January 2006


Spending Złotych

Miejski dom Kultury

Originally uploaded by elmada.

So my biggest problem in Poland was spending money.

As noted in Breaking the Law, I crossed from Poland into Germany the first time looking for dinner—this was symbolic of my biggest problem in Poland: Spending Money.

After my hotel bill was paid, I had 280 Zł leftover to spend—I figured most of it would go to food. Which, of course, I didn’t buy in Poland on Friday night.

So Saturday I set out to spend money in Poland: I bought postcards and stamps at the post office. It was a bit funny, when I went to the desk, I asked, “fünf mal postcarte bitte?” Obviously I got the word for postcard in German wrong, because the lady immediately started talking to me in English—which simplified matters considerably. From there I walked through Zgorzelec looking at the sights—I then wandered into a grocery store where I bought a couple boxes of candy.

After that I had my trip into Germany after which I discovered I’d been an illegal alien.

But I still tried to spend money in Poland—wandering around town, hungry, I found, and I really hate to confess this… McDonalds. I got the Big Mac Menu, Grosse. (Big Mac Extra Value Meal, Super Sized), which cost 12,50 Zł. Unfortunately all my change was exactly that: change—lots of small and heavy coinage.

At this point I still had well over 200 paper Zł in my pocket.

Next on my list was a discount supermarket, where I went wild: half a litre of vodka, a few packages of candy, and two tubes of my favorite toothpaste which doesn’t seem to be for sale in Germany. I could have bought more, but since I was walking and I only had my backpack I limited myself.

I was still rich—I went back to my hotel, somewhat frozen, warmed up in my hotel room, found out where a nearby Disco was, and worked until after 9pm when I headed out.

The first stop was the Chinese Restaurant, which, much to my great surprise was not run by a Chinese family nor a Vietnamese family, but a Polish family. The woman rushed me because the restaurant was closing shortly after I arrived—but I had tea, soup, and chicken with mushrooms, and spent less than 5€, including tip.

I still had a ton of money, so I made my way to the “Palace Nightclub and Restaurant,” arriving at 10:30—it was empty, but I had money to burn—so I sat down and watched the dance floor ordering what has become my current favorite drink, “gin-tonic.” Each one cost me 15 Zł, plus I left a 2 Zł tip, combined this came to about 4€. It was expensive—but I still was having trouble getting rid of my money.

I managed to last until 1, although it was a challenge—not the drinks, but despite the “English” sounding name, “Palace Nightclub and Restaurant” must translate into English as “We Leave the Windows Open in Winter so that our Dance Floor is Cool Extra Cold.” I was freezing my ass off, so at 1am, I retrieved my coat from the cloakroom, put it on and headed out into the warmer, yet still below freezing, outdoors and back to the hotel.

I had an odd linguistic experience in the club though. Shortly before I planned to go, a guy came up to me and said, “I hear you’re speaking Deutsch.” At least that’s what my mind has recorded him saying—I’m sure he actually said everything in German—but we switched to English and I answered his question—which was simple enough.

But it’s odd—my mind has absolutely recorded the guy as talking to me in the odd mostly English and one word in German sentence. Maybe my language skills are making progress after all.

And after all my spending efforts were complete? I still have 70 Zł / 18,30€ left—and I gave a large tip to the hotel maid: all the small change from McDonalds. It was heavy.

1 comment to Spending Złotych

  • dude, first of all, i’m sorry i’m calling you dude–consider it the spirit because your theme song for that entry should have been judas priest’s ‘breaking the law’. what a bargain shopper you are? i miss you dearly and hope you are staying warm.

    ps- to make part time money i’m a sex toy consultant. once you return to the US; that is, if you return you MUST buy any and all accoutrements from moi.