Saturday, December 31, 2005

Śnieg padał i padał i padał & Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku

It snowed almost constantly for several days, and the end result is SNOW. Lots and lots of snow. I went for a walk yesterday and passed many parked cars that looked as though they'd need to be dug out before anyone could drive them anywhere, and others that you'd have to move a lot of snow just to find out which car is hiding underneath.

This car was actually driven early yesterday morning, and this is the result of just one day's worth of snow, so you can imagine what it would look like if the car hadn't been used for a few days.

It looks quite nice, and it's fun to walk in - so soft and fluffy. I walked outside my building and my boots and lower legs disappeared into the snow :) which was fun until I realised that some naughty snow had found its way into my boots and from there proceeded to freeze my feet.
There's definitely plenty of snow available, and it does have a high novelty value for me, but the downside is that it is now really dangerous to try to drive anywhere, and I've been told that the trains are probably going to be later than usual, so it's probably a good thing that I don't have any major travel planned for this weekend.

It also happens to be the 31st of December today which means that tomorrow won't be. In fact, there's a strong suggestion that tomorrow could be the 1st of January 2006. So Happy New Year to all! If you've travelled to New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania or any other places to the east of Australia, you would already be in the new year at the time of my writing of this post. If you're in Queensland, then you have about 20 minutes left before the new year kicks in. Because I'm in a later part of the world, I still have 9 hours and 20 minutes until the new year makes its way around to me.
So, I wish you all good luck for all your endeavours in the coming arbitrarily designated 12 month period.

Friday, December 30, 2005

More Snow

These are some pictures of the snow on my window sill. Not that at least one window is open in all pictures. This means that I had to brave the chilly outside world to take these photos.

Thursday, December 29, 2005


Today is Thursday. That means tomorrow will be Friday, the next day will be Saturday. Saturday, as usual, will be followed my Sunday and then, in turn, we'll have Monday. Monday means that I have to go back to work. I'm not looking forward to this as I like resting and not working. I will have had ten days off work by the time Monday rolls around, starting on the 23rd of December, but I'm already up to day number 7.


Look! Snow!
Tuesday evening saw the start of some rather heavy snow. It fell all night and continued to fall for most of yesterday, and it is still lightly falling. This is the end result:

(all of these photos were taken a couple of minutes before posting, from my window)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Witam Sylwia

Sylwia ma blog. Czytaj.

Christmas Festivities

I went to Sylwia's house for a couple of days over Christmas, from the 24th (for Wigilia) to the 26th. Oczywiście było duuuużo jedzenie. :-)
The main Christmas Dinner occurs on Christmas Eve. There were 9 of us at Sylwia's house for the dinner, and then her aunt, uncle and cousin came up later. The food was fantastic, and there was so much of it. Polish people have a nice tradition where you break off pieces of a wafer or thin biscuit to give to people while wishing them good luck and health etc for the future before you eat the main meal on Christmas Eve.
Christmas Day was a fairly lazy day, mostly spent eating more food, relaxing, and wathing tv. In the afternoon we went to Sylwia's brother's house for cake and coffee. A common theme for the few days was "Sean, eat!" or "Sylwia, tell Sean to eat!".
On Boxing Day (26th) I spent the morning and early afternoon at her house too, which involved more eating and relaxing.
In the evening, I came home and then went to a Christmas party at Cathy and Paweł's place. (Cathy and Paweł are other English teachers in Gliwice - Cathy's from Northern Ireland and Paweł's from Gliwice)
I was a great party, involving more fantastic food and wine, friendly people, and trivial pursuit.
I think I'll spend today doing next to nothing and eating minimally to give my digestive system a break from the torture it has had to endure over the past few days. :-)

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Happy Festive Season

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone who bothers to read my blog. Which is, by definition, everyone who sees this message.

or: Wesołych Świąt i Szczęśliwego Nowego Roku!

In related news, it seems as though the song "Last Christmas" by Wham! is very popular in Poland. Too popular, I think. Now, I'm the first to say that Wham! were fantastic, but even I think that there's such a thing as too much Wham!. At least Poles don't start playing Christmas carols in October, like the shopping centres in Australia, which is a very very good thing.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


Bloody John from Edinburgh, UK. That Tim Tam Hamper should have been mine. Why does he need them? Tesco in Britain stocks Tim Tams, but does Tesco in Poland stock them? No, they don't. Stupid worthless Tesco. And stupid John from Edinburgh, UK.

Sour grapes? Me? Why ever do you ask?

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Look! Snow!

It snowed quite heavily yesterday, so the view outside my window is once again fresh, white and crisp. :-)

Welcome to Sean's Bookclub

I recently read a book.

There, end of post.

Ok, there's more.

The book I read was Dan Brown's Angels and Demons. I read it because I've read all the other English books in my apartment and Mum left it here for me to read when she came over. I was initially a bit apprehensive about reading something written by Dan Brown because of all the hype surrounding his other book - The Da Vince Code. I was expecting it to be crap, like a literary equivalent to the music from Australian Idol or something. Fortunately I was pleasantly surprised; it is actually a good book, and I think fairly well-written, though the language isn't difficult, so it's an easy read, which is probably one of the reasons that Brown has become a mainstream author. The book managed to hold my interest; such that I didn't want to put the book down until I'd finished it. The story was mostly set in Rome, which was also good from my point of view because I have recently been to Rome, so the landmarks that were mentioned in the book were fresh in my mind because I've been there, taken photos of them, and had coffee or dinner in a cafe overlooking the exact point of the action. I don't think it's a literary masterpiece, but it's good none-the-less, and I'd recommend it to those who don't read often, and to those who do read often but who have run out of real books to read. I definitely fit into the latter category, as I'd run out of real books to read here and my Polish is by no means at a sufficient level to attempt to read a Polish book.

