29 April 1980

Dinner, party and flags

Busy all day with classes, in the morning at SGPiS and in the afternoon at the foreign policy center. We are not done before 7:15pm.

The three of us then go the apartment and meet my parents and Ewa and Marian, whom we invite to the Budapest restaurant for dinner. Hearty Hungarian fare. So cheap... 3300Zloty for 7 people, including 2 bottles of excellent Spanish wine. Marian and Ewa are more critical than usual (which is to say something) of the system, and it seems clear that they are planning to leave Poland, where they see no future.

After dinner, parents go to sleep, Ann and I go and meet some Russians for a party, and we stay up and have fun until 1:00am. Interesting, even surprising cultural experience, it is the first time we associate with Russians for a whole night as I can remember. (It would also be one of the last.)

One Russian lady, Marina, is totally, absolutely in love with Lenin. She talks all night about Lenin as if he were Father Christmas. She sings a song to us that was Lenin's favorite. She is almost in tears ad she does...

It is always hard to say, with Soviet students, how much they really believe what they say and how much they have to say it, perhaps because their party custodian angel is looking over their shoulders. Yet, what a stark difference between them and the Poles. In over two months here, we have yet to meet a real Polish Communist, let alone a singer of Lenin songs!

After the party, Ann and I raid the city for Polish flags. I like to collect flags from the countries I visit, and most of the time I buy them. But they mean so much more if you can steal them from somewhere important. These days Warsaw is covered with flags in preparation for the May 1st celebrations. So it's easy to just pick them off government buildings, party headquarters, schools, banks, dorms, you name it. We just take four big ones. Anyway it will be good publicity for Poland when we hang them in our dorm rooms back home, so we don't feel so guilty.

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