Sunday, August 26, 2012

On Gdansk

The most striking feature is the grim look on the faces of all the local men, particularly the young men. It's rare to see them smile at each other during conversation, and if they do it's typically a closed-lip kind of smirk. A Scottish guy I met here suggested that smiling may be somewhat viewed as a sign of weakness. I have no idea, but the trend itself of low-level glaring is quite noticeable.

The women, by contrast, are more friendly, particularly in the offhand interactions with waitresses, ticket agents etc. They laugh, often slightly nervously.

I am ashamed that I hadn't heard of the region of Pomerania, except through the dog of the same name.

The Polish language includes far more consecutive consonant combinations (particularly amalgamations of c, z, y, w and j) than I would know how to pronounce.

My travelling companion (a historian of some note) pointed out that there were about 8 million ethnic Germans expelled from Poland after World War 2. You certainly don't hear about it very much here, or anywhere else for that matter. Germans after World War 2, civilian or otherwise, did not seem to elicit a lot of sympathy.

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