Monday, 18 June 2012

In With Both Feet Between Russia And Poland

'Who would we fight first?' a Pole once said to me, the stare from his steel blue eyes cutting right through me, 'the Germans or the Russkis?'

'I don't know,' I wimpishly replied.

'The Germans, of course,' he grinned. 'Business before pleasure.'

Last week was a reminder of that remark, following the 1-1 draw between Poland and Russia in the Euro Championships and subsequent riots in Warsaw. It looked like a case of old scores being settled and the re-emergence of what the two countries really thought of each other.

So I and my friend should have been more tactful when I left the restaurant in London and heard the waitress's eastern Europear accent when she asked for the number of the cloakroom ticket.

'Polish?' I asked.

'Yes,' she said. 'How did you know?'

'It's the accent...'

'And you look as if you've just returned from a night out in Warsaw bashing Russians,' added my friend.

'No, no,' she replied matter of factly. 'It's not as simple as that. You see I am only half Polish ... I am half Russian too.'

There are times in life where you just want to retreat into the hole from whence one came. This was the perfect moment. The Poles say - innocence plays in the back yard of ignorance and innocence itself sometimes hath need of a mask.

They also say- wherever you go you can't get rid of yourself - so reality seems to have triumphed over dimwittedness. I stuck with my lack of tact.

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