Warsaw Day 3 – 50 Cent and Wargaming go head to head

Well it’s finally here – the first day of the World of Tanks Grand Finals. Today at breakfast, I had the courage to try the stuff in the bottles. Turns out, it’s flavored vodka, which I guess Polish people drink with breakfast because (as a girl at the buffet told me) “it’s not that strong.” (it’s 30 proof)

Cherry, walnut and pear vodka. It's what's for breakfast.

Fortified by booze, I walked from the hotel, across town to the venue (a cinema attached to a giant modern mall. I wanted to slide down this thing, and after my morning aperitif, was sure I could do it.)

Just gimme a bathmat.

The place was mobbed and I was amazed at how popular World of Tanks really is in Poland until I realized that the reason for the crowd was a coincidental visit from rapper 50 Cent who was there plugging his new headphones. Talk about an unexpected occurrence.

That tiny speck in the distance is 50 Cent.

Expensive little buggers.

Anyway, the Grand Finals were held in the craziest movie house I’ve ever seen. Like something out of a futuristic eight year old’s dreams.

VIP bar at the cinema. Who does this?

After a press conference, the battles began in earnest. I was expecting them to be fairly static and was surprised to find that the rivalry between the American team S.I.M.P. and the Polish team Lemming Train were pretty intense. The whole theater of course was cheering for the home team and I found myself really wishing the Americans would win. The two teams were pretty evenly matched, but in the end, Lemming Train prevailed.

Taking a break from the battles (which went on for 9 hours), I went walking around the nearby area where I found that you can dress like a matador if you shop at the Polish H&M and that TJ Maxx here is called “TK Maxx”. (It’s the little things, Jules.)

Matador is the new black.

I also sat outside a humongous Soviet structure, a kind of tourist center/technical museum and watched as what looked like a trio of art students giggled and took photos. Looks like the photographer was going for an homage to Willy Wonka?

Oh you crazy art students.

Waves of tiredness kept hitting me throughout the day, despite this break and frequent coffee breaks, a mediocre sushi lunch and a painfully sweet thing I bought that was like raspberry cream cheese sandwiched between two meringues—shudder.

I frankly didn’t think I’d make it until the end of the day, having to interview Wargaming execs and watch even more battles (dark, hot theater = narcolepsy), but I did. By then though, I and several other members of the media were famished. We attempted to go to this traditional Polish pierogi place, but they were tiny, packed, and not particularly keen to help us, judging by the hostess’s attitude. We ended up back at the Hard Rock Cafe nibbling appetizers, drinking beers and throwing back vodka and shots of some sort of heinous blue stuff. We also saw this puffy shirt on the wall which I thought belonged to Prince but which actually belonged to some Polish rockstar.

Someone's been raiding the Purple One's closet.

No food and too much alcohol did us in so we went back to the hotel around midnight.

Today – round two of the Grand Finals, but first, we’re headed to a tank museum where we’ve been promised a cool tour and tank rides! I’m hoping this time we get to ride IN the tanks as opposed to ON them.

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