I've never read The Da Vinci Code partially because I look with scorn upon the many pompous wankers who I've seen reading it in cafes, on buses and various other public places, as if the book is merely a fashion accessory in an attempt to appear vaguely intellectual as well as having a nice handbag. I would probably read The Da Vinci Code in the near(ish) future on the basis of my experience with Angels and Demons if I found a cheap, English copy in Poland, but I can promise that I will not read it in public and so I will still be able to make derisive comments (albeit in my head) about people who do.

I'm currently reading a fantastic book for people like me (read: grammar nerds). The book is called, "Eats, Shoots and Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach to Punctuation" by Lynne Truss. I received the book in a package sent from the far-off land of Scotland, from the Kingdom of Fife, no less. (Thanks Lizard)
I'm about half-way through, so expect another installment of Sean's Bookclub anytime soon.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


I went ice-skating again today, for the third time since coming to Poland. It has been about six months since the last time, so I felt like a beginner all over again. The place was crowded, which was a bit annoying as there were people everywhere, but on the plus side, many of them looked like they'd never seen ice-skates before, so they were also a little unsteady on their feet. I didn't fall over this time, which is always a bonus, though many other people there did, so I felt smugly superior to them. Ice-skating is heaps of fun, and I only wish I were actually half-decent at it.

For the record, size 43 is too tight, 44 is tight but bearable and I think next time I'll ask for 45.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Post and Christmas

It's been a while since my last post containing anything interesting, but I haven't done anything interested or blog-worthy for a while. Lately I've been working, eating, and checking the mailbox for signs of life from the postal service here. I normally only check the letterbox once every few days, but I'm expecting the arrival of two packages from two different places around the world - one from Australia and one from Scotland. The last package that I received arrived a month after it was posted in Australia, so I'm starting to seriously believe that the Polish postal service (Poczta Polska) consists of little more than a sick donkey. I don't wish to be presumptuous, but if anyone is considering sending me anything in the mail, refrain from doing so and save yourself the postage money because at this rate, it's likely to arrive after I've left the country.

On a positive note, I went for a short walk around the town centre last night, for the first time in a few days and noticed that there are Christmas decorations everywhere, lights hung from the buildings and over the tram lines. Overall it's quite impressive, and really stands out from the grey/white landscape. It's beginning to look like the Christmas we Australians know only from Christmas cards and movies. Apparently some people around the world don't spend Christmas day in the pool or air-conditioned rooms. :-)
Also, Santa Claus visits people here on the 6th of December, so that's when children receive presents. Of course, more presents are handed out on the 24th or 25th too, so the kids here get two 'Christmas' days.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

That's no moon, that's a space station

This sort of thing makes me think we should start practicing shooting womprats in the local canyon. Yes, I am aware that this might hint at slight geekiness.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

An Update

Well, at the ungodly hour of 3:30am, Mum and I left my apartment in a taxi to travel to the airport at Pyrzowice (the closest airport to Katowice). Her flight left at 6:10am and that meant we needed to be at the airport by about 5am (ish). It takes between 1 hour and 1.5 hours to get there, depending on road conditions and traffic. It also costs 150zł in a taxi, which is approximately AU$60. I decided to brave the public transport system for my return journey, as I didn't want to pay that amount again, so I caught a bus to Katowice and a train from there to Gliwice. Mum flew to Frankfurt and arrived there before I got back to Gliwice. As a result, I'm quite tired tonight.

Last weekend was spent in Kraków. We had a good time there and saw most of the main tourist attractions like Wawel hill & castle, the Rynek, and the salt mine at Wieliczka. We were also quite lucky that it began snowing earlier this year than last, so Kraków was covered in a beautiful white powdery snow for our last morning there. I have many photos, some of which I'll post in coming days/weeks.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I roamed around Rome

Rome was fantastic, and the weather was brilliant. I love the Trevi Fountain, and I could have admired it for hours. Being the devout Catholic that I am, I visited the Vatican, and saw the Basilica, which was beautiful (shame all that artistic talent was used on religious works) and climbed the 349 steps to the top of the dome, giving me (and a zillion other tourists) a fantastic view over Rome. I didn't get to see the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, which was a bit disappointing, because we didn't find out that it closes at 12:30pm on Saturdays until about 4pm, and it's closed all day Sunday.

On a frustrating note, I think I may have brought back a bit of a cold as an unwanted souvenir of the city. My nose is runnier than something very runny and I have a cough that an emphysema sufferer would be proud of. Yeah, there it goes again... hack up that lung (what a shame I can't record the sound for you to download). A word of advice for Poland: Aloe vera tissues are a great invention and quite useful at times like these.

Friday, November 11, 2005

What are you doing this weekend?

I'm popping off to Rome for a few days.....

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Rome if you want to..

I'm flying to Rome on Friday morning, and I'll be there for the weekend. We fly back to Katowice on Sunday evening, arriving at the airport at midnight, which will be fun as I have to work on Monday morning at 7am...hmmm...

