26 March 1980

Planning a trip to East Germany

In the morning we drive to the East German embassy to pick up our visas. Have to pay USD 6 per person for a double transit visa: we'll be able to travel into the DDR from Poland and out to West Berlin, then return the same way.

In the afternoon we are invited by two Cuban students to have some coffee in their room. Cuba makes excellent coffee of course and they claim to have some of the best. Well, it's OK but not great, though of course we appreciate the offer and it is in any case better than what is available in Poland.

In the afternoon I go with Christopher to a piano concert at the Chopin academy. He tells me that he knows two lady friends in East Berlin, and would like to introduce them to us. He is sure they'd be delighted to have contacts with Italians and Americans but he fears for their safety should they be seen haning around with non-authorized Western company.

Wadim and Marco

In the evening we have a few drinks in our room. We meet Wadim, a jovial if somewhat shy fellow student, and Romek, a cool guy who speaks good Russian, French and German and some English. He says he taught English to himself because that is the language he will need in the future. Has experience abroad, having worked in the USSR and France. Very confident, he feels the system in Poland is a real straightjacket to opportunity and growth.

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