It was a grueling trip to Poland: the flight was delayed, long, and there were lengthy waits for the bathroom (I conclude that Poles micturate more often than do other nationalities). Further, over the Atlantic some woman began screaming in the rear of the plane. I couldn’t see what was happening, but the blood-curdling screams went on for half an hour before they stopped. When we landed in Warsaw, there were further delays as medics came aboard and removed someone on a stretcher before we were allowed to disembark. I don’t know if it was that woman, or if someone else was ill or had even died.
Though it was 2 p.m. when we landed, the sun was barely over the horizon; I had forgotten how far north we are (Chicago is 42° north, Warsaw 52°). I was greeted by biology student and aspiring journalist Justyna, a protegée of Andrzej and Malgorzata. She was wearing a festive holiday hat and sporting a brand-new tattoo:
Yes, it’s a Darwin fish:
Justyna kindly escorted me to the station, where I got a bus to Płock (2 hours), followed by a 40-minute drive to Dobrzyn with my hosts Andrzej and Malgorzata.
At last I was ensconced at my adoptive home, and greeted with a stupendous meal of beef, potatoes, and salad, washed down with a fine Chianti (no fava beans). I was not permitted to photograph the meal as it wasn’t deemed sufficiently aesthetic, but these restrictions were lifted for dessert.
To be precise, six desserts. Clockwise from lower center, they are makowiec, an iced poppy-seed cake (a Polish specialty), sernik, toffee-covered cheesecake (a stupendous treat), both from bakeries, and then two cakes made by Malgorzata: keks (Swedish fruitcake) and miodownik (honey cake), babka, a yeast cake, and ciastka, Polish cookies. In the background you can see Hili, who is, as one reader described, “filling out nicely.” I, too, will fill out nicely if I continue to eat desserts like these:
Hili, was of course in attendance, and nommed a can of gourmet cat food I brought her from the States. She looks well pleased.
A welcome sight at bedtime. Sadly, the editor-in-chief hasn’t yet deigned to sleep with me, but perhaps I can lure her into the sack with some noms.
Finally, we are all back at work this morning, the routine we will keep up until I leave.
A preprandial walk to the river. Hili tagged along (she needs the exercise), as did Emma the d*g (not shown).
Hili points out a flock of cormorants over the Vistula. She wishes she had wings—or that the cormorants were flightless.
Animal camouflage: can you spot the cat? (The white markings are maladaptive.)