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Poland - never again


Rich Mazur 5 | 1,187    
18 May 2018  #1
In 1966, fifty two years ago, with a diploma from Polibuda in my bag, I was waving good-bye to my parents as the train I was on started rolling west toward a more civilized world.

This spring I broke my word never to go back, so on Thursday, April 26, I was again in Warsaw. Three days later, I was on my way home to Chicago.

What I learned very quickly about Poland made me leave sooner than I planned and will keep me from coming back forever.

Graffiti: If I want to see ugly buildings defaced by morons for no good reason I don't have to spend ten hours on a plane that would be considered a cruel and unusual punishment in a typical American prison. I have plenty of that near me where the black and Latino gangs congregate. To make matters worse, it seems that the average guy in Warsaw got numb to this form of vandalism. "It's just kids" or "They will do it again if we paint it over". This makes it a Polish mental disorder - tolerating theft by vandalism and being blasé about it.

Restrooms: Defecating and urinating are basic to life. In Poland, those functions are clearly optional and subject to a fee. My question, "What do I do if I don't have money with me?" was met with that stupid, smirkey smile that said "then you are f**ked". One local genius asked: thin or thick?

Emergency medical care: This was the last nail. Two days after arrival, Saturday evening, I wasn't feeling well so I stopped at a clinic. The first thing I hear is that it will be 120 zloty, payable up front. No, we don't take credit cards. What??? No, cash only. At that moment, I had 400 bucks on me so I figured I am good to go. Nope. Polish money only. Where is the nearest bank? I don't know but they are all closed now. So, what do I do? You can try the hospital down the street.

The hospital down the street was worse. The entrance looked like a place where you bring your old car to junk it. To find out how I would be treated in an emergency situation, I asked this: If somebody dropped me off here, bleeding and with 15 minutes left before my imminent death, with no documents or money on me because I left my hotel to go jogging, would I be treated to save my life? We would need cash payment up front. But I do have enough American insurance to cover me for up to 150,000 dollars, toll-free numbers to get a guarantee of payment, and two credit cards good for 20 grand. Sorry, these are our rules. Of course, the moron I was talking to was unable to say how much money would be enough to be admitted. That point was moot anyway because if I had any cash on me, it would be stolen by the "Good Samaritan", right along with my watch and shoes. She seemed happy to just say "no", with no attempt to suggest anything else. Not even a "let me check with Mr. Big".

At this point, the only thing I was able to say while avoiding the f word is that my access to a medical facility in the middle of Africa would be no worse. Sorry, but those are the rules. Got it.

Next day was Sunday. At 10, I was at the Chopin airport buying a return ticket. Good bye, Poland. Never again.

Last summer in June I went to a local post office to renew my American passport. Three weeks and 35 bucks later, it was in my hands. The form I had to fill out was four-page long.

Also in June, for the reasons that are more nostalgic than based on a necessity, I decided to renew my Polish passport. It is May now and I still don't have it. The difference today is that I don't care anymore.

BTW, the form I had to fill out to establish that I am a Polish citizen was 12-page long and covered every member of my family including both sets of my grandparents. My birth certificate, passport, and a very verifiable fact that I never renounced my Polish citizenship was clearly not sufficient for the Polish blockheads to decide that I still am.

Also, the Polish Consulate in Chicago makes a typical American post office look like a lobby of a five-star hotel. As an extra challenge, it is located to make getting there as inconvenient and expensive as humanly possible. And then there are those bullet-proof windows to make the conversations hard and unfriendly, if you can hear the clerk on the other side.
kaprys 1 | 1,355    
18 May 2018  #2
Should this be merged with the thread about Polish people complaining? ;)

Dear Rich,
to make things worse you wouldn't be able to pay in dollars in any other EU country as far as I know. I don't know for sure, though, as I find it pretty obvious to get the local currency if I go abroad.

