Category Archives: Travel and Places

I go to a lot of places, usually for work. I have a “ritual” of filming in them after hours, and some of the series of films I have made, as well as other writings, are in this section. These vlogs will be subcategorized by country and visit.

Is it possible to marry a Polish girl?

Duck soup for the soul … of discretion!

If you are a man, it is. Poland doesn’t do same-sex marriage.

The next prerequisite is finding a Polish girl who wants to marry you.

You then need to visit her family. On the last evening, when there is a big meal and you are the guest of honour, it is the time when you formally ask for the daughter’s hand in marriage. This you do after the main course but if you were given duck blood soup, a dark sweet soup called czernina as the first course, then it is a signal not to ask, as she is already intended for another nobleman.

Once these formalities are concluded the rest is easy.

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They couldn’t drag me away… (PV #36)

Original YT playout date: 26 June 2010
Duration: 12:29

The scariest thing I’ve done this year was get in the chair lift in Prague Zoo. It doesn’t stop for anyone. I wasn’t sitting very square in it and the drop was quite a long way to the wire net below.

When they saw me get on it, the lift operators started calling on the name of the second person of the Trinity and His earthly mother, which didn’t bode well.  Anyway, I filmed the whole thing. I supposed the ski lift could drag me away despite their fears that it might not hold, but the wild horses to be found at the top of it couldn’t drag me out of Prague Zoo before closing time, even though the battery was only good for the six small films you have here. I could certainly do another six at least with what’s left to show, but I’ll save that for another time.
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The Big Cat House of Prague Zoo (PV#35)

Original YT playout date: 25 June 2010
Duration: 20:36

Some big cats and some surprises too, Prague Zoo style.
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Foothills of the Himalayas (PV#34)

Original YT playout date: 20 June 2010
Duration: 15:17

Prague’s Foothills of the Himalayas plus Giant Tortoises and Flying Foxes in the fourth part of the Prague Zoo series which is the thirty fourth part of my Prague Vlog series.
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Stuck in Tram during Warsaw Flash Flood

 

Original YT playout date: 19 June 2010
Duration: 32:50

Here’s a slice of life in Poland for you. I thought I was walking home from work in nice weather, and then I noticed the horizon getting dark, so I decided to hop on a tram. This tram then rode into the middle of one of the worst storms I ever experienced, rendering it impossible for me to get out at my stop. See what happened after that and watch lightning flash follow lightning flash from a rainblurred Warsaw tram window.

Some 5 miles away, in Ursynow, the residents had 15 minutes between dry ground and knee high water ruining their cars. Nobody had seen the like for over 120 years.
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Why should I never visit Poland?

 

Topinambur – grown in Poland, or: “the new Jerusalem artichoke”.

If someone doesn’t like tasty food and pretty women, easy-going, polite and positive people with a good sense of humour plus great sights of various kinds, from the historical to the futuristic, from the urban to the most rural landscapes, and if someone likes to overpay for their purchases, then such a person ought not to visit Poland.

If someone likes to criticise a nation for being proud about its history and independent-minded, if someone wants to mock someone else’s religion, or behave in an anti-social manner while mouthing off about how rude the locals are for not having identical habits and manners as in their country of origin, well I think such a person won’t enjoy Poland much either. And Poland certainly won’t enjoy them.
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Sophie Reads the New Gdansk Edition in the Rickshaw

Original YT playout date: 9 June 2010
Duration: 48:39

Sophie reads the New Gdansk edition in the rickshaw.
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It’s Never Too Late to Coypulate (PV#33)

 

Original YT playout date: 9 June 2010
Duration: 17:21

We continue this HD visit to Prague zoo, the definitive Prague Zoo experience on Youtube.
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Is Poland considered a bad country? Why?

 

If someone has a low view of Poland, it usually means one of four things.

1. Ignorance

They don’t know Poland and have not spent time here. Maybe they don’t know Polish or have only a tiny grasp and cannot get over the cultural nuances. This is typical of ex-pats with little to offer who populate Facebook groups in order to grumble about the host nation, in comments laced with spelling mistakes, poor vocabulary and grammatical howlers in their own language. What hope had they to contribute much to Polish society? Their role here is only to embarrass the more elevated ex-patriate community and to get on their nerves by failing to observe rules.

In Poland for instance, fewer than two-thirds of the registered British community have bothered to sort out their withdrawal agreement documentation in the year they had in which to do so.  A further group of UK people and other Anglosphere people in Poland are simply here using money they saved in the UK or have some

Poland, a paradise for those who know how to appreciate it.

informal ways of making money, and are not actually registered anywhere at all. In some cases they even run vehicles which are likewise unregistered. None of which stops them from whinging on about the host nation in a way that makes most of us simply hang our heads.

 

2. Grass is greener-ness

They could be Poles who buy into the optimism about other countries but who never went there.

The majority of Poles going abroad to work miss home and come home. The most famous Polish poem starts with the sentiment that this country (Mickiewicz codenames it Lithuania to stay out of trouble) is only truly appreciated by those who have left it.

 

3. Neo-Marxist pseudo-fragilities

They might be leftist people with a jaundiced view of the influence of a conservative Church in the politics of the country. Such people are able easily to move to other European countries with left leaning governments who cannot wait to erode the Christian heritage, but don’t call Poland bad if it wants to buck that trend, and thankfully we are not the only ones.