I'm looking forward to Rome because it's somewhere I've wanted to visit for a while, and there are plenty of things to see there. Going to Rome has meant that a certain song by the B-52's has been stuck in my head for a few days, so here are the lyrics for your reading pleasure:

by B-52's

I hear a wind
Whistling air
Whispering in my ear

Boy Mercury shootin' through every degree
Oooh girl dancin' down those dirty and dusty trails
Take it hip to hip rocket through the wilderness
Around the world the trip begins with a kiss

Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without wings, without wheels
Roam if you want to
Roam around the world
Roam if you want to
Without anything but the love we feel

Skip the air strip to the sunset
Ride the arrow to the target-one
Take it hip to hip rock it through the wilderness
Around the world the trip begins with a kiss


Fly the great big sky
See the great big sea
Kick through continents
Bustin' boundaries
Take it hip to hip rocket through the wilderness
Around the world the trip begins with a kiss


Take it hip to hip rocket through the wilderness

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Byliśmy we Wrocławiu a Jędziemy do Rzyma

Just a short entry, as I have to get ready for work soon....

Wrocław was nice last weekend - there's a cool old town hall there and pretty good shopping. The Panorama Racławicka is there - a 3d, 360degree panoramic painting which is quite impressive.

This weekend we're going to Rome :-)

Thank you to all those who remembered my birthday :-)
Two of my classes sang 'Happy Birthday' at me, one of them in Polish and English. I had a busy, but good day, and I will be able to relax more today because I have a bigger break between lesson sessions.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Jutro, jedziemy do Wrocławia

We're going to Wrocław tomorrow morning. I've been allowed use of the school's car for the weekend so we'll be driving to Wrocław, which is a bonus - I'm kind of sick of travelling by train. I haven't been to Wrocław before, so it'll be a new city for me.

I've been told that there's an impressive 360 degree, 3d painting there that depicts a famous battle at some point in Poland's history, as well as a nice old town area and old town square.

On a side note about driving, I have stopped trying to find the gear-stick with my left hand. Mostly. :-)

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Blogger lite

My posts might be few and far between for a while because my next few weeks promise to be a bit busy. I'll try and post as much as I can, but I won't have heaps of spare time.

Mum's here in Poland with me for the next 3 weeks or so, and as well as my heavy work schedule, we've planned to do as much travelling as possible, which means I'll be spending as little time here (in my apartment) as possible.

We spent last weekend in Prague, which is a great city. We had a great weekend, and it was interesting to see the city in a different season (I first went there in Summer), and we had great accommodation - private apartment with bathroom, cheap and really close to the centre.

Yesterday we went to Oświęcim-Brzezinka (Auschwitz-Birkenau) so that mum could see the concentration camps there. It was her first visit and my fourth. I didn't really want to go there again, but I think it's an important place to see, and it would be odd to come all the way to this part of Poland from Australia, and go home without seeing it.

Well, I have to head back for my afternoon session of work. I'll try to post soon, but unlike Aggie, I won't forget how to write a post. :-)

Friday, October 28, 2005

Byłem w Lublinie

On Sunday, after staying the night in Zamość, Nicola and I went to Lublin, which is about a 2 hour drive (or perhaps slightly less) from Zamość, in the direction away from the Ukrainian border. Lublin is fantastic.

Lublin has an old town area with some buildings with some really cool, ornate artwork on the facades. The top picture shows the entrance to the castle, which is significant in Poland's history because the treaty between Poland and Lithuania was signed there. The castle has been converted to a museum, so we were able to go in and have a look around. The castle has a chapel which was completely painted inside with religious images, and it's quite a sight. Unfortunately, I wasn't allowed to take any photos there, so you'll have to follow the link to see some of the interia. The artist or artists must have had a fascination with dwarves, as they feature quite a lot in some of the paintings. For example, in the baptismal painting, there is a dwarf riding a sea-cow, and in another one, there are dwarves in the trees.

It was definitely worth the trip to see Zamość and Lublin (and to pass through Szczebrzeszyn) though the train ride home was long, slow and painful.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Byłem w Zamościu

On Saturday evening, after I went through Szczebrzeszyn with Nicola, we drove on to Zamość, which is a town in the east of Poland, not too far from the border with Ukraine. Zamość is a nice old town with town fantastic town square - it's square! It is 100m x 100m! And it's also beautiful. The town hall is built on the side of the square, rather than in the middle, like many other cities, because the city's builder didn't want it to interrupt his view from the palace. The city was designed and built as a "perfect city" with effective defences and a nice layout. It was one of only three (I think) cities to withstand the Swedes when they were gallavanting around and taking over things.

The buildings around the town square originally had ornate features and decorations like these, but the Russians got rid of them and replaced the facades with boring, plain, art nouveau stylings when they invaded and took over the city in the 1800s. The square is currently being restored to its original glory and this section has already been done. In the next picture, you can see some of the buildings that are still in the form preferred by the Russian occupiers.

Monday, October 24, 2005

W Szczebrzeszynie chrząszcz brzmi w trzcinie!!

I've been to Szczebrzeszyn! The tiny town made famous by the polish tongue-twister. Nicola and I stopped in Szczebrzeszyn on our way to Zamość simply to take photos of us standing next to the sign. We parked, got out of the car, and then were accosted by a scary drunk guy from Szczebrzeszyn, so we got back in the car and drove around the block until he left, then on our second attempt, we managed to quickly take a couple of photos and leave before seeing any other strange drunk potential serial-killers. Yes, that's right, we're both extremely brave people.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Tonight for supper I had tradition Polish food. I ate vegemite on toast and drank a glass of milo.

It's a good thing I don't equate blog-worth with self-worth.

