Thursday, December 27, 2012

Krupnik and Spelling

It's no secret that poor translations are abound in Poland.  From menus ('Cocktail' is usually transcribed as 'coctail'; 'vanilla' is 'vanillia') to museum blurbs (I must note that the Podziema Rynku Museum has excellent translations).  Official translations such as "Feel Like at Home" (a slogan from the Euro 2012) have people doing double-takes and taking me aside and saying, "Does this sound right to you?"

Anyway, someone was very gracious enough to give me a bottle of the illustrious Krupnik, a honey-based vodka (note: it is not mead, as mead is a fermented honey 'wine').  It was very, very kind of the person, and I must admit that I was slightly embarrassed because I did not return the favor in kind.
One glance at the label made me slightly cringe:
Krupnik, honey liqueur, honey vodka, wodka, Polish, Poland
The offending label
The text reads (verbatim):
Prepared from bees honey and various
spices and aromatic herbs according to
Polish recipes many hundred years old.

Now, here's the thing: if you're going to have some text in English that's big, prominent, and basically being the only representative text of your product/sports tournament/company slogan, you'd think you'd spend that extra amount of money to get it right.  That's the thing I don't really understand: this is the main text, essentially the only text that people (mostly Poles anyway (so why in English?)) are going to read, and they turned it into a first semester English project.  Some say, "Well, you know what it means anyway."  To that I answer, "So it's OK if I go to work and walk around in my bathrobe?  I mean, my junk is covered!  I've done the most basic amount to appear decent in public."
Well, maybe it's done on purpose to evoke authenticity of its rustic Polishness.

And, let's not forget, what matters most is the content of the bottle, not the label.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Jarmark Warszawa

It seems that Plac Defilad is getting some use this year.  It's usually an eyesore of a parking lot and bus station, but the Fan Zone and now the Jarmark Warszawa (Warsaw Christmas Fair) have actually put it to some use.  Last year, the jarmark was on the south side of the PKiN.  This year, it's a little bigger (still smaller than the one in the Old Town Square), and sports a small bar, a ferris wheel, some other rides, crappy Christmas techno, and the wooden stalls selling gloves, food, scarves, and knickknacks.

The 'Warsaw Eye' and the Palace.
The entrance.

I'll ride this some time and write about the views and whether it was worth it.

 I actually like Christmas markets.  I like buying the overpriced mulled wine (not much mead for sale) and hearty bread with smalec and ogorki kiszone.  The music could be toned down (really, it's terrible.  It's almost offensive how bad it is).
It's worth fifteen minutes to ramble through.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Showing More In Poland

Europe as a whole is a little more open on the nakedness than the US.  Recently, a colleague of mine returned from the US and talked about how conservative it was compared to Poland.  He cited the lack of naked women in advertising and in magazines.
A magazine cover from the Chopin Airport not three feet from the children's section.
It's true, really.  If one is ever on Chmielna Street in Warsaw, stop by The Pictures Bar.  They often have erotic photography in full display of the street (definitely something that would violate decency laws in the US).

One other thing I have come to learn, is what happens when a society is no longer oppressed and gains free speech.  Numerous folks I have spoken to recall the time right after communism fell, and people were allowed to broadcast whatever they wanted.  They all fondly recount how, at night, porn was shown (and how they all watched it, most being between the ages of nine and thirteen).  They differ on the station (Polsat was named, Sat.1, and RTL were other favorites (the last two being satellite stations)).  I was told about how, when the chains were thrown off, there was no regulation, no decency laws, and everyone was like, "Well, why the hell not?"  (And apparently no minded that their tweens were watching erotica on TV.)

I should point out that the US may guard its children from the horrid nudity that many other children in the world are exposed to, but there it's fine to expose them to horrendous amounts of graphic and brutal violence and plenty of mind-shaping alcohol commercials.  Also, there's Cinemax (more like Skin-e-max, amirite?!)