 

4. General Uselessness

They could be people unable to give much to society and who need to live from social welfare who do not get that much support here. This is why the refugees we already took ran back to Germany one night. This is something the government are working on but in business I can tell you the improvements to welfare have a negative impact on cheap labour. So there are people who could work but who are low-skilled persons who now live on benefits as people do in the West, but thankfully at much lower levels.

 

Conclusion

There is clearly an overlap between these 4 conditions. A person can, in theory (and also usually in practice), be both a butt-hurt Neo-Marxist and generally useless both at the same time. But for the sake of having a list, I have separated them out. The internet loves lists.

Poland is not helped by the presence of malcontents, whether home-grown or imported. I do however have good news, the borders, other than closures due to Coronavirus restrictions or in defence against hybrid warfare (yes, I added that since 2017, but if Jeremy Clarkson can do that, so can I), tend to be open, so if you do not like it, escape should not be too challenging, even for you.

Now stick your thumbs down under the article and see if I care.

Emerald Eyes (PV#32)

Original YT playout date: 7 June 2010
Duration: 15:01

Here we have the second part of the Prague zoo expedition. Some of this is quite pretty so I have reduced the film lengths and gone for HD coding.
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Why are there so many Polish immigrants in the UK? Why is Poland such a bad country to live in?

First of all, if Poland were a bad country to live in, I wouldn’t live here. I am, after all, British. And there are a lot of British people living here, some in cities, some in more rural locations. As well as more and more other foreigners.

The reason you see a lot of Polish people is that this country has the same population as all the countries Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Slovenia and Croatia combined. Percentagewise, more Lithuanians have emigrated than Poles, but that doesn’t mean that Lithuania is a bad country either.  However, because there are thirty Poles in the world to every Lithuanian, you’re still not going to run into them as often.

 

Polish Exploration – the example of Mikołaj Przewalski

Poles are more adventurous than most peoples. They have had more than their share of explorers and discoverers. They were not by any means always looking for an easy life, but simply highly interested in the whole world and what is in it. One example I can easily give is a wild horse species, now endangered, which lives over in Mongolia. This was discovered by a Polish guy called Przewalski and is to this day called “Przewalski’s horse”.  He also has a Przewalski’s gazelle, which is less known, and was the first to describe to science te wild Bactrian camel, although clearly that was well-known from time immemorial. What was not known, though, was that this wild Bactrian camel was a separate species to the domestic Bactrian camel. This by the way I very much doubt would stand up to genetic analysis, because people are saying that dogs are basically the same species as wolves, but apparently what domestic Bactrian camels evolved from was really a different thing entirely, so there you go.

Mikołaj Przewalski (or as he was known in Russian Николай Михайлович Пржевальский),  was born in Smolensk, a perennial favorite haunt of Poles, in the Spring of 1839, and died in a place called Karakol (yes, I know, Turkish for “police station” but this is I think an actual town in Kirgizia which bore the name Pzhevask in his honour for a while before the Turkic police stations, the black arm gang, took over, and exploration and zoology put on the back-burner) in 1888, a good ten years after the birth of Stalin, not sayin’ anything, but you have to admit the moustache has a certain familiar look…

This chap was a Russian citizen, as at that time Poland was not even on the map, and Poles were either Prussian citizens, Russian citizens or Austro-Hungarian citizens. He used his “nash chelovek” status to explore all over Central Asia wherever the Russians went. He was so adventurous, that some people even reckon that he was Stalin’s real dad, but that’s probably just an urban legend.

These days some criticism is levelled at him for being quite high-handed towards the native peoples of the places he went to, which just goes to show that it was not just the British and other West Europeans that took an Imperialist stance it was everyone, and if we had been on the receiving end instead of the dishing-out end, it is highly unlikely to have been better.

Here you can penetrate anywhere, only not with the Gospels under your arm, but with money in your pocket, a carbine in one hand and a whip in the other. Europeans must use these to come and bear away in the name of civilisation all these dregs of the human race. A thousand of our soldiers would be enough to subdue all Asia from Lake Baykal to the Himalayas….Here the exploits of Cortez can still be repeated.

(N. M. Przewalski on Asia)

 

But above all for him it was exploration, science, nature, collecting specimens of unknown plants, insects and higher life which really got him his Vega medal.

How Przewalski's gazelle appears in Sclater's "The Book of Antelopes", a seminal work on these Bovidae from 1894.

Philip Sclater, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons The_book_of_antelopes (1894) Procapra przewalskii.

This is the same spirit that sends people to the UK. They believe that it will improve their English, which in turn will enable them to communicate on a world-wide scale and they want a nice classy English (unfortunately on building sites they tend to pick up something less than classy, but of course they don’t know that, and proceed with their h-dropping and “effing and blinding” when they get back and are trying to use English for the purposes of international tax consulting, or something equally august). They want to experience something different to their own country and culture, but which is still relatively friendly. The pay of course doesn’t hurt either, but for many it is not the prime consideration.

 

Some will stay in the UK, appreciating the education system as the grass is always greener on the other side, and wanting good UK universities and qualifications for their kids. Some are merely saving money and will use it to buy back in Poland in lush countryside a bigger mansion than any of their work colleagues in the UK will ever have.
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The Unexpected Marathon (PV#31)

Original YT playout date: 6 June 2010
Duration: 37:15

There’s me going to the zoo forgetting entirely the fact that it’s marathon time, as it was never my original intent to be in Prague at a weekend.
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