Saturday, October 30, 2010

The New Office Building

It's pretty noticeable, the rise of the new Warsaw.  From the new MoMA, to the new stadium, to the new metro, and the explosion of both apartment blocks and business parks.  These new office buildings shed the gray cement and small windows of the communist era, and erupted as massive monoliths of glass.  Now, that's not to say that they tower above like in New York or Hong Kong or Tokyo (the tallest building is still the Palac Kultury i Nauki), but they are springing up like mushrooms after a summer rain.
The new boom has pushed construction in Poland into a wild frenzy, but many don't think it will last.  Studio apartments are selling for 500,000zl in places like Wola and Praga.  With Warsaw's rapid expansion (and the rest of Poland emptying out, both due to people flocking to the cities and Ireland, UK, and Norway) many fear that there's a bubble that's inflating.  When that bubble pops, Warsaw will be stuck with monuments to man's over-frenzied greed.  Landlords won't be able to find enough tenants for to fill their offices and prices will plummet.  It's a common story, visible in Frankfurt and (most noticeably) in Dubai.  But, Poland has a lot of catching up to do.  We'll just have to wait and see how this recent tear will end up.
The office building of yesteryear

A more modern site.

A ocean of glass.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Just a Few Pictures of the Sunrise

Recently, I was wondering about a good place to watch the sunrise in Warsaw.  I nailed down a few places (the University of Warsaw's library was my number one choice, but it doesn't open until nine) and finally settled on Plac Zamkowy.  So, I got up early; baked a batch of cranberry scones; put some Earl Grey into the thermos; and headed out to see the sunrise.

Most Swietokrzyski in front of Stadion Narodowy. 

I have to say that I really enjoy Poland the most during the early morning and late evening.  Also, the seasons affect it too.  During the summer, it's hot and full of horrible tourists (I grew up in a tourist town and now see them as nothing more than walking wallets who complain.)  Before the dawn, the only people out on the streets are the partiers going home (two men asked me—at 7:15 AM—where they could find a bar/club.  I told them to go to Przekaski Zakaski.) and the really early-birds.
I was blessed with having a clear morning.  There were wisps of clouds, but the sun shone through.  It's really nice to see the morning dew on the ground and the morning fog settled between the buildings and the trees.  Plac Zamkowy offers an excellent view of the sunrise.  Once I find a better place, I'll let you all know.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Autumn Fall

Like a switch has been thrown, it's autumn in Poland.  One day I woke up and the trees had changed color and lost a great deal of leaves.  The weather turned damp and everyone walked around stylishly bundled up.  Also, I can tell it's fall by the 600% rise in interest in people seeking out English lessons.  It's like clockwork.  Every start of October and February, there's a rise in people asking for lessons, and all those lessons (and interest) cease in June.

The seasons move quick here.  Summer didn't fade into fall like I was used to; it just shifted gears and dropped twenty degrees.  I meandered about in Kabaty to tramp through the leaves (I love to skip through huge piles of fallen leaves and kick them about.  Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.)
The growing seasons are weïrd in Poland.  For instance: right now there are no more squash in the markets.  That's right.  Squash.  I'm used to squash disappearing half-way through November, not the end on September.  It was absurd.  The markets are mostly empty now anyway; all the farmers have packed up. There are plenty of apples for sale, and that's fine with me.

Also, the colors don't change a lot like in the northern states and Canada.  My falls have always been vivid with red, yellow, orange fireworks of leaves changing.  We used to hike up a mountain and look out to see a carpet of exploding color.  Here, leaves change a paltry yellow and drift to the ground where they rapidly turn brown.