Or you could use an ATM ...
It's not 1966 anymore, the 'mighty' dollar doesn't make people awe.
I bet there were you came across a babcia klozetowa or two back then, too. Is 2zl or so that much?
I bet American graffiti is so much better.
And people get free medical treatment with no recognisable medical insurance.
And that form - 12 pages? So much writing.
Good to hear you're safe and sound at home now ;)
Ironside 46 | 8,862    
18 May 2018  #3
Where is the nearest bank?

Dude you could have used ATM, falling that you could call your hotel, they would arrange something for you.

Two days after arrival,

Two days after arrival you had no local money?

I wasn't feeling well

Seems to me you were drunk and that would explain why you have acted like an idiot, had no local many and people weren't helpful. Nobody like to deal with an arrogant drunk idiot in any country.
Dirk diggler 7 | 3,284    
19 May 2018  #4
If you think Chicago is prettier, less dangerous, and strangers have a better attitude than in Warsaw I don't think any city will be up to your standards... Warsaw is actually cleaner and prettier than many other European capitals - especially Paris where the streets constantly smell like urine and crappy weed

Graffiti

Unfortunately yes, there is a TON of graffiti everywhere in Poland. It does upset me. Actually everything is tagged up even more so than in Chicago hoods. At least the kids have enough respect though not to tag up churches - but everything else is fair game. It does upset me though because htere's so many beautiful old buildings and EVERYTHING is tagged up. Like there's no block in the city that isn't scrawled in graffiti. Even in Chicago the gangs and high school kids don't tag stuff up nearly as much - at least not anymore like back in the 90s and 00s. That is the one thing I really dislike about Poland though I'll agree with that. Its a weird contrast you have beautiful kamienicy hundreds of years old yet they're all covered in graffiti and no one will paint over it because it'll be there again within a few days. Quite sad... they really should pass some strict laws against this...Or if the kids want to tag stuff up let them do it on a wall dedicated to that or at the skate park or something.

120 zloty

Well no ****... if you went to a doctor in S. Korea they'd ask for wons, if you went to a doctor in Canada they'd ask for Canadian dollars, Mexico - pesos, etc. If it was a street market or bazaar you could probably have paid in dollars or euros but not at a public hospital or doctors office.... You can't be mad that a clinic asked you to pay the bill in their nation's currency. Like Kaprys said, this isn't the PRL where everyone bows to you for the almighty US dollar...

And 120 zloty is less than $40. That's a very good price for getting emergency medical care without having insurance in that country. If you went to some urgent care in the US and didn't have insurance they'd likely charge you around $200. Even with insurance a copay is often $30 - depending on what insurance you have.

But I do have enough American insurance to cover me for up to 150,000 dollars

You're in POLAND - not the US. Unless you specifically have an international insurance plan they're not going to honor it. And even then I don't know what the exact rules are with those types of international plans.

It seems like you expected special treatment because you're an American with some dollars in your wallet. Granted yes, you'd get special treatment by gold diggers at the clubs.... but not at a hospital... In fact, Polish citizens will take priority. If you presented a dowod or polish passport or something than you'd be treated the same as any other Polish citizen.

Granted I will give you that Polish bureaucracy and the courts are beyond awful. It takes nerves of steel to get anything accomplished. Especially when you get some old PRL era hag that's helping you out and was use to getting bribes just to do her job.

I also renewed my passport at the consulate on Lake Shore Drive a while back. I was born in PL and my last passport was still from the PRL days as I generally travel on my US passport because should something ever go wrong in a foreign country I trust the US embassy a bit more than the Polish one to help me out. I do remember it involved a lot of papers to fill out but I don't recall having to wait a whole year for it nor did I have to have my grandparents to fill stuff out or prove I never renounced my citizenship, etc. The lady was actually very nice and helpful. It was a bit of writing and waiting but hey that's the process.
OP Rich Mazur 5 | 1,187    
19 May 2018  #5
Ironside:

A. I don't drink. Ever. Yeah, I know, a guy from Poland who does not get drunk is so unsual in your mind. But I am not surprised.

