Thursday, March 24, 2011

Welcome to Warsaw

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

After a 3-hour delay, we finally left Dulles in the pouring rain last night. We arrived in Amsterdam mid-morning by someone's time zone in that netherworld of jet lag. Of course by then we had missed our connection to Warsaw.

As the others went to a nearby Delta-KLM desk to sort out our new flight, I took a bathroom break, saying loud and clear "Don't leave without me!" and then reminding myself that really wasn't necessary. After all, we had each already been assigned a number for counting off at critical occasions.

But I came out of the bathroom not to see a single face of the other 13 people in our group. The Delta-KLM agent seemed to know what flight I was now booked on, gave me a new boarding pass, and gestured in the direction in which my group had just gone.

I was sure I would see them as I walked what seemed like miles to the new gate. But I didn't. My initial fear turned into anger as I made my way through Schipol, a very big airport indeed.

After going through an obscene patdown and then sitting at the gate alone for 20 minutes, I finally flagged down an airport worker and he helped me with the proper country code so I could call my husband.

Let's just say there were lots of words and everything turned out OK and we all finally arrived in the rather drab city of Warsaw.

Despite the continuing effects of jet lag, we went to a fascinating lecture tonight at the home of an embassy person. The speaker, Andrzej Folwarczny, addressed the relationship of Poles and Jews today, dwelling heavily on the prevailing anti-Semitism. It was a fascinating and brutally honest presentation with a lot of time for Q&A's. It was the perfect introduction to Poland. He sent us each home with the book below.

We have exactly 6 hours to sleep before another day begins. Tomorrow will definitely include some heavy reminders of the Holocaust.

Location:Hilton Hotel


Anonymous lr said...

What a travel day you had!! I'm glad it got sorted out and that your first introduction was interesting and honest. Visiting Holocaust sights will be intellectually and emotionally challenging, I'm sure. Will be thinking of you...

9:16 PM  
Blogger Rayna said...

I hated Warsaw with a passion. It was the most drab, depressing city and the indifference there (and everywhere else in Poland) was blatant.

The synagogue, which only existed because it had been a stable, had been firebombed the week before we arrived and had not been cleaned up. Swastika graffiti and dirt. Don't get me started (well, you already did). Karkow was better. Went to Terezin and Auschwitz-Birkenau, both of which still haunt me.

It was a trip I would never have chosen to make but I am so glad I went. It changed something in me and informs my art to this day.

10:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad you're visiting this dark place with a group of loved and familiar ones (despite the bathroom incident!). This is a trip that will unfold within you for a long while, I expect...Thinking of you.


12:50 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home