween 2006

Its getting bigger and bigger over here. I heard that it was the Irish who started it all and used to carve turnips, then when they went to the Americas they carved pumpkins.
Ellie, my 3 year old neighbour made £18 from trick and treating in our street alone. Plus about a kilo of sweets. HOW CRAZY!


Friday, October 27, 2006

The Devil Wears Prada

What a terrific film, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I detest Meryl Streep at the best of times and this movie just gave me cause to despise her even more, what perfect casting. I am concerned, however, for the character of Andrea Sachs was harshly treated. She had just 'fallen' into a job that provided her with a new outlook on life, new experiences and adventures. It was a post that allowed her to explore another side of her personality and creativity and extend herself. I was slightly frustrated with her friends and boyfriend who seemed not to be supportive of this new venture. They constantly criticised her for not following through with her 'morals' and 'what she stood for before she started working for the magazine'. Sure it is hard that she was late home for the boyfriend's birthday, I understand that it is frustrating but was it his 30th? Was it a landmark occasion? She had not even finished 12 months in the job and was learning the ropes, enjoying the challenges and thriving under the pressure and thrill of overcoming all the challenges sent out there by Miranda Priestly (Streep). Isn't it just a matter of Tall Poppy Syndrome?

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Saturday, October 14, 2006

The Mystery of Bus 406

According to my trusty pal, The Lonely Planet Guide,Poland, one can catch a bus from Wroclaw's main train station to the airport, a journey of approximately 20 minutes for 2.50 PLN about 60p or AU$1.30 which is not bad going.
According to the LPG, the bus stop is out the front of the station. There is a tram stop there but no Bus 406. To the side of the station, there are 4 bus stops where about 20 buses call at, but not the Bus 406. At the back of the train station there are 3 more bus stops where another 10 buses call at but no Bus 406. I was getting suspicious.
According to a lovely Polish couple, "Bus 406 is 200m further down there, past the station". I still had plenty of time, so I stopped to catch my breath and chat to this couple who have learned English from music charts and television. The bloke said that he spoke little English - he is fluent in my book in comparison to many people living in London - but nope after ending the conversation and searching for that bus stop; still no Bus 406.
According to Jordi logic, the bus station would have a bus to the airport - but no! According to the lady at the information booth who only spoke Polish but can flap her arms like an early model pioneer airplane, the Bus 406 does exist and its blah blah blah blah BUT she drew a map as she explained. IF you can remember mud maps from your Year 7 and 8 Geography, she would have been asked to resubmit in order to receive a pass grade.
According to her mud map, I could have been up the creek without a paddle not standing at a bus stop waiting for Bus 406. Finally giving up, I slothed my way to the taxi rank, I was driven to the airport for 70 PLN, 15kms, 10 minutes, £12, reasonable in the world of international taxis in other cities. All along the route to the airport, I kept my eyes peeled for a bus stop for the infamous Bus 406, according to my calculations, its a Polish conspiracy just to keep the tourists guessing and catching Taxis.
According to my eyes, when I arrived at the airport, the Bus 406 does exist or its an exhibit and what's more, its a new grand spanking new bus!! Well, I never!

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bus Trip 2: Auschwitz - Krakow, POLAND

Realising that I was charged for 2 tickets for the tour around the Auschwitz museums, I asked for my 26PLN returned and it was done so with a HUGE apology. The lady then told me where the bus left to go back to the train station to go to Krakow. Yes, I did ask, she didnt just volunteer to tell me! Anyone who knows me and my interpretation of maps - I am the one who has to turn the map upside down to face the direction I am going and then I still don't get it!
I pointed to the map with the bus stop indicated to a lady standing there. She nearly died of fright and asked her husband who spoke in perfect English. He took me on his bus with him and stood by me, telling me not to take the train because they are too slow and unsafe, "You must take the bus" "Tak, OK I said".
The lovely man kicked me off the bus at the 4th stop and told me to look at the timetable for the Krakow and suggested that a bus would be here at 16h20 - well a little bus did arrive at 16h20 but I thought it was too little, I thought it was a school bus. It was only when the same sized bus arrived at 16h45 I realised that the buses between here and there are just little! :) I hopped onto the bus just after the young, lovely, bus driver hopped off and took my bags and placed them in the 'boot', he took my 7PLN and I was seated next to a Polish army officer in his Khakis who looked all of 17 years of age. So finally, the man on the other bus was right, it was quicker and safer and nicer taking the bus than train. And so cheap.

