As a consequence of Adam`s Fall, we need prisons and prisons have to be somewhere. I live in Mokotow, next to the prison. When I first moved here, I had no objection to living next to the prison. It was quiet and reasonably well maintained. Yes, occasionally at night, friends or relations of inmates would break into our garden to shout across the the wall but we put a stop to that by putting in a metal gate. (One night this summer someone removed it with a saw, an act of vandalism our administration reported to the police. As a result, we now have a metal fence where the gate used to be and to get to the garages you have to go through the next block`s entrance. I suppose there is some logic to that.) But, what attracted me to living here was the wonderful silence and calm so hard to find in an urban environment. Well, that was until a year ago when the silence was broken by the noise of a generator or cooling system. I thought it would stop but it went on for days. I would wake at night, get up, and roam the streets trying to find the source. I concluded, it must be coming from the prison. I went to an office address where, after repeated visitis, I was offered a meeting with the governor. I went to the prison. Going in I met a lawyer coming out whom I know and who had been visiting a very high profile client in the film industry. I was led down dark, brown painted and carpeted corridors to the governor`s office. The governor assured me that there were no machines in operation until 7 am every morning. And, anyway, I could hear for myself, the prison was silent. However, as a gesture of good will, he told one of his officials to go home with me so that he could hear for himself. When we got home it was raining heavily. Nothing could be heard except the rain. The official looked at me as if I were mad and left. The noise continues. It is almost like having a plane constantly flying overhead. Its worse in the summer because of having the windows open. I must say, it is driving me mad.
The Warsaw Business Journal (free in most hotels unless you want to buy it through the normal channels) has an interesting headline this week, “The DO-Nothing Party.” Underneath, it has a photo of the PO leaders: the President, Prime Minister, our beloved Mayor, dear Roza Thun (not a good shot of her, eyes shut) and the rest `em. The piece concludes that PO, now in complete power (not control…remember the Cross), has absolutely no incentive to reform and, in all likelyhood, wont, can`t and is too scared to. This is a government in paralysis. This is very bad news for us, and even worse for them. It means that, in the long term, government and its agencies will become irrelevant. Bright young Poles will simply turn to NGOs and private organisations to lead the country. This is not good for democracy, for the country, for its institutions, but it seems to be what has to happen. The alternative? It does not bear thinking about unless Marshal Pilsudski can rise from the grave (which I doubt).
You may remember that I had to complain about the awful beds in the Orbis hotel in Zamosc. Their representative wrote to say the the beds had the wrong screws! They squeeked. Beds often squeek but rarely of their own accord. Since I was trying to sleep and not provoking the screws as as they can be provoked, at almost 400 pln a night was none too happy. Orbis has come clean and taken the “unusual step” (their words) of refunding me half the cost of my stay…no doubt in the mistaken assumption that I will spend it in one of their wretched hotels. Ha ha! They must be mad if they think so mean a gesture will make up for the loss of a good night`s sleep and make me think any the better of them. What a cheek to offer the innocent traveller a bed which you know will not allow him or her a moment`s peace. No news about the maltreatment of the Hotel Bristol, which they own, nor the sacking of the great hotel (whose name I forget, but you know which one I mean) in Sopot.
However, may I urge you all to boycott Orbis/Accor hotels!