B. How the hell do I go to an ATM if I get hit by a car, I am bleeding, and I need to be in an emergency room within literally minutes? Duh?

C. Local currency people carry is not insurance money. It's burger-and-fries money. Emergency care money is in thousands or a lot more. Do you carry this kind of cash on you every day?

D. That idea of calling a pimply kid at the hotel so that he would "arrange something" is so off-the-chart stupid I will not even attempt to comment.

Dirk diggler

I did have international travel insurance on top of my supplemental Medicare coverage which is also good for international travel. So I was insured twice. And I had two credit cards which I used in Poland everywhere. With all that in place, the moron at the hospital was adamant that EVEN in case of a bloody and life threatening emergency they would not treat me without an up front cash on the table. Even illegal aliens are not turned away from American hospitals under such conditions.
Dirk diggler 7 | 3,284    
19 May 2018  #6
EVEN in case of a bloody and life threatening emergency they would not treat me without an up front cash on the table

That isn't totally true. They were just being a dick to you. If you called an ambulance or showed up bloody and dying they would treat you right away. Also, the public hospitals really differ from **** poor to average to wonderful. You must have been in a really crappy one. When my grandma had a kidney stone she was at one in Wroclaw like actually I think it's a military hospital and the care was wonderful and the food was great. But I remember on another occasion my aunt spilled hot water over her legs (she's very old) and suffered severe burns. She was wailing in pain before they finally admitted her and gave her some meds. The care was awful and they gave her nothing to eat besides gruel and some bread. On yet another occasion my cousin (who was a baby at the time) was having a seizure and was admitted immediately.

Do you still speak Polish? Were you communicating in Polish or English to the staff? Believe it or not that makes a difference.

I'm sorry you had such a bad experience. Honestly I absolutely love Poland. I visit there all the time especially in the summer. I generally take every summer off full time working to just relax, do some day trading, work on my online businesses, instead of driving around all day long and into offices from morning to night like I do the rest of the year. I will be going again to Poland in the next few weeks and I plan to move all my assets there and permanently settle down in the next 1-2 years. Like you, I'm from Chicago and I can't stand living here any longer.

Also, I'm not a huge fan of Warsaw. I like Krakow and Wroclaw (where I'm from) and the tricities way more.

Honestly I'd give it another chance though - check out Krakow or Wroclaw next time. It also helps to be with someone who's at least somewhat familiar with Poland and speaks the language.
TheWizard - | 162    
19 May 2018  #7
If there was ever an opposite to our holiday there you have found it. No wonder you left. Btw Chicago is a shithole.
kaprys 1 | 1,355    
19 May 2018  #8
@Rich Mazur
If it it had been a real emergency or an accident, you would have been helped.
In such cases they sort the insurance out afterwards.
If you're really Polish and left the country as a graduate in the 60s you probably expected free medical care in Poland as you used to have it as a kid. But right now you don't pay into the system. You're probably not covered by ZUS in any other way either. As for your American insurance, it's probably not that great if you couldn't use it in the situation in question.

And 120 zł is not that much really. Why not have it in cash?
It's really sad that you visit a country you haven't been to for decades and complain about having to spend 122 zł (doctor+toilet).

Weren't you just slightly disappointed that Poland was not as cheap as you had thought?
Joker - | 718    
19 May 2018  #9
Also, the Polish Consulate in Chicago makes a typical American post office look like a lobby of a five-star hotel.

Ive been inside that place before. It reminds me of an old currency exchange lol

You have to take the train or ride a bike because there is never any parking.
terri 1 | 1,405    
19 May 2018  #10
Just a tiny bit from me. I once had to visit a private doctor to just write me out a prescription for an antibiotic and that service cost me 100 pln plus the full cost of the prescription, so 120 pln for hospital treatment is very cheap anyway. I go to private dentists in Krakow where for a scale and polish I pay 220 pln every 6 months.