No, really, this doesn't offend me at all. I don't mind at all that there are people out there with blogs worth several thousand dollars.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Torturous times with toe-chilling temperatures

And so it begins. Tomorrow will see the first of my 7am classes at Bumar. Starting at 7am involves leaving home at 6:30am, when the temperature outside is predicted to be something in the low single figures, though, thankfully, still positive. I predict that I shall be a tired, cold and grumpy teacher.

I really don't deserve this sort of crap.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Hidden Doors!

If I ever build a house it's going to have at least one hidden door. My hidden door would have to be a bookcase, or perhaps a swivelling fireplace, because I'm a traditionalist. The biggest decision would be choosing which book or statue should open the door. Should it be a batman-style Shakespeare bust? Or maybe a Dickens? And what should be on the other side of the door?

Saturday, October 15, 2005

Nektar z Różowych Grejpfrutów

Nasty. Horrible.

Pink grapefruit nectar. It's the opposite of sweet. Some juices have added sugar, sometimes lots of added sugar. This juice not only tastes like all things resembling sugar have been removed, but like they have taken more and left it with a sugar deficit. With each mouthful I felt as though my face was being turned inside out. Sour with a capital S. I drank the entire carton, a whole 1L of this horrid liquid, because I've become very stingy and refused to throw it out, though it was not consumed in one sitting.

P.S. Please read the first word (nasty) with a strong american accent. Naasty.
P.P.S. According to the ingredients list, it does contain sugar. Bullshit. It also says that it is pasteurised. What the hell? It's pink grapefruit, it doesn't come from a cow!

Friday, October 14, 2005

What's your news source?

Do you read The Chaser? If not, you should.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


I just had my first lesson with absolute beginners tonight. This was their 4th English lesson, so their 4th 80min class. I have taught pre-intermediate kids and adults before, but this was a new experience. It's the most demanding class because it requires a lot of effort from the teacher, so I'm extremely tired this evening. But I noticed an improvement, so I must have done something right.

The most tiring class from a behavioural perspective is the class of 12 (perhaps) year old boys, four of them. They fight, and take each other's belongings all through the class, so it's hard to get them to focus on anything. Myself and another teacher refer to them as the "little monsters." This other teacher, who is called Emily, told me that this class has completely changed her opinion on children, in that previously she wanted to have kids, but now she wants to remain childless for her entire life. I know what she means. These kids are definitely an incentive to use contraception.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Today when I got out of bed, the outside temperature was 0 degrees (celsius, not kelvin) and fog, though it was a nice 19 degrees inside my apartment. It's still foggy but now the temperature has risen to a toasty 1 degree.

The last few mornings have been foggy, which has been nice. I like looking out through the window at the outside world through fog. The world looks sleepier through fog. Of course, I reserve the right to change my opinion on the fog if I have to go outside in these conditions.

Note: the weather icon says "dense fog" but I think the fog could be a lot denser if it really tried.


The regular teaching semester has started, so I'm back to working 5 days a week, which is great as it means I am earning enough to do things like pay for rent and buy food. This is a very short post because nothing particularly interesting has happened to me in the last few days.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

The weather icon's doing it again...

Tomorrow (Friday) will be "Partly sunny and delightful, 20 degrees C, Wind SE, 2 m/s."

Therefore I'm expecting tomorrow to be a nice day. We shall see if the weather icon has good taste in weather.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005


My coordination today is as bad as something with really bad coordination (how's that for an appropriate metaphor!?). I managed to fling my teabag and spoon at my chest while trying to extract the teabag from the mug, and both item were very hot. Don't ask how I accomplished this, I'm not quite sure myself. Then, I was eating open tomato sandwiches and managed to drop tomato intestines all over my pants. Perhaps I should just wrap myself in bubble wrap today and hide in the corner.

On a completely unrelated note, this is my sixtieth blog post (on this blog). Yay! Happy sixtieth to my blog!!


I had to get out of bed at ridiculous o'clock this morning (6:30am) in order to be ready in time to go to a company called Bumar Łabędy to conduct placement tests for new students who I'll be teaching from either next week or the week after. Unfortunately, these people are crazy and I'll have to start work at the ungodly hour of 7am, which means getting up at an even stupider time than this morning. I'll be teaching them business English along with English for specific needs, which in this case is military jargon because the company manufactures tanks, and there are pictures of tanks every where inside the front gate. The students amused me because many of them were incredibly nervous because of this morning's "test" which really amounts to nothing except ascertaining their abilities in order to separate them into appropriate class groups. One guy was visibly shaking during the oral component. Unless he was actually completely relaxed and just suffers from Parkinson's disease, which is a possibility.

Travel to Bumar-Łabędy requires the use of a car, so I'll definitely be using my international drivers' licence while I'm here. Hopefully I'll remember to stay on the right side of the road. The school, Opelac, has purchased an Opel Vectra (Holden Vectra in Australia) for this purpose.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

A message...

... via Ninja Semaphore.

Finally, a website that allows messages to be sent using the Ninja's traditional means of communication.

Saturday, October 01, 2005

It's done. I survived.

Well, I was vaccinated today. I was healthy enough when I went to visit the doctor to receive the injection. It didn't hurt at all (because I have an extremely high pain tolerance, and the nurse was really good). My arm is a little bit sore now because it feels like I've been bruised, and I have a slight headache, which is normal, according to the doctor.

It was a very big needle, and very scary-looking.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Zastrzyk Update

Well, it's just over an hour until I'm supposed to have my injection but I cleverly picked up a bit of a cold yesterday so I might not be allowed to have it done. Drat. As you can imagine, I'm devastated. I'll still go and obtain a medical opinion on my current condition, so we'll see what happens.

