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Monday, July 21, 2008

Warsaw, Poland, Part I

The main reason that we decided to visit Warsaw was because the International Church in Warsaw was offering their pastor's apartment, referred to as the Manse, for low rent during the summer months. The church was between pastors and it would be a good way for the church to acquire some extra income. We thought, great. Bargain accommodations, help the church, see Warsaw. What was there not to like? Plenty.
The ad for the apartment was horribly misleading. 1st: It claimed that "The Manse" was centrally located. In our opinion, it was not. It was located about a half hour bus ride from all the stuff you'd want to be around. So going in and out of the city was not an easy thing to do, hence, once we left in the morning, we spent the entire day in the city. Also, you'll understand why returning to the apartment for a midday break was unappealing after you read point 3 of why the ad was misleading. So staying in the city all day was very tiring and offered no real chance to enjoy the evening in Warsaw. 2nd: The term Manse is defined in two ways. First, the house and land occupied by a minister or parson. Second, the dwelling of a landholder; a mansion. Manse sounds like mansion right? Only in the case of the landholder and not the parson. We were not expecting luxury, but we weren't ready for squalor either. When we first walked in we were both in a state of shock. I knew Doug was thinking, what has Jodi gotten me into this time as I was the one who made all the arrangements and suggested the outing. The bed was clean, as far as we could tell. The floor was not too clean. I wore my Crocs the entire time inside the house. The bathroom was passable but just. I just tried not to think about it too much and did my business as quickly as possible. The kitchen was a disaster. Even if you, like Joey on Friends, don't tend to see or notice dirt it was tough. So for someone like me, who has on numerous occasions been told to stop being so Monicaish, I almost passed out. We quickly decided that we'd be eating breakfast elsewhere.
3rd: The ad completely failed to mention that someone LIVES IN THE APARTMENT! And was sharing the space with us. And he resembled the Unabomber. I'm not kidding. So, we walk in and quickly come to understand that we will not be alone in this rat hole, but instead of just the dirt we also have to tolerate company, and shall we say, colorful company at that! Now, Doug and I are not opposed to meeting new people. In fact, our profession rather demands that. That's in part why when we go on vacation, we like to not have to build relationships with strangers. We like to not have to figure out how to chitchat with someone that we will never see again. Oh, the guy was nice enough, but clearly had fallen on some tough times and clearly was not completely healthy. So we tried to sneak out for a little something to eat before we went to bed and when he asked if could join us, well, what could we say? We were going to be sharing his home for the next three nights! Oj, oj, oj. So off we went to the neighborhood pub where at least the Polish beer was very good and very cheap. We listened to him wax nostalgic about his glory days as a pianist and regale us with tales of great wealth in a former life. We were very happy that we had decided on a three night stay in greater Warsaw instead of the four we had originally planned for. At the end of the day, it always proves to be true: You really do get what you pay for.