Its getting a little colder I think. Seeing flyers around about some Stanislaw Moniszuko Vocal Competition, well, everybody was making a huge deal about it, so we decided to go. There was so much people, signs the wholeAmerican idol thing almost. It wasnt what I thought it would be though, without the whole screaming, people sat silently and listened. The individuals who actually participated, well they didnt actually sing American kind of music. They sang opera. Like real live, crazy, ear splitting opera. What was funny about it though, I actually liked it. My skin got chills, and I was in awe and wonder how these people could project their voices like that. I was mesmerized. Even though I didnt know what the heck they were saying, well, it was pretty beautiful. One of the contestants however, made his looks work for him, squire, serenading looking. He actually went into the audience to kiss womens hands; in fact I think one of them fainted.
Afterwards, we witnessed a nice man help pick up a small little girl, who was bawling her eyes out, and he dried her tears and talked to her parents, and was such a nice gentleman! He reminded me of the plowman. We then tried a popular snack here, called the Kasza, which is pig knuckles. It tastes nasty. EWW
Yesterday was the vocal competition, now today is the Frederick Chopin Piano Competition. All I can say is that Europe is very educated in the music area. I know for a fact that playing piano is no picnic, and these people made it seem like it was as easy as breathing air. Seriously. There were some prodigy young ones, and it just made me green with envy. I actually wished my parents would have been evil enough to make me do piano lessons when I was a little girl so I could have been half as good as those were playing up on the stage there in the theater, it made me so jealous! The manciple, who we met later on, seemed to me very smart in what he was doing even though in the job that he is in right now, well it seems he has people tied around his fingers. He volunteered to put out refreshments up in a booth. He gave me the impression that even for a commoner he knew more than he should.
Taking some refreshments, I met the young squire. He looked so cute, but I just knew he would be so confident of himself like he was. He knew how to get a girls attention, Ill give him that. When we were all talking with him, and went outside of the theater, it started to pour on us. We were not exactly dressed for that. No umbrellas, no nothing, and it also got COLD. So we went home straight away.
I just came out of a long hot shower. I think we may just stay in here and watch t.v. besides, its still raining, so there really isnt much that we can do.
We argued and undecidedly talked about watching a movie today. Theres not really that much American movies, so watching a foreign movie well, we wouldnt know what to expect. So we dont really know right now
So we actually did get to go and watch a movie. It was actually a good idea. It was actually pretty funny. It reminded of us both of like a Austin Powers movie. Or maybe it was kinda about that, I dont know. It was kind of hard to follow. It wasnt all spoken in polish, but their accents and what they did, it was just so confusing. However, it was actually pretty funny, there was some funny parts in that movie, although now I cant even remember what it is even called.
At 2:00pm we went on a boat trip on the Vistula River. It was about ninety minutes long, and it only cost about 14z+ it reminded me of the time we went on a boat scenery trip in New York, and just like this one, it was freezing cold. I wonder why it is so cold, we are in May already, and I should think that the weather would be getting warmer instead of colder. How strange. Well, this made us think more of back home, and because being surrounded by water and the cold, we thought of the beautiful beaches back at home. Around this time it would be getting hot, with more pink tourists in thongs and bikinis, and how the water would be so warm, and the sand also. It made me want to go home right away. I was absolutely chilled to the bone.
We docked, and headed back to the direction of our hotel, and there was a Jazz Jamboree event going on, obviously in honor of Jazz. It was pretty amazing and nice to listen to, but after an hour, well we pretty much got over it. Well it was freezing! All I wanted to do was curl up in the fetal position under the covers of the bed and fall asleep.
In fact, Im going to go and do that right now.
We had breakfast with the nice couple who housed us in Warsaw. Afterwards we pack our clothes and prepare for the long journey to Zakopane. This place is situated in the mountains. We follow the couple by car up the winding roads up to Zakopane. When we finally get there, we check in a a cozy little place called Bambis Pension, which is pretty cheap there, because it cost us only 15 euros. The couple so generously give us gas money for the long drive, which I could not have accepted if Ciera had not already accepted it. Up, up up we went again the winding roads, which is approximately six hours long. I timed it. It kind of was like a catching up time for us. We just talked to just talk. We sang songs, and listen to the non existent radio. Its a good thing we have mp3s because I don not know how we would survive without music.
We arrived around 6:00pm, check out in a guest house shower, eat dinner, and pretty much jumped under the covers because it is six degrees outside.
How can we survive this cold! Im so glad I live in Hawaii. What Im not so glad about is, that we have to endure this cold for a couple more days. Its freezing and I just wish I could wear twenty pairs of socks at the same time. Hm, I wonder if there are such things as Polish Bears?
Oh Zakopane! Why must your breath be so cold and icy?! Woe is I! I said as I stepped outside the door and ran back inside to my bed. Ciera looked at me and laughed. Well, it is pretty cold, even for a mountain. We immediately make hot chocolate, and eat a nice warm breakfeast (porridge!!!) and go and get dressed. Or should I just say, put more layers on? I didnt take off anything, I added on to my clothes! We take the cable car to up to the mountains to snowboard. We learn the basics, after getting over the freezing cold, the basics are just really, the basics. That is, to just turn, stop, speed up, and for three straight hours we practiced. It is so much harder than it sounds. I have fallen down on my face more times than I can count. I think my face is ready to freeze entirely to the point I can break it off. Here we met the friar. Hes a fat fellow isnt he. He showed us his disgustingly gross infection, and it was all I can do but vomit. I wanted to yell, what the heck is that?!!! as my first reaction. Instead I kept quiet and hoped my eyes didnt bulge out so much. My whole day however was ruined, because that was all I could think about. That infection, the grossness of it. I shudder thinking of it.
