22 February 1980

Exploring Warsaw stores

We spend the morning with Bogdan to set up the course schedule and sort out many small issues related to our stay here over the next several months. He is a quiet person who acts calmly and deliberately. He is obviously elated to be managing this exchange program with a renown American university.

In the afternoon the three of us explore the city. First we go the "Supersam": a mediocre supermarket, with long lines for the meat counter. As we go in the staff forces each of us to take a basket, maybe to keep count of how many people get in, I am not sure. The quality of available groceries seems rather low.

Later I went to the local police office to renew the temporary visa I got in Vienna, easily done, no problems.

By the end of the afternoon the three of us again exploring various stores and shopping malls: prices are incredibly low, at least for us, but for most Poles too. The shelves are pretty well stacked up with merchandise but again the problem is that the quality is so low. The same can be said of the cars we see in the streets: many of them, there is  even the occasional traffic jam, but mostly cheap locally made FIATs and Soviet Ladas (also FIATs).

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