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Wednesday, May 28, 2008

A taste of Mexican, German and Indian in Poland



Agent Triple P seemed to be visiting Poland increasingly often. His first visit had been six years ago and he had found Warsaw to be a gray and dreary city full of characterless, Soviet era concrete blocks; all traces of its history having been pummelled into the dust by either the Germans or the Russians.


Now the centre of the city was seeing some glittering modern buildings go up in the area close to the astonishing Palace of Culture and Science; built in the early fifties and still the seventh tallest building in the EU. Even his hotel, the Inter-Continental, had been renovated since his last visit.


His previous visit to Poland, last summer, had been to Starachovice in the South East and the first day on this trip had been in Lodz in the South West. Whilst the hotel in Starachovice had been quite pleasant the Centrum hotel in Lodz had been one of the worst he had ever stayed in anywhere, ever.

Hotel Horror
It was an ugly, tatty concrete monolith opposite the station with a bizarre attempt at an Art Deco lobby. When Triple P had arrived in the hotel there were two bored looking staff taking up two of the bar’s three stools and watching the Polish version of Strictly Come Dancing.




Oddly, the view from his room was of a rather nice church but the room itself was exactly the sort you would expect to take cheap prostitutes back to.



Sadly, not a cheap prostitute in sight.

Co-incidentally after a pleasant dinner in a trendy new Polish country-style restaurant in Lodz with I, his local contact, as they made their way back to the hotel they came across two, rather attractive in a stringy sort of way, cheap prostitutes having a catfight over who should be on the prime corner (I kindly translated their dialaogue). Triple P mused as to how much they would want to carry on their catfight naked in his room but I refused to translate his request for them.


But that had been yesterday and now Triple P was sitting in the Inter-Continental’s One Bar drinking a very good Vodka Martini and waiting for his particular friend B who had kindly shifted her schedule so they could meet up that evening. Triple P’s Martini was made with Wyborowa Equisite, a new premium brand for the traditional Polish (but French owned) firm. Wyborowa, of course, means “exquisite” in Polish so the name was completely tautologous. Some people claim that using better ingredients in a mixed drink was a waste but they, of course, are idiots. Using better ingredients improves the finished drink considerably.


He was just taking his second sip when in floated B in a cloud of Davidoff Clear Water. As she sat down she placed an order with the waitress in Polish. Triple P expressed surprise at her ability to speak the language and she replied that many German people spoke Polish. Unfortunately, Agent Triple P’s comment about that being useful if the Germans ever wanted to take up residence again was met with one of her unnerving stares, which always felt rather like one was being scanned by a Terminator robot.


B’s drink materialised; that ghastly looking crimson concoction that could only be that girlie drink in excelsis, the Cosmopolitan. When he gave her a quizzical look she explained that she didn’t really like Vodka Martinis as they made her feel strange. Triple P explained that was precisely why he encouraged women to drink them.


They ate in the Inter-Continental’s Mexican Restaurant, Frida Kahlo, which was decorated with lots of garish reproductions of the Mexican painter’s (and Trotsky’s mistress) work. Unusually, they both ate the same thing; sopa de tortilla and beef, chicken and shrimp fajitas. Triple P was somewhat alarmed by the huge bowl of tortilla chips with dips that arrived as an appetiser but fortunately B demolished most of them. They had a 2000 Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec from Baja California. It took a little while to breathe and probably should have been decanted but eventually yielded a raisiny fruit which overcame the tannin.




They retired to his room which was a considerable improvement on the one in Lodz and would no doubt have impressed two cheap prostitutes enough to fight naked.


Later, sharing a bubble bath, B quizzed him on his plans for his forthcoming trip to India. Triple P regaled her with details of his programme, seminars and hotels but was interrupted by B grabbing a sensitive part of his anatomy and explaining that what she actually wanted to hear about were his plans for female company. Was “one of your other women going?”, as she put it, as she was wondering about whether she should travel to India as well. Triple P admitted he was unattached and would be delighted to see her there, especially as he had two clear days in Delhi at the end of the visit. As in this case, Triple P had often found that by staying over on a Saturday night the airfare was reduced by such a large amount that the cost of the hotel stay was more than compensated by the saving on the airfare.

B thought it would be appropriate if she bought a copy of the Kama Sutra so that they could try to work through it during the visit.


Triple P pointed out that there were 64 positions within the text and exploring them all would take some time; at least two or three weeks. B replied by saying that it was not necessary to engage in only one position per session and she was sure that they could get through five or six at a time. Triple P had read the translation by Sir Richard Burton and explained that the descriptions of the positions were brief and not always very clear. B said that there were many illustrated versions and that would save considerable research and experimental time. If they grouped the positions into similar types it should be possible to quickly move from one to the other. Her take on the whole suggestion was typical of a Teutonic project manager, he thought. Triple P pointed out that many of the positions required some athleticism to which she replied that he had better start working out then as she was confident of her flexibility. Something that she then demonstrated most impressively over the subsequent hour.

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