The Ghosts of Yesterday with the Kids of Today

My Montage II Auschwitz II

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My Montage of Auschwitz II

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Bus Trip 1: Katowice - Auschwitz, POLAND

Happy Birthday Froggie!
Rise at 8h30, thinking it was 7h30 so already running late, without starting. Shower and packing time, then breakfast.
  • Soft boiled eggs with a curry mayonnaise
  • hams, sausages, cheeses and pickles.
  • breads, pastries oh and muesli.
  • Whole pieces of fruit, orange and grapefruit juice.
Stupidly assumin all buses leave from the same depot as last night's arrived at, I headed to the ticket booth and asked for a one way tickent to Auschwitz. Only to be greeted by alovely lady with a pained expression on her face, I obviously was in the wrong depot. It didn't matter how slow her Polish was or my English was, we were never going to understand each other's words. I recognised one word, "Mc Donald's", I replied with a jubilant smirk upon my face TAK!! OK!! we had established communication. But ... what about McDonald's? She then started her routine which I originally thought she was reenacting and comentin on the latest backstroke finals held a tthe olympic pools last night. I came to the conclusion that this lady should not attempt to enter any pool for fear of drowning nor enter a theatre sports competition in miming.
I had the visual idea of where McDonald's was from last night, as it was the only place open to eat when I arrived in town oh and the only place I understood the menu! ... From McDonalds, keep going and going and going, finally turning left (not the turn at the end of the pool) and the buses should be there. It was on my return journey from where I had come from this morning that the correct terminous became apparent, it was only 5 minutes from my hotel, "The Katiwice Hotel" which jumpedstraight out of from the functional building era from the iron curtain époque.
Arriving at the bus terminous, I entered an office that was very aptly labelled, 'BILLETS' (tickets) only to be told that she wasnt ready and that my bus was not until 10h00, its 9h21 thus far. The day hasn't started and already I am exhausted and worried because I wanted to be in Auschwitz for the 11h00 English tour.
I had the bright idea in the plane last night, albeit cowardly, to write out all the phrases I needed in polish on cards - then just look dumb (literally) at least - It worked! Thanks Lonley Planet Poland Guide, you have saved me once again!
Finally I bought my ticket and boarded the bus with an over excited bus driver who communicated by saying Auschwitz - Australianenski: "Tak Tak" I said, we smiled, lauhed, I boarded the bus, read my book to arrive at 10h50 with the driver saying "Australianensky - Auschwitz - Tak?!" Then he continued talking to me, very clearly in Polish, its a pity that I dont speak 10 words. He tried to explain to me how I could get to the museums, I thought I understood, but I was just in deep rooted denial that my French and English could actually help here. I went through the doors that he pointed to, then went out to the bus stop he had mentioned when I hear "Australianensky - Auchwitz" to turn around then see my personal chauffeur bus driver motioning to me that I was not at the right stop and that I follow him. So that I did. He then stopped another bus which was in midst of leaving, spoke to the drive, they smiled qt me, I got on the bus, all too trustingly, waving good bye to my new found friend who was waving me off oh so enthusiastically, the bus headed from the depot along roads I kept gazing along to find signs to indicate I was on the right bus. The bus stopped some 15 minutes later, the driver came up to me, takes my bag off the bus and shows me where to walk to ... thanks! Friendly people these Poles.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Plan - London - Rome - Poland - London

If you have ever lived or travelled in London, you know the longest part of the journey is to get from your place to the airport. In fact, when flying to most destinations in Europe, it will take longer from your loungeroom to the airport than the flight from London to your destination.

13h52 train Hatch End - Harrow & Wealdstone
14h17 train Harrow & Wealdstone to Gatwick Airport
15h22 Arrive Gatwick Airport
Dep: London - Arr: Rome 21h25

Saturday - Arrive - Dinner then sleep.
Sunday - Lunch & Tour with Uli & Mimmo. Dinner with PP and Silvia
Monday - Head into the city to catch up with PP and Silvia. Dinner with Uli & Mimmo
Tuesday - Roaming in Rome... Fly to Poland

Tuesday Evening:
Rome - Katowice

Katowice -

11h30 English Tour of Auchwitz



9h30 Dep: Krakow - Arr: Wroclaw 13h10
21h30 Dep:Wroclaw - Arr: London 23h25