The thing with medical services or dentists or doctors is that if you cannot pay - you don't get.
DallasTexas    
19 May 2018  #11
Emergency care money is in thousands or a lot more. Do you carry this kind of cash on you every day?

You were carring ten times 120pln in some random foreign currency and you think it's outrageous to be expected to carry such a small amount?

D. That idea of calling a pimply kid at the hotel so that he would "arrange something" is so off-the-chart stupid I will not even attempt to comment.

Every decent hotel will exchange money, you obviously haven't travelled abroad very much.
cms neuf - | 342    
19 May 2018  #12
Honestly reading some of the things you say it's amazing that you managed to order a taxi and get through the check into your plane - it is simple common sense to carry some local currency, if not then it's simple common sense to learn how to use an ATM.

You are obviously fairly smart - you have a degree from a good school in Poland, you speak the language - so why didn't you just check up some basic things about availability of money changing before you left?
mafketis 16 | 5,772    
19 May 2018  #13
I'm sorry your trip wasn't pleasant, I'll note that

grafitti - is of course an American invention and I hate it but at least in Poland it's not gang related

restrooms - ime free public toilets are not the rule in the US either outside of institutions and public places like malls

emergency healthcare - you were totally unprepared for a medical emergency and you're surprised things didn't go smoothly?

Now I think the whole purpose of your trip was to have a miserable time and even though it took some doing - whining about pay toilets you managed it. Congratulations!
delphiandomine 86 | 16,341    
19 May 2018  #14
Weren't you just slightly disappointed that Poland was not as cheap as you had thought?

I think this is the real point. He probably expected to be welcomed with open arms because he is AMERICAN and he had DOLLARS, yet it's clearly not the same country that he left. His insurance clearly wasn't that good if they didn't accept it, though I doubt he did anything other than demand and behave like a stereotypical entitled American tourist.

Incidentally, what clinics don't take cards? Even my GP takes cards if you want to pay for something that isn't covered by the NFZ...
Ziemowit 9 | 2,915    
19 May 2018  #15
Rich Mazur is just another incarnation of the very same clown who has recently opened threads on the PolishForums. The first one was Marino Kat of Greece, the next one (only briefly here) was Tony71 and now we have a clown who calls himself Rich Mazur. The common traits of the stories given by those three people, but in fact one person, are that they try to portray different aspects of Poland and Polish life in bad light and at the same time they give no details which would make those stories verifiable. Of course, the stories may be based on some real situations where a person or their friends have gone through some unpleasant situations in Poland, but the plot based around them is clearly developed by the author.

The author no doubt amuses himself very much with the effort made by the people who react to his stories. Whom the author might be? The character preceding the three which are on stage at the moment was of course, the famous DREAMGIRL whom someone used to identify as Wroclaw Boy. No doubt the three most recent ones are not as primitive as the predecessor who basically talked about penises and most often about Wulkan's penis. Because of that it is debatable if the person behind Dreamgirl is the same as the person behind Marino Kat, Tony74 and Rich Mazur. The most depressing thing, however, is that a team of responders, typically led by Kaprys, tend to believe the stories and try to seriously address the issues presented by some pathetic clown whose agenda is to portray Poland in as bad light as possible and yet which seem to be credible to some extent.
Miloslaw 2 | 201    
19 May 2018  #16
I'm pretty sure you are right and Marino Kat was no more Greek than Rich Mazur is American.
Ironside 46 | 8,862    
19 May 2018  #17
whose agenda is to portray Poland i

His is a toll and troll's only agenda is to troll.
johnny reb 14 | 3,104    
19 May 2018  #18
Marino Kat was no more Greek than Rich Mazur is American.

Mario Kat is Greek but the guy who stole his identity is not.
kapry's called him out when she ask him to post a recent picture of himself with some Greek god.
That shut him up because the troll couldn't do it.
It turned out that the gay troll had a sexual fantasy for the real gay Mario and was pretending to be him by illegally using Mario's pictures.

