Thursday, June 12, 2014

We're Here!

(L-R): Donal, Dylan, Mily, Jeanette, Glenda, Jack, Lovia,
 Courtney, Jody, Aleisha, Jeremy, Adam, Daniel, Krystle,
 Anthony, Jonathan, and Joseph
Our flight to Warsaw was on Lufthansa, on a huge plane that had two stories with individual movie players for each passenger.  Everyone could get up and walk around, and some students snoozed, others took advantage of the free movies.  German airline allow alcoholic beverages.  Since it is against CSUN rules to drink, of course none of the students imbibed the wonderful beers or wine!  After a stop in Munich, where we checked into the European Union with our passports and enjoyed the free beverages and discovered yet another style of bathroom (the circulating cloth hand dryers were a novelty to this young set of students, not so for the elders!), we took the short flight to Warsaw Chopin Airport and met up with another student and our Warsaw guide, Kasia.

Watching the World Cup, Brazil v. Croatia
After settling down at the hostel, we took a walking tour (led by Donal [Prof. O’Sullivan]).  We walked along a street with beautiful and full of old-looking historic churches, gates, statues, buildings, and gorgeous vistas.  It seemed like a fairy tale!  We spent the evening enjoying scenic Old Town Warsaw. 

University of Warsaw main entrance

Some people watched the World Cup in a bar, others ate authentic Polish food in outside restaurants and were eaten alive by mosquitoes!

Old Town, getting dark
Babakan - historic gates of Old City

 Cultural differences we noticed:
1. All that public transportation, so readily available, was astonishing.  We took a public bus from the airport directly to the neighborhood of our hostel.  Can you believe that University of Warsaw has no student parking lots??  Just trams leading up to the arches at the university entrance. 

2. Polish society is very white.  The black students among us got special attention: on two occasions, people asked very politely if they could be photographed with the black students.  The rest of us just either blended in (we thought!) or felt obviously darker, smilier, or obviously American. 

3. The night life in the area we were in was very different!  People stay up later and eat later.
 They seemed far more laid back: no one is in a rush in the restaurants, and people were outside in “patio dining” restaurants enjoying the cool evening air.

Then we all went back to the hostel for an attempt to sleep before Friday’s busy schedule.  

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