Warsaw Day 4 – Baby Tanks and Bigos

Day two of the Grand Finals and I was prepared to head out first for the tank museum tour. I walked to the Kinotek (which amazingly, is inside this humongous Soviet building) to catch the tour bus but I’d gotten my signals crossed. I’d showed up for the wrong tour (too early). As a consolation for getting thrown off the bus, I did get to see a kid dressed like a gangsta wearing a t-shirt that said “Straight Slavic Flavour” in big letters.

The Soviets are serious about movies.

I went across the street to the Multikino and spent some time watching World of Tanks matches. The Chinese team JL E-sports Club were repeatedly trounced by the American team Fnatic. I heard (but didn’t see) that the Russian teams are really kicking butt and so I’m hoping I’ll see them in action on Sunday. I noticed after winning, that the members of Fnatic had kids coming up to them wanting autographs. How cute is that?

After an hour or so of tank battles, I went back out into the mall and into a grocery store on the bottom floor. I still get a kick out of looking at food packaging in other countries and was also appreciative of the deli counter’s pierogi selection. Why don’t WE have this?

Mmmmm...pierogies.

At 2:30 I went back out to the Kinotek to wait for the bus. It took us to the Panzer museum (not a pleasant drive really, since the bus smelled like a mixture of sweat and mildewed towels) where we got to check out some Polish and Soviet planes (Korean war era) as well as a variety of tanks. This baby one (we were calling it the “Corgi tank”. I can just see Milo and Maisie driving it) was my favorite.

You just wanna give it a hug.

We loaded ammo, cleaned a tank barrel, checked out a tank engine, and watched an impromptu tank parade made up of the Corgi tank and two other tanks of increasing size. (Funny – one of the Polish guides “complimented” a French journalist who was doing the ammo loading thing, by saying he was better at it than the Germans. It was the way he said it that was funny. “Yeah, you have a reputation for being terrible at this, but you are actually better than the German guys!” Way to improve international relations, dude.)

Choking on dust and tank fumes.

It was interesting all in all, but the temperature dropped as the sun went down, and my attention span dropped right along with it. We were glad to get back on the bus and head back to the Kinotek. By then I was not only freezing, I was dying to wash my dirty hands. We walked back through town to a restaurant on Nowy Sviat (a very pretty street lined with shops and restaurants) to get some traditional Polish fare.

We chose a place specifically for the hot beer they were supposed to have, but our waiter was a stubborn cuss, and and since it’s a holiday drink, he wasn’t inclined to have the bartender make it for us. Instead he pushed the hot mead so we tried that. It was extreeeeemely sweet, which seemed like a mistake (as in, not fermented long enough) but the heat of it was welcome. We had to sit outside since the restaurant was tiny, but they had heaters and wool blankets for your legs which made it bearable.

Second dinner.

We fulfilled the fat American stereotype by ordering two entrees each (I had the Bigos – hunter’s stew – a mixture of meat and cabbage and a selection of pierogies) which is good because it took forever to get the second half of our order. Service here is very slow. There’s definitely no concept of efficiency when it comes to Polish waiters or kitchen staff. You can wait for an hour before they finally bring you anything.

Oh, and the waiter was pushy about what we wanted to eat too – we wanted the Polish sausage and he told us not to get it and tried to push the special – rabbit with cream sauce. Dude, shut your pie hole and bring me what I want! (He was also very strident too at the end of the meal, making sure we knew the tip wasn’t included in the bill.)

Stuffed with meat and pierogies, we rolled out of there and back toward the hotel, stopping for ice cream and other convenience store stuffs to take back to the room. I found a new favorite – a chocolate bar with a liquid cherry center. Mmmm….

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