21 February 1980

Getting acquainted with Warsaw

Morning with Bogdan Radomski, who takes us around SGPiS and explains how everything works. He then takes us for a walk in the Marshalkowska, one of the main avenues of the city. First impression is of a general sadness. People don't smile in the street. Everything looks a bit shabby. The predominant color is grey.

In the evening we pay a visit to Ewa and Marian, two friends of Italian friends. He makes ends meet by doing a bit of everything, including selling telephone parts to Italy handset manufacturers. They live in a nondescript apartment building in the outskirts of the city but are doing pretty well by local standards. We have a great evening with them and two lady friends who are there.

Of course we are treated to a gargatuan dinner, during which we receive the first of many lessons on the "real economy" in Poland. We stay until 3AM (this seems like its going to become a habit) and exchange our first "black" money, 110 sloty for a dollar instead of the official 29.

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