Saturday 25 October 2008

Day trip to neighbouring city of Lublin

This morning Master Jedut had work to do at the ITF office in neighbouring city Lublin. This is about a 20 minute drive away. He offered to drop us off in the city and pick us up when he had to leave to teach a class at another town.

Master Jedut travels about 50,000 km per year in his car. He is away a lot and mostly drives to the tournaments, meetings, seminars and tournaments in other European countries. They think little of driving long distances here. For example the Polish team will travel by bus to most tournaments. They had two buses (I think) for the trip for the World Cup in Reva del Garda. It took 24 hours on-the-road to get there and another 24 hours to get home again. While we have to travel long distances via plane, aircraft seats can recline and are much more comfortable than the bus seats. The roads here in Poland are quite rough and the bus seats don’t recline much if at all. So these trips are quite tough on the competitors. Also, unlike NZ, they tend to arrive the night before the tournament and leave the day after so it is quite exhausting.

When we visited the ITF headquarters I mentioned to their secretary who was showing us around that we might be tight for time as Master Jedut needed to leave by 3pm and it was already 10 past 3. “No problem. He is a fast driver” she said. Master Jedut likes driving. He has a black Fiat coupe that performs nicely and he likes driving it. I must try and get a photo for you. It has a v5 turbo engine and six speed manual box and a nice stereo. He is quite a fast driver but very good… he said that he’s never had an accident, even a small one. While driving he finds it relaxing. “It gives me time to think, when I don’t have to do anything”.

Lublin is a small city close to us here at Lubartow. We were dropped off at a mall near the main shopping street. The mall was like any that you would visit anywhere in the world. Full of fashion shops, a food quart, escalators and 3 levels plus a car park. Mark’s warmest jacket is like a track suit top and wasn’t warm enough so he was on the hunt for a jacket to keep him warm here plus be useful when we get back home.

So we traipsed around the mall then the main shopping street visiting international brand stores including Nike, Adidas, Rebok and others. Some stores were very expensive and others more like the prices we’d expect to pay in NZ. Considering that the average basic wage in Poland seems to be about 2,000 Zloty per month it must be hard for people here to afford such things. 1 Zloty = NZ$0.60c

After comparing a few stores, Mark bought a jacket from a store back in the mall and immediately changed into it from his tracksuit jacket.

Yesterday it was very cold here. The weather forecast was for 11 degrees but we reckon it must have been 4-6 or so with light rain at times. In the wind it was very cold. Today it was much warmer with the wether map on TV showing partly sunny with 12-13 degrees and that’s what it did. It was nice to get some sun after yesterday’s cold.

Our accommodation here is the roomiest that we have had all trip. We have an “arartment” in the model which means we have two large rooms for sleeping in and our own bathroom. No fridge or kitchen but the beer and coke that we bought from the supermarket last night is not too cold to drink in our room.

It is 4.45pm now and Mark and Jeremy are having a snooze while I write this. They’re pretty stuffed from the tournament plus last night’s training with Master Jedut was pretty full on and they have another training session at 7.15pm tonight. It is about a half hour walk to the gym from here. But that’s another story.

Cheers for now