The troll then tried to accuse me of being Mario but had already tangled himself up in his troll lies.
Once I said that I was going to contact the real Mario to tell him that someone was using his work portfolio pictures to steal his identity and copy rights the King Troll here suddenly went silent.

It was quite obvious who this troll is.
We could always contact the real Mario and have him file a lawsuit against this troll for stealing copy rights.
When Mario wins the case it would then be public knowledge of just who this troll is to be permanently banned from this forum.
kaprys 1 | 1,355    
19 May 2018  #19
@Ziemowit
There was no drama before. But here we are with some drama now.
If it's really a troll, he's having a good time now.
Great job.
Any particular reason why you decided to type my nick in bold?
I'm not sure if you're suggesting I'm the most naive here or the troll.
You don't have to like me but don't patronise me.
OP Rich Mazur 5 | 1,187    
19 May 2018  #20
You missed my main point: I had travel insurance and they still told me they would not treat me until they see Polish money on the table. Period. They refused to even look at my insurance document or, God forbid, call the 24/7 toll-free number to confirm that I am in fact insured and to what extent.

As far as 2zl to take a dump, it's not a matter of expense. It's the principle. Way back, we had this nonsense at the O'Hare airport in Chicago when you needed 10 cents to do it until someone went to a federal court and that was the end of this bs that you need to pay for something so basic to human existance. BTW, does every kid in Poland have cash or credit card to be able to go number 2?

Some places it gets worse: there is no restroom at the Gdanks Oliwa station! None, money or not. Luckily, a nearby private American company called McDonalds came to rescue.
kaprys 1 | 1,355    
19 May 2018  #21
Yeah, thank goodness for McDonald's ;)

I'm sorry I can't continue. I have been 'leading' this discussion for too long.
My nick has already been typed in bold because of that.
Bez odbioru.
Niech żyje Ameryka, a trole trzęsą portkami :p
johnny reb 14 | 3,104    
19 May 2018  #22
renew my American passport. Three weeks and 35 bucks later, it was in my hands.

Someone is full of little green apples.
To renew a U.S. Passport the fee is $115 and takes from THREE MONTHS to six months to get the new one after applying.
That is why they tell you to renew six months in advance or you may be denied departing or entering the United States.

I did have international travel insurance

International Health Insurance costs $250 a month to be covered up to $100,000.
You should have checked to see if Poland honored this BEFORE you bought it.
The credibility of your story is incredible to say the least.
Sounds like you survived so count your blessings and give thanks.
OP Rich Mazur 5 | 1,187    
19 May 2018  #23
On the positive side, no other EU country has more beautiful women per square mile than Poland. Only Columbia and Venezuela can compete.

To fess up, the April trip I aborted was my second after emigrating to the US. The first one in September 2017 was also remarkable but in a very positive way. For the first time since escaping commies, I was able to see the places where I lived and the schools I went to. While at Politechnika, I met a student who gave me a tour of the department (Lacznosc) I graduated from. He spoke perfect English so I invited him to have dinner with me. Technically, I am bilingual but after fifty years of not speaking Polish my default and the primary language is English now. BTW, I still hate that third-person, Polish "prosze Pana" and "czy Pan". How about just "you"? Too offensive?

The high point of my first trip to Poland was when, out of the blue, I just walked into a school in Jedlnia-Letnisko and offered to speak to the kids during their English class. To my total shock they said yes and there I was, a perfect stranger, talking about everything that was age appropriate. Needless to say, I was just as unprepared for this event as they were. But it went well enough for them to ask me to do it again for another group. Later, I did the same three times at the elementary school number 34 in Radom, the town I spent my best years as a kid between 4 and 10.

