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020: Vilnius to Bialystok. 2012/5/21

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When I was still cooking breakfast G. suddenly appeared already fully dressed in a suit, saying he had to leave.  Well, I don’t want to repeat the same kind of story, so let’s skip this part.  THE POINT IS: today I met two nice ladies, a cutie, and a most immaculate and accommodating host.

I arrived at the Vilnius bus station to leave my luggage at almost 11am, so I went directly to Traku Street for that café.  On the way I passed a Coffee Inn, saw their pastries and was a bit tempted, went for the toilet and met a tall and rather handsome man who introduced himself to me as an American Patrick who came to this country because of his Lithuanian wife.  How lovely.  I was in the mood for picking up a chat and maybe some fantasie, but I guess lots of people visit Coffee Inn for takeouts.  Their coffee is probably invariably served in paper cups, something I never warm up to for either aesthetic or environmental-friendly reasons.

Without the right stimulus I went to the bakery-café I visited the other day.  Today is a different lady, who seems to speak more English and is at least the same accommodating.  We exchanged quite a few words, I aroused her interest in my trip, and she asked for the link to my blog.  I promoted Taiwan just a teensy bit, partly because at first she confused it with Thailand.  The cake was not as great as expected, but at least I had some fine time for myself and the internet, even though window glasses, no air-conditioning and hot weather jointly contributed to some greenhouse effects – something never desirable and yet mostly neglected in Europe.

I thought I was going to be late for the bus and ran a bit, but I still rushed to the exchange (Citadel) right beside the train station (sweating all over the counter; I am sorry!), and the spread is the smallest I have seen in the city.  The bus probably set off from Riga, Latvia and is bound for Bonn, Germany, and the bus attendant – yes, there is one – speaks several languages including an accented though serviceable German, while English is her most limited language, I would say.  I should have slept a bit but never for a moment succeeded in doing so.

Finally, Białystok! The outer wall of the bus station shows that the temperature is almost 30 degrees Celsius; now this feels like Taiwan.  I couldn’t see my Max, a friend of Greg’s, and frankly I don’t know what he would look like, so I sent an SMS saying I was wearing a purple t-shirt, while at the same time thinking it is rather silly to write so – obviously I am the only Asian anyway! I went into the station to check bus tickets to Bialowieza, and the clerk issued only a persistent “no” in Polish, meaning that there are no such buses here.  Well, indeed from the schedule shown in the station I could only see Hajnowka, the easiest place to change for buses to Bialowieza.  No matter! That I can handle.

Max appeared, and along came with a lady with big accessories – usually not the style I would concur, but it works very well for her.  She introduced herself as Agnieszka (Agnes in English), a friend of Max’s (although she called him Robert), and she teaches English! Obviously someone is so considerate that s/he deemed it at least a good idea to have an interpreter.  We went to get a SIM card, and she (they) asked me whether I was too tired or I would like to “do some sightseeing” and have a coffee.  We went to see a palace that is now used for a medical school.  The light was already dark, and, short of a tripod, I relied on steady hands (hopefully) for the photos.

For the whole time – the WHOLE time – Max barely looked at me, although Agnieszka would tell me “Robert wants to ask you…” from time to time.  I find this to be rather curious; of course, before I came, Greg already told me that Max doesn’t really speak English, “but he will try!” In any case, we arrived at somewhere outside Białystok for “traditional Polish food,” and since no-one asked me or showed me a menu, I was later surprised to find out that two dishes were ordered “just for me” while Max/Robert had one simple thing and Agnieszka opted for a single coffee, since she is on a diet.  The thing that tastes like “zeppeline” (I still don’t remember the Polish name, but I did overhear the name “zeppeline” when they talked to the waiter/bartender, and upon hearing that I would utter this word Agnieszka said I “already know everything”), but it is not greasy at all, quite unlike the one I had in Vilnius, and maybe because flour is employed, the taste is relatively more delicate.  Indeed I like it, but I was full before I was reached three-fourth of it, and there is the other potato dish! (luckily it similarly doesn’t taste that potato.) After this “coffee,” we had a nice almost nocturnal walk.

These two people were really considerate – they first took me “home,” making sure that Agnes told me (supposedly from Max) to “treat this as my own home, feel free to have everything,” (and I saw that even the tiniest coffee creams are lined up IMMACULATELY AESTHETIC in the fridge,) and showed me my room before non-English-speaking Max drove her home. Being left alone, I quickly inspected everything with my curiosity as a foreigner, and the only verdict anyone can give is IMMACULATE, IMMACULATE, IMMACULATE.  And TASTEFUL.  The apartment is small, and yet the varied ornaments are obviously chosen with care and taste, which is not to say that the place is furnished in some luxurious style.  My impressions were that it looks almost like a model house, even though it has distinct human warmth.  Also, before soon I realized that I was taking Max’s own bedroom! I could not find any other bed in the apartment and felt rather apologetic.  This man even set up on the table his laptop for me, and it feels like in a boutique hotel.  Boutique.

Oh, and before Agnes left, she announced that WE will go to Białowieża the next day together, out of my surprise.  Someone was worried that this little foreigner may not be able to communicate with bus station clerks and get lost!

Max soon returned, and since I thought it would be wrong to have neither linguistic exchange nor eye contacts, I quickly opened a Google Translation page and typed some thankful words to show him.  He smiled, and we were able to communicate.  Max again wondered whether I was hungry (how can that be?), and he offered some yellowish “bison” vodka that can only be found in this area.  He mixed the drink with apple juice, and again it has the taste of a pro.

[Photo album including pics of 豪華住處 = here]

記帳:*1LTL = 10.96TWD; 1PLN = 8.8TWD
coffee+pastries at CUKATOS (bakery-café) in Vilnius: 15.56!
Vilnius – Bialystok Ecolines bus: 26.6 EUR(初到Vilnius就用信用卡線上訂)
零錢處理及未處理:約3.5 Lats
波蘭SIM card:39 PLN


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