Poland: Culture Shock!

I know it isn't usual blog etiquette to publish three days all at once but my internet connectivity is limited. To any poles reading this, don't be offended about my first impression, it is already changing but I still want to record it.
This is what I wrote in my diary at the airport during my Heathrow>Warsaw>Wroclaw flights:
Got up at 5.40am. Broke the bathroom fan. In a rush caught the wrong train. Ad libbed from Victoria Station, heavy bag with lots of stairs a borderline disaster. A man carried it for me - saved a nervous breakdown. Changed the tube 3 times before I got to the right line. Shopping in Heathrow.
Warsaw airport is terrifying. When the plane landed you couldn't see the airport. The man in front of me was carrying 300 cigarettes from duty free and my board pass said 'non-smoking seat'. The guards wear military uniforms and all carry guns, even the women my age. Every store in the airport sells vodka, including the book shop. I couldn't understand anyone on the plane, all the newspapers are polish. After freaking out that I would be refused a visa, arrested by the military men then shot by people yelling at me in Polish, they didn't even ask me one question, only said, 'Enjoy your stay, New Zealander'. Still flustered though. The airport decor could be described as Communist Chic with a splash of orange. There is a woman in full army gear who looks like Uma Therman sitting next to me right now, stretching her leg up to her head repeatedly.
Once I arrived, no one was there to meet me at the airport. Luckily a girl arrived just I started towards the taxis. Wroclaw airport was much nicer and more modern. Half the city looks like it hasn't been done up since WW2, including the backpackers I am in; the peach paint on the ceiling of the empty concrete corridors is falling away to reveal an angel fresco. The hostel took my passport 'for details' once I arrived and refused to give it back when I demanded half an hour later. They laughed and didn't speak english. (I got it back and turns out it was just a miscommunication, although it put me very on edge until they did the same to all the successive people arriving.) The other half of Wroclaw looks like Soviet style apartment buildings painted lime greens, pinks and yellows. Trams run throughout the town. The christmas market was closing in the amazing medieval town square when I arrived. A group of us went for a beer with some Polish AIESECers, who couldn't believe we didn't drink everynight! I do love all the people I have met so far, especially the other AIESECers.

I would like to say that I love Wroclaw too, but right now my hair smells like second-hand cigarette smoke, I'm exhausted and I can't understand any written polish, including this computer. I have taken to smiling and nodding at people instead of talking.
Today I was told that me and two others are being sent to a town not far from Krakow. I had no warning, but I am going to teach in a village for two weeks and will stay with a host family, which means I will be separated from my friends. More adventures await!


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