But really, if I can't have it done today it will just mean that I'll have to postpone the inevitable until another time.

Extreme Measures.

This article comes courtesy of Nathaniel. I don't really know what to say about it except that I really can't imagine what the "several electric toasters" could have been used for. And I have quite an active imagination. It definitely "remains unclear what use they would have been" to me.

t minus 111600 seconds

I have a mere 31 hours left before the terrible moment of my flu injection... :-(

I'm not looking forward to this.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005


These two photos are of the same tree, just outside my apartment windows. The first image was taken on the 6th of September, and the second was taken yesterday (27th of September). From these two photos it's quite obvious that the tree thinks it's Autumn and so time to turn yellow and lose the leaves. This particular tree isn't alone, there are many others in the neighbourhood that are following the same pattern. This is a novelty for me as I've never seen an Autumn before with deciduous plants.

The weather's becoming noticably cooler too, with daily maximums between 15 and 20 degrees, so I'm noticing the changing seasons too.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Sould weather icons be allowed to editorialise?

I have weather icons on the bottom of my mozilla firefox that tell me what's happpening and what will happen in Gliwice. Usually these icons say normal things like "sunny 18 degrees" or "rain 17 degrees" etc. but occasionally they feel the need to add feelings like "sunny and pleasant" or even "overcast and miserable". How does the icon know what I like? how does it decide if it is pleasant or miserable? What if I really like overcast days?

Today the icon decided to tell me that there will be a "stray thunderstorm". What does that mean? Are most thunderstorms kept on a tight leash but this one escaped?

Right now it is "Sunny, 20 degrees, Wind SSE, 2m/s" which I think is quite pleasant weather, but the icon doesn't explicitly agree with my opinion, though it doesn't explicitly disagree either.

Wszystkiego Najlepszego z Okacji Urodzin

It's Liam's birthday today. Happy Birthday Liam!

Friday, September 23, 2005

I see all....

I now have you under surveillance...

sort of.

Thursday, September 22, 2005


I currently teach a class of three students, who are all doctors. They want to pass an exam called IELTS which will allow them to work in hospitals in the UK, and actually get paid a decent wage.

One of these students told me last night that I should get an injection to vaccinate me against influenza. A horrible thought. What's more, this particular shot is intra-muscular, which means, for those of you not up with the latest medical terminology, 'extremely painful'. Of course, the pain isn't a major issue for someone like me, given my extremely high tolerance, but I do have a fear of needles. They're not friendly, not fun. Unfortunately, he made quite a good case for the shot and logically I should have it done. But I don't want to. I'd be there in a shot (notice the pun) if the treatment could be sensibly administered through a tablet.

I guess I somehow feel that I will inevitably end up having being punctured by a ridiculously large and thick piece of metal in order to avoid things like the flu, and apparently nastier conditions that the flu can lead to such as kidney infections/failure which don't sound pleasant.

I can't even claim financial reasons for avoiding this sadomasochistic act because the injection only costs 30zł, which is really quite cheap (about $12 AUD).

Life would be a lot simpler and less painful if I could just guarantee that no sick people would breath, cough or sneeze in my general direction.


Monday, September 19, 2005


While many scientists in the world are pondering silly things like quantum, sensible scientists in the UK have actually been working on something useful. How to make a perfect cup of tea.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Another Naked-Arse-Man

Another Naked-Arse-Man has arrived in Gliwice to keep the first one company. It looks like they're identical twins! I wonder which one's the evil twin?

This one arrived a couple of days ago (perhaps Monday??) and was sent by Aggie. This is the second postcard that Aggie has sent me, since I arrived in Poland. The first was the lovely image of Charlie.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Byłem w Krakowie

I went to Kraków again last weekend. It was my third trip to the city. I don't mind going semi-regularly because it's a nice place and the layout is beginning to feel very familiar (I don't need a map for the main part anymore, well, mostly - a certain person who recently travelled with me might dispute this claim).

Florian spent the weekend in Poland, which was the reason for my trip. He arrived in Gliwice on Thursday night after I finished work, and the Friday morning we went to Oświęcim (Auschwitz) to see the concentration camp there and at nearby Brzezinka (Birkenau, also known as Auschwitz II). I've been to the concentration camps a few times now, but this visit was the first time that I've gone on an organised tour of the facilities. The tour was mostly good, and the guide told a few stories and gave some information not presented on the signs, but I don't think I'll go on another tour - in some ways I think it's better to walk around at your own pace and see the individual sections as you choose.

After Auschwitz, we caught a bus to Kraków and spent Friday night, Saturday, and Sunday morning there. Near our hostel, I noticed this store and felt it necessary to take a photo.

On Saturday morning we went to the Wieliczka Salt Mine. It was a nice place, and definitely worth the visit. It's necessary here to go with a guide, and the tours are a little on the expensive side, but the guide does pass on a lot of information. Saturday afternoon was spent resting and wandering around the Jewish Quarter of Kraków (Kazimierz), and the main square. In Kazimierz, there's a street with a rather amusing name - ulica Kupa, which can be translated as "Shit Street".

On Sunday morning we went to Wawel hill and walked around the castle. We were there quite early and none of the individual sections were open, though entry to those sections costs extra so we didn't miss anything except for the dragon's lair, which I will have to visit next time I'm in the near vicinity of Wawel Hill. We were about 1.5 hours too early for the lair, and we didn't want to hang around that long just waiting for it, as we hadn't yet had breakfast and were both hungry.

