13 April 1980

Walking and eating in Warsaw

In the morning we take a walk around the Wilanow park with Borzena and one of her friends. Andrew and I are thereafter invited to lunch at her place (needless to say we are again overfed with precious meats and other hard to find delicacies) and then out again for a walk in the old city. Stare miasto is always charming, it has been recontructed very well after the near total destruction of World War II.

Borzena is a very friendly and smart young lady. She clearly wants out of Poland, sees to end to the dark days of socialist depression. It is for this reason, I think, that she hangs out with as many Westerners as she can. Being smart and pretty, of course, helps her make friends. Her brother is the same, though of course has less of a chance attracting Western females.

She gets upset when, at about 8 o'clock in the evening, we tell her we are really not hungry for another meal at her home.ut there is nothing to do and we have to go and eat again. (And drink: vodka is never absent from the table.)

This extreme hospitality is not totally new to me. It is the same I found every time I visited my family in Calabria and Puglia. You have to eat everything all the time or else they take umbrage. And if you eat at the home of one relative you automatically must eat at everyone else's, lest they take offense and don't talk to you again. Which is one reason, I admit, why I don't visit my relatives as often as I otherwise might. I eat a lot but hardly have time to visit their beautiful regions.

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