Monday, March 19, 2007

Opole Mio

Andrew Humiliates a Tramp

Copernicus Airport. Great name, miniature airport. It is located 9 bus stops away from the train station in Wroclaw. Whichever way you mentally pronounced 'Wroclaw' just then, know that it was wrong. W in Polish is pronounced 'V', C is pronounced 'TS' and L (with a line through it) is pronounced 'W'. Of course! So the city is called Vrotswav. Easy!

I asked the man at the information desk for some information. He looked terrified and went to get someone else. I had a look around. It didn't take long. Vrotswav's airport is bigger than my house, and probably bigger than your house, but not bigger than your house AND my house. I saw an ATM machine - necessary, as I hadn't brought any Polish zlotys (or xwafkas if you want to pronounce the currency properly.)

Another, taller, man came to give me some information. I needed to get bus 406. I thanked him, and for the next four minutes he watched me like a hawk as I tried and failed to get money from the ATM. I wondered if he would lend me some money. Probably not. Fortunately, a generous auntie had left me twenty pounds in a game of Monopoly so I had just about enough for the bus and train.

At the train station I joined a random line. Or was it random? My queue was full of stunning women. They were slow though, which gave me time to look at all the helpful English signs. Yes, that was sarcasm: there were no signs in English. I didn't have a clue what was going on or how to get to Opole. I started to panic slightly.

At that moment, a tramp decided to stand next to me. He poked me in the elbow, said some things, and finally started pointing into his mouth. His teeth were rotten and distorted, like a row of diseased trees, each of which has been repeatedly struck by lightning.

'Don't be touching me,' I said. 'Shoo.'
He wouldn't leave me alone. I stared ahead at the unmoving queue. He poked me again and repeated his curious gesture. Finger into the mouth. Finally, two girls behind me started to berate him. 'Leave him alone, he's a foreigner,' they probably said. I turned and realised they were pretty.
'Hi,' I said to the best one, 'Do you speak English?'
She giggled shyly. 'A little. Giggle.'
'Please can you tell him,' I pointed to the tramp, 'That I am not gay?'
It took a moment to sink in, and then the girls laughed, delightfully. To my surprise, they passed the message on to the tramp. 'He's not gay,' they said in Polish.
'Nie, nie,' said the tramp, then waved his hands in exasperation and moved on. One nil!
I turned to the hot girl. 'Can you help me get to Opole?' I asked.
'Of course,' she said.
She was delightful. I'd probably be married to her by now, if our first meeting hadn't involved me being really mean to a homeless man.