After breakfast we walked around the city a bit more and the headed back to the train station, and back to Gliwice.

Monday, September 12, 2005

He's been smurfed!

See the Smurfs re-enact the movie Se7en here.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Why not?

This guy from Zagreb, Croatia has (apparently) gone ahead and done what many of us would like to do, or wish we had enough courage to do. He sold his apartment in Zagreb and is now using the money to travel the world, or as much of it as possible. His page, as far as I can tell, only shows pictures and so far he's been to Serbia & Montenegro (Srbija i Crna Gora), Turkey (Turska), Syria (Sirija), and Jordan.
Good luck to him :-)

Monday, September 05, 2005

Naked-Man-Arse jest w Gliwicach!!

The Naked-Man-Arse has come to Gliwice, thanks to the postcard purchasing, writing and posting abilities of Lizard. The card actually arrived about a week ago (I can't remember exactly which day) but I didn't get around to photographing the card and blogging about it until today.
Thank you Lizard.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Byłem w Toruniu

The weekend in Toruń was great, it's a really nice city. It is a lot larger than I had been led to believe, and has a large amount of intact, old buildings, as well as a lot of ruins of an old castle. The castle was built by the Teutonic Knights who then ruled the city, apparently rather oppressively, as the townsfolk rebelled and destroyed the castle in the process.

As I mentioned in my previous post, Toruń has the distinction of being the only place in the entire world in which Nicholas Copernicus was born (Mikołaj Kopernik in Polish). Because of this, there is a museum dedicated to him in the building where he grew up. Not surprisingly, there is a statue of Copernicus in the main square, holding a model of the solar system. The building behind this statue is the old town hall.

Toruń has a leaning tower, like many other cities (Pisa isn't the only one - just the one with the best marketing). There is a superstition that if you stand with your back to the tower, on the correct side, and make a wish, it will come true. The small child in the pram in this photo is Julia. She is the daughter of Sylwia's cousin (for those of you who know her). The interior of the tower contains a pub (of course). I don't know if the floor has been levelled or not, so it could be a very interesting place to drink (especially after several drinks).

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Jutro jadę do Torunia

I'm going to Toruń tomorrow. Toruń looks and sounds like an interesting place, with quite a few things to see for a small town. One fairly unknown piece of Trivia about Toruń is that it is the birthplace of a guy called Mikołaj Kopernik, or in English, Nicholas Copernicus. It is also the home of a Polish gingerbread called Pierniki Torunskie, which is delicious, so I have to buy some from the source.

Monday, August 22, 2005


On Friday I went to Kraków with a large group of people from Gliwice. We arrived in Kraków at about 7pm (we changed our plans and left on Friday afternoon rather than Friday morning) and then found our accommodation. The evening involved beer, quick food, and then nightclubs, pubs, and more beer and other alcohol. It should take about 20 to 30 minutes to walk from our accommodation to the market square, but on the return trip it took us just under 2 hours. The main reason for this was that the dormitory wasn't quite where we thought it was, thus causing us to take the rather scenic route home.

After a bare minimum of sleep, we were roused out of bed at the ungodly hour of 9:30am so that we could get ready in time for the day's sightseeing. There were two options for the day, the first being a trip to the salt mine at Wieliczka, and the second being a trip to an aviation museum and then tour around Kazimierz. I really wanted to see Kazimierz (the old Jewish quarter of the city) so I went for the latter option. The aviation museum was interesting because the guide knew a lot and there were quite a few historical planes that I'd heard about but never seen "in the flesh" but after a lack of sleep, it was a tiring morning and a sleep break would have been nice.

After the tour of the aviation museum we had a short 40 minute break before the next tour (that of Kazimierz) was to begin. Ania, Ante and I took this opportunity to seek much needed caffeine in the form of coffee. The coffee was much needed and delicious, albeit somewhat expensive, and the cafe was located in the main market square (Rynek Główny) so we were able to sip coffee and look at the square.

For the tour of Kazimierz and a few other sites around the old town, we were loaded into these electric tourist cars. I normally shun such contraptions but the chance to sit down for this leg of the sightseeing was a welcome relief from the walking that morning and the previous night. After an initial problem with the speaker system supplying the audio part of the audio tour (the speaker worked intermittently at best, though changing cars fixed this problem) we embarked on an interesting tour of Kraków's old town and Jewish quarter. There is a street in Kazimierz called ul. Kupa, which translates to 'Shit St.', a name that amused me greatly. Unfortunately I missed the opportunity to obtain photographic evidence of this name, so I shall have to remember for my next trip to this beautiful city.

After this tour, we went to a late lunch at an establishment roughly half-way from the market square to the dorm. The food was good (and we were starving). Lunch was followed by an afternoon of free time, which involved another cafe for me and a few others. The IAESTE group in Kraków (the people who organised this trip) put on a party for us on Saturday night, as well an a quick play that told the story of the Kraków Dragon. The party was good, and they played (mostly) good music, so I enjoyed the evening.

On Sunday morning, after being awoken early again, we were taken on a tour of the Wawel Castle. Wawel is smaller than a few other castles that I've seen in my travels, but it is still a very nice collection of buildings. We saw the bell tower and I touched the ringer of the biggest bell in the world with my left hand (a practise which is supposed to bring luck). The staircases leading up to and down from the bell tower were interesting and fun to walk on - they meandered through tight spaces and low ceilings as though the builders didn't have a plan and just added higher stairs as they felt appropriate, while drunk. The tour then went to the crypt under the cathedral where the bodies of most of the Polish kings lie, as well as a few other notable Poles, such as Tadeusz Kościuszko, the person after whom my current street and the largest mountain in Australia are named. Our guide then took us through several other buildings and down to the river to see the statue of the Kraków Dragon. The statue is good and every so often breathes fire, which is a nice touch.

