Above is the Wisla River in Plock (pwutsk), Poland, the town where my grandmother Mollie was born. At the bottom of the blog is a map of Poland.



May 11 - May 12, the 23rd day of the Omer

In JFK, the Lufthansa jet looked so big from the outside, and there were 17 outfitted crew members who got on board before the passengers (and who knows how many tiny men were already in the plane’s innards, shoveling the coal into the boiler?), so why was it so terribly cramped? My seat mate was sullen, had a bad cough and a habit of poking her elbows into me. Perhaps I slept a couple hours, but I was rescued from insanity by the Peter Carey book I brought to Poland, Parrot and Olivier in America.

The Frankfurt airport, where I spend 3 hours between flights, was ugly and poorly designed, but it had something I'd never seen before: a smoking booth! It is a glass enclosed room containing a chair and space for about three people to stand and smoke and tap their ashes into ashtrays, and since it's not all cloudy it must have a fan that pulls the smoke up and out away from the rest of us. Festooned with Camel logos, it is clearly a welcome relief for smokers, who bound into it excitedly and sigh deeply as they pull out their lighters.

I slept during the flight from Frankfurt to Warsaw and managed to get sunburned in the process. Approaching Warsaw from the northwest, Poland is a quilt of green and brown strips of farmland. I could see why it served so well as a battle ground over the centuries: it is flat and the armies could rob the farmers of their grains. Despite my fears, I managed quite well at the Warsaw airport to change some of my dollars, withdraw funds from the ATM, and purchase a Polish SIM card and actually get it into the phone and make a call to Lucyna!

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