Sunday, December 21, 2008

poland - day 3

mon, dec 1

9:45am - 'elite squad' screening
3:00pm - '33 scenes of life' screening
7:45pm - 'slumdog millionaire' screening

let's see, we wake up to blue skies (!) around 8am, have quite the tasty breakfast then head out to what i thought was a screening of kathryn bigelow's 'the hurt locker.' a few seconds into the screening make it clear that unless the setting is the favelas of brazil, we're definitely not watching the right movie. i guess the festival pulled a switcheroo, but the film is in portuguese with polish subtitles. umm, yeah. i race off to get a headset, then comically try to follow the action as the translator butchers the phonetics and cadence of the english dialect. afterwards, marta takes off to go swimming, so i decide to try and walk back to her apartment to see if i have any sense of direction. the answer is no.

however, all is not lost. i stumble upon liberty square, where the statue of tadeusz kosciuszko lies at the heart of. here is the start of piotrkowska street, the main street in lodz and one of the longest in europe, spanning 4.9km. i hoof it back to the festival theatre in time to catch my second polish film, the somewhat depressing '33 scenes of life.' marta informs me that we need to return the rental car (hers had broken down the day i arrived), so that afternoon was my first foray into driving the crazy streets of lodz. of course, somebody cuts me off as i'm following marta in her car, so i do my best not to lose her. mission accomplished, whoo. famished, we head to a mexican restaurant appropriately named 'the mexican,' where they apparently turn out the lights every time somebody orders cheesecake, and a gringo runs out guns ablazing. no really, i kid you not.

we race back to the theatre for 'slumdog,' only to find out the place is wall to wall packed. and when i say packed, i mean every seat, every aisle, every stair and every inch of carpet is occupied by anxious moviegoers. we basically force our way into a spot, which isn't ideal for one's back, and mine was screaming bloody murder by the time the film ended. luckily, the movie was such a crowd pleaser. i have to say, that screening was the most electric i've ever seen a crowd, so much so that there was a standing ovation once the end credits came up, and everybody was clapping to the beat of the end song. it basically reaffirms my belief on why one goes to the cinema...

at 10pm, we hit up kaliska again (yes, there are other bars in the city, but this happens to have a great crowd and is open late), where i get indoctrinated into wyborowa and zubrowka (flavored with bison grass), two of the more famous polish vodkas. here they like to add apple juice with zubrowka, which creates a liquid form of apple pie if you will. let's just say it works for me, shall we?

on the way home, we stop by the train station fabryczna, where i scope out the schedule to cracow (the former national capital) for my tuesday trip. it departs at 6:11am, arriving at 11am, and a roundtrip sets me back $33 so i pull the trigger. seeing as it's now 2am, we head back and do a little bit of online research on some spots for me to hit up. i finally collapse at 3am with much anticipation...

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