At the conclusion of this tour our organised weekend in Kraków came to an end, so we had some free time before returning to the dorm to pack our bags and head to the train station. It was an awesome weekend, and I had heaps of fun. Kraków is a great city.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Jutro rano jadę do Krakowa i pracuję.

I'm going to Kraków for the weekend (including Friday). Last time I was in Kraków, I was only there for about half a day and missed many things, so it will be good to return with enough time to see all the things I previously missed. I will also know various myths and stories about the place that I didn't learn until a couple of days after my previous trip.

On another note, some classes have started in one of my two schools, so I am working again, although sparingly at the moment. This is good news as I get paid for working and the money helps me sustain those expensive habits I've developed like "eating" and "sleeping indoors" amoung others.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Jazz w Ruinach

I went to a free jazz concert at the Ruiny Theatre in Gliwice this evening with Asia. The first half of the concert was okay, and the second half was really good, so I'm glad I went. Free concerts are not uncommon here, which is good, and something Brisbane should learn to do. I like concerts, and I especially like free concerts.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Nature Unleashed: Fire

Tonight I went to visit friends in Gliwice and ended up watching a movie called: Nature Unleashed: Fire. I was terrible. It would come close to being the worst movie I have ever seen. At least some of the faults were bad enough to give the movie some humour value. The main characters were all injured at one stage or another, but they all seemed to have temporary injuries that allowed them to carry and/or help the most recent recipient of an injury. Apparently it's possible to walk on a broken leg after the injury is 30mins old, without falling over or even grimacing in pain. Broken arms heal well enough in less than 15mins to let you wave and smile.
I would definitely never recommend paying money to see this film.

Byliśmy w Katowicach

I went to Katowice this morning to meet up with Aggie and Simon, who stayed at Aggie's cousin's place in Bytom last night. We had a few hours, which was enough for lunch and looking around a few shops in the city area before they needed to catch the train to Kraków. We realised quite soon that there isn't really anything to see in Katowice as far as monuments or historical buildings are concerned. The city is dull and boring, which is a shame, as it's the largest city in Silesia, and the region's capital, so you'd think there should be something there.
Anyway, here's a photo of Aggie and Simon on the train, about to leave the station in Katowice, on the way to Kraków.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Agata i Szymon byli w Gliwicach dzisiaj

As the title says, Aggie and Simon were in Gliwice today. We spent the day browsing shoe shops (as shoes are usually much cheaper here than in Australia), wandering around Gliwice, drinking hot chocolates at the Wawel confectionary store, having lunch at the crepe restaurant, going to the Gliwice radio station tower, and having a coffee in a cafe called Gwarek.

Here we are in the Wawel confectionary store consuming our hot chocolates (Gorąca Czekolada). We purchased three of them, one for each of us, but Aggie found that she was unable to drink more than a smidgin of hers, so I gallantly finished it for her. They are made of molten chocolate, and very delicious. (This is also the shop where I buy my Krówki sweets.)

Radiostacja Gliwice, the Radio station museum in Gliwice. This is the site where WWII basically started. Some Nazis pretending to be Poles "took over" the station and broadcast a message saying that the station was now in Polish hands, using the same microphone that Aggie is speaking into. Hitler used this as an excuse to invade Poland on the grounds that it was in defense. The tower is also the tallest wooden structure in the world. Well, the tallest man-made wooden structure. There are some taller trees. The tower itself has the peculiar ability to appear as though it is leaning, depending on how you look at it. The two photos below are taken from the same side of the tower to demonstrate this phenomenon.

The cafe called 'Gwarek' is in the main town square (Rynek), and is inside perspex domes, so that it looks like a fishbowl in summer, and from what I've been told, like an igloo in winter (you can see the shape of the structure from the photo). The coffee was good, I had a cappucino with whipped cream on top, but I think it's a bit on the expensive side. It seems to be the sort of place that one goes to for the main purpose of being seen by others. The chairs were comfortable though, which was a bonus.

Unfortunately the weather wasn't wonderful, as it was drizzling all day and cold, but we still had fun.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

I'm Dumbledore??

You scored as Albus Dumbledore. Strong and powerful you admirably defend your world and your charges against those who would seek to harm them. However sometimes you can fail to do what you must because you care too much to cause suffering.

Your Harry Potter Alter Ego Is...?
created with

Dali w Katowicach

The Silesian Museum in Katowice (Muzeum Śląskie w Katowicach) is currently showing a Dali exhibition. I'm surprised because people had led me to believe that nothing interesting came to Katowice, when I mentioned that I'd been to a Magritte exhibition in Vienna. The entry fee for the Dali exhibit is 10zł, which isn't terribly cheap by Polish standards, but it's not too bad. (For those in or from Australia, 10 złotych is about AUD$4.)

I think I have to go to this exhibition, and on a day other than Monday (as with many museums in Europe, the Silesian Museum is closed on Mondays).

Wednesday, August 03, 2005


This lovely piece of architecture is called the 'Spodek'. It's the sport hall/entertainment centre in Katowice. It reminds me of a UFO from 70s science fiction. It is close to the Disco Sphinx, which also looks like it comes from the 70s. Actually, a lot of Katowice looks like it's still in the 70s, right down to the porn star moustaches that most of the men between about 35 and 55 seem to think are still fashionable. This is the sort of city that an invading army would leave intact purely out of spite.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Disco Sphinx!

