16 April 1980

Mail and telephone

By chance, we meet Stefan at the university. He looks at our books on the economics of the socialist bloc and says: "All lies". Succint and to the point.

In the evening I wanted to go and visit Ewa with Borzena. As I pick her up at home, I am invited to another - you guess - unnecessarily large dinner. We drive to Ewa's but she is not at home.

Private telephone lines are not always to be taken for granted in Poland, even in the capital. Therefore sometimes the only way to communicate with someone is to go to their home and if they are out for the evening, well try again another time! And international calls are even more difficult. I have to go to the post office every time I need to call Italy. I could be wrong but don't think it is a matter of cost, but rather of control: if everyone had a phone line it would be impossible to bug them all!

Even sending letters abroad is not easy. This morning Ann and I went to the airport to ask someone, anyone, traveling to the United States to post a letter once across the Atlantic. We find a cooperative gentleman in the check-in line for the flight to New York. Posting from Poland might take ages and many letters are "lost".

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