Which again brings me to the subject of restrooms. While in that school in Radom, I had to go. To my horror, I discovered that that there was no toilet paper in the stall. WTF? Maybe it just ran out. No, we don't provide it because the kids will steal it. How about soap and towels? No soap. No towels. Same reason. The second stall didn't have toilet paper either. And the door was missing. Against common sense and the rules of good manners, I decided to be an ugly American for a moment and offered to buy that missing door. Thank you but we have that door somewhere, we just didn't have a chance to install it. I was plannig to visit that school to check if they did but I had to leave.
Ziemowit 9 | 2,915    
19 May 2018  #24
My nick has already been typed in bold because of that. Bez odbioru.

Well done, Kaprys! It is very wise of you not to feed this troll any more. I think everyone here should ignore him since his stories stink so much. Unfortunately, he is likely to come up again soon as yet another character, but the we should ignore that one, too.

Niech żyje Ameryka, a trole trzęsą portkami

God bless America and its trolls !!!
OP Rich Mazur 5 | 1,187    
19 May 2018  #25
@johnny reb
Do you guys have reading comprehension problems here? I wrote that at that hospital they would not even discuss what insurance I had or bother to call a toll-free number to check if it was good in Poland. It was. And how the hell do I check if some bloody hospital in Warsaw will accept the insurance I am about to buy? You can't get that kind of information from the Polish Consulate in Chicago. For my new-form birth certificate I had to go to the USC in Warsaw in person because nothing can be done by mail or phone. People who call locally in Warsaw can't get through. The Polish Consulate here never picks up if you call them. In the US, I can call the White House and somebody will answer. That is another reason why I never want to have anything to do with anything Polish.

If you call what I write trolling than you have no idea what trolling is. Just because you don't like a post does not mean it's trolling. Trolling is posting to deliberately elicit an angry response. I really don't care how anyone feels or responds.
delphiandomine 86 | 16,341    
19 May 2018  #26
To renew a U.S. Passport the fee is $115 and takes from THREE MONTHS to six months to get the new one after applying.

LOL, how backwards. I can apply online for a new passport, and last time I did it, it was with me in 11 days.

You missed my main point: I had travel insurance and they still told me they would not treat me until they see Polish money on the table.

That's how travel insurance works. You pay upfront and get reimbursed.
OP Rich Mazur 5 | 1,187    
19 May 2018  #27
No, it does not. It does not take much for the bill to be $40 grand. Can you pay $40 grand up front because you got hit by a car? Do you even have $40 grand at all, much less when you are a tourist in a foreign country? What you are talking about is a splinter or running nose money? I am talking about accidents. You know, the things that are bloody and happen unexpectedly.
Joker - | 718    
20 May 2018  #28
I went to a local post office to renew my American passport. Three weeks and 35 bucks later,

$35 Dollars??? When was this back in the 1980`s?

To renew a U.S. Passport the fee is $115 and takes from THREE MONTHS to six months to get the new one after applying.

This is what it cost me to renew my American passport.

LOL, how backwards. I can apply online for a new passport, and last time I did it, it was with me in 11 days.

Now you claim to have an American Passport?

Keep trolling Delpia lol

You're supposed to be a professional school teacher, its about time you started acting like one.
johnny reb 14 | 3,104    
20 May 2018  #29
I can apply online for a new passport, and last time I did it, it was with me in 11 days.

I could to if I wanted to put all my personal information online including my social security number so someone could steal my identity, bank accounts, credit cards, stock market accounts, debit accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts, all my health records and be able to sell all my properties and not to mention be able to buy properties and cars in my name and then sell them for cash.

Of course a guy like you delph wouldn't have to worry about all that so applying on line would be reasonable for you.
A passport applications questions are your naked life on a piece of paper and only a fool would apply on line.
Joker - | 718    
20 May 2018  #30
You can't get that kind of information from the Polish Consulate in Chicago.

Ive gone with friends/family to the Polish Consulate several times in Chicago. Ive noticed they arent very friendly at all to the people trying to re-new their passports.

They have nothing to immigration and wont answer any legal questions. All they will ask you is, are your here Illegally? And thats about it.

Then in a few weeks they will call you back to the consulate to pick it up.



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