We quitted the mountain and the horrible coldness of it, and went exploring the town. It still is cold. The town we visit is in a valley between the Tatra Mountains and Gubalowka Hill. The town here has the highest elevation in Poland. Which explains all the cold weather, its because the elevation is high. It seems that the people are more than used to the weather here, it absolutely weird. We walked through Krupowki, and everything here is so cheap! We try their famous cheese here, which is smoke and unpasturized, with goat or sheep milk, Im not sure which. Although, even with these strange and gross sounding ingredients, it turned out pretty good!
We then hike to the Morsiko Oko, a beautiful lake in the mountains. We take a minibus, then a horse drawn carriage. We passed much forestry, and beautiful scenery of mountain peaks. It was just a great view. So calming.
Tomorrow is our final destination, the whole reason why we even bothered to come here in Europe. Auschwitz is only two hours away, it makes me kind of scared. Only because I know this is where a lot of people have died. Ive always had a thing about dead people, or landmarks of them. It just makes me more uncomfortable than usual.
Auschwitz. The first reaction was just, Oh, look, there it is. This is because, it was. It just stood there waiting, inviting us in, with that entrance sign Ive heard so much about, that says, Arbeit Mach frei. Which means, Work makes one free. Only in my head I kept thinking, No it wont, look how much people died. It was such a sobering thought. That was only the entrance! Sobering thoughts have already taken over.
We visited a cell block, which was explained to us a prison inside of a prison. Some cells, were just only fitted for four people to stand, and to only stand. How could you be so cruel to just make them do that? To even ponder on those thoughts of how they must have felt, stuck with three more people back-to-back, no where to move, to hardly even breathe, and expected to do hard labor the next day, and be looking forward to that cell for that night? They call Auschwitz a death camp, or a man made hell, and I know exactly what they mean. They told us that the real hell of it all is in the next camp we will be visiting, Auschwitz-Birkenau. Im scared already.
They targeted Jewish people and Gypsies. They called gas chambers the solution to the Jew question. How could they ever think of that?! Its pretty unbelieveable, horrific that they piled a bunch of people who traveled by train to get her, only to die of gas chambers, pills, or experiments of their own disposal. It just sickens me. It give me a new opinion on how this world should live, not with war, because this is is how bad it can actually get. Serial killers are bad, but this? This is the kind of reason that humans are monsters. Not all humans, but they are certainly out there.
Hangars full of clothes, toys, blankets made of hair, shoes, anything that any of the people brought with them, are just laying there, waiting for their owners. They just sit there, untouched. Imagine how they felt to be just stripped of their property, and everyone that they knew. Man, woman, child, separated like cattle. The emotions that filled in me came out just a little. I refused to cry, even though this war has been over decades past, it still shows in the world today. People should open their eyes to the past. This happened, this was important, this should have stopped all wars all together. This is just getting too stupid to even believe. The gas chambers, I was so scared, I was afraid I would be able to hear the echo of their screams. The silence however, it was so much worse. The silence was infinite and forever. I got chills.
Why the act of genocide against Jews I have no clue. Apparently, there were tests on the women, to try and shrivel up their fallopian tubes, so they could not give birth, the point to no longer give birth to those of Jewish blood. No care of what their experiments cost of the ones being experimented on, they were just lab rats. They caused so much pain, so much hardship, its no wonder to me that a Jew now has not gathered other Jews together to eliminate any of German descent.
I could not even focus on where we were going, where the tour gude was taking us, Ciera kept her cool, she lead me around when all I could do was stand there and spaz out because my mind was so full of emotions and feelings, such strong feelings I was angry. I know why they wouldnt want us to take pictures in here. It cant. It is meant to stay here. This experience is to be experienced here. It sobers us.
The ashes are still here they say, I believe them. It has been dumped on such a magnified scale, it not really surprising if we were breathing it all in. The death, and sense of human cruelty mad me even more cold, if that was even possible. Just imagining the living conditions of this place, if I were here, without a jacket, doing laborious work, to the point of a horrible death, it is unable to even fathom.
This has made me think of my life on a more precious scale. I feel like, now life has more of a greater meaning. In this sight, life has more meaning and more joy and life than I could have ever hoped for.
Driving back to Ostrava, it was mostly in thinking. I was just overwhelmed by feeling and emotion, it was too much to put in words. We drove back in three hours, with the heat on and blowing, and now I cant wait to get back home. Where its warm, were I can go to the beach and a get a sunburn, where I call home.
The flight is coming up. The flight is at 12:15, and I all I have to say is that we have made a great many adventures. I have learned so much. I feel so humble to be alive. Not that I wasnt before, just more so than usual, because life has taken a new perspective from that trip. From the plane trip to Ostrava to the gas chambers in Auschwitz. It made a huge difference that life is something precious to me in every aspect. Those images of all those corpses, the gas chamber, the crematorium, what can make me think life is a waste otherwise? So many goals and dreams and those who could have made a difference, they died in the thousands everyday. My dreams are going to become fulfilled, Im going to see at least that I grow old with grandchildren, it wont stop. For those I left in Auschwitz, they will always be remembered.
Posted from USA:
posted Wednesday December 2007