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.