Egypt has a Sphinx dating back quite a few years. Katowice has a Sphinx dating back to the 70s. I first noticed this lovely work of art a few weeks ago from the window of my tram as I travelled to and from my Monday class in Katowice, and yesterday I remembered to take my camera with me so that I could capture its beauty. I'm not sure why the body is coated in small mirrors, nor do I know why the head isn't. Or, for that matter, why the head posses a nose, as the Eqyptian version lots its nose many years ago. Anyway, enjoy the Disco Sphinx.

Monday, August 01, 2005

ING Bank Śląski

Finally, after opening the account a little over three months ago, I have my bank card. Obviously the numbers are smudged for privacy reasons - they are in fact quite legible on the actual card. It's a nice card, and about bloody time that I received it. I think I went in 4 or 5 times to ask why it hadn't arrived over the course of the last 3 months. Now I can access my money through bankomats (ATMs).


This is a postcard. It arrived in my letterbox almost 2 weeks ago. It comes courtesy of Aggie, who found it while in England, and felt that it was definitely ugly enough to warrant sending. I agree. She has since informed me that a similar postcard of Queen Lizzie was another option. The photo is a screen capture from my webcam, but if the resolution is too low for you to appreciate the beauty of the card, let me know and I'll take a high-res pic with my digicam and send it to you. Admittedly, it's not a naked-man-arse, but if you want, you can picture Charles naked. :-) I bet that put a bad image in your head. Have a nice day :-)

Saturday, July 30, 2005


Look! I managed, for the first time in my life, as far as I remember, to cut a straight slice of bread!
I don't think it will happen again, at least not for a very long time, hence why I decided that the event was definitely photo-worthy.

I assume you're all very impressed.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Thursday, July 28, 2005

More Plumbing

The water has been cut off to my building, and plumbing work is happening somewhere - from the noises coming directly from the apartment above me, I suspect that could be the place. I'm slightly worried because of what happened last time plumbing work occurred, which was just over a week ago.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


Wawel, the company that makes delicious chocolate, also produces a product called 'Krówka', which means 'little cow' (cow is krowa). These 'little cows' or 'krówki' are vanilla fudge-like things. They're absolutely addictively delicious, and I can't stop eating them. I tasted them at Aggie's grandparents' on the weekend because they'd bought many different polish sweets for Aggie and Simon to try. Then, just after work yesterday, the tram dropped me off just opposite a Wawel confectionary store, so I was forced to enter and purchase some of these delicacies.

They contain: Sugar, glucose syrup, skim milk powder, butter, vanilla flavour. I think it's obvious from the ingredients list that these are definitely going to be tasty. I don't think they could be more addictive, even if they contained cocaine.

Byłem w Wiśle

The weekend in Wisła was fantastic, staying with Aggie, Simon and Aggie's grandparents.

On Saturday, after I arrived, we went to Ustroń, caught the chairlift to the summit of Czantoria Wielka, and then walked home (it took about 6 hours). I have to mention that I was impressed by Aggie's superb fashion sense. As you can see from the photo, this jacket would be more at home on the catwalks of Milan or Paris, than on a hike through the mountains where it'd hardly be seen by anyone. The weather didn't seem to be ideal for a walk - there was a thick fog and it rained intermittently, but after walking to the town centre on Sunday, in the sun and heat, we decided that it was definitely better to hike in the cooler weather, even if it meant getting wet.

This time of year in Poland (and no doubt the surrounding countries, especially considering some of the berries we picked were on the Czech side of the border) is berry season, so we walked past many wild raspberry and blueberry bushes, which meant that we could pick and eat ripe, fresh berries as we walked. Delicious! I ate this raspberry very soon after taking its photo. There were also some other berries with names starting with 'p', in polish (no one knew their english names), but they were also tasty, so it didn't matter that we didn't know what to call them.

While hiking through the mountains, along the Polish-Czech border, we encountered several pubs, and we decided that we had to stop and have a beer at each of them. I drank beer at each of them too - this photo isn't just staged. Aggie and Simon can both vouch for the fact that I drank beer. This one is called 'Warka Strong', and it's a nice polish beer. I tried a different brand of beer at Aggie's grandparents' house that came from the Czech Republic, though I can't remember what it's called, so I hope Aggie remembers the name, as it was really good. The fact that we stopped at every pub along the hike meant that it took us about 6 and a half hours to walk something that should have only taken 4. The path took us through the forest and out along clearings. The view from the clearings was fantastic. It was a cloudy day, so the view gets better on clear, sunny days.

On Saturday night, back at Aggie's grandparents' house, we had a barbeque with delicious pork spare ribs, and then had a party because it was Aggie and Simon's last night in Wisła. Between the five of us, we consumed about 1.5 litres of vodka (wódka, po polsku). It was a nice evening, although a little scary when the neighbour from across the road visited, already completely pissed, and just kept saying "Hej" (hey) over and over again, each time shaking our hands as if it was the first time that he'd met us.

On Sunday, we had a lazy morning, and had a special soup for breakfast that you eat the morning after a heavy night drinking. Later in the morning, Aggie, Simon and I walked to Wisła Centrum, and wandered around, looking at the town, and the markets, before wandering home to an absolutely enormous pile of food for lunch. Seriously, there was enough food on that table to solve the hunger problem in Africa. Even Simon couldn't finish it.