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Poland from a Persian Tourist's Perspective


DariusTraveller 1 | 59
7 Mar 2010 #1
Hi People

I don't know where to start with this but I'll drop it in this section so this post is my view of Poland as a society, culture and country . I'm an ethnically Persian student/tourist aged 21 and I've visited a lot of countries all over the world. Recently I've been to Poland, Warsaw a few times on work/study related trips so naturally I've been exploring quite a bit all over the city.

Now before anyone starts pointing fingers while screaming "filthy dog, go back to your country" I'd like to point out that I've lived all over the world from a very young age. I speak 4 languages and I've lived in several western European countries and New York, California, Canada, Hong Kong etc. I currently hold 3 different passports and I come from a long line of very educated people who have contributed greatly and are recognized in several scientific fields. Now I'm not saying this to brag or anything but I have noticed the awful amount of misconception polish people and other Europeans learn about the world and I'll address that later in my thread.

I have to say right of the bat that my trips were pretty pleasant and I didn't run into any real negativity as such. The polish people I met seemed hospitable and nice and the general experience was good but I've still left Poland with a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

The first time I visited Warsaw I was very new to the city and eastern Europe so I didn't know how to get around. Naturally I ran into one of the overpriced illegal taxis the very minute I got out of the airport, of course I fell for the scam and this dude around my age drove me to my hotel downtown.

Now don't get me wrong, the guy was very nice and he had great stories to tell but somewhere along the conversation he started telling me that If I wanted he could get me "young and slim" prostitutes and drugs :S I knew Poland had it's social problems before I got here, I had read online that something like this might happen. Personally I'm not comfortable with these sort of activities so I declined the guy politely.

Now during the course of a week I stayed at a swanky hotel paid by my university which was nice, the people were more than pleasant and I didn't run into any problems in relation to the accommodation. My work hours were very short the days I was there.. I just had to talk to a few people, check out a few things, sign papers etc. So most of the days I was out taking pictures and just being really touristy.

As I mentioned before I knew that Poland might be a troubled country, specially for someone like me and before I was sent here I read up online a lot about what to expect as I didn't want any trouble. I have a statistical mind so I like facts and numbers, before I arrived I read up on polish history, watched a few movies and memorized some facts. After just a few days I came to the conclusion that Warsaw was very much like a small Manhattan in Europe. Capitalism seems to dominate and the infrastructure seemed to cater to cars. People were well educated somewhat modern and very westernized.

after about a week I thought I might take a drive outside of the city to see how the landscape would change. After I was outside of the city things really started sinking in, Warsaw seemed like a completely different world to the rest of Poland. So sum my experience up outside of the city ---- Narrowminded Village societies.

I'm not saying this to be rude or anything but I really didn't like what I saw outside of the bigger cities, poor conditions, Rude people, narrowminded opinions, unhelpful and just plain uneducated folks. I'm fully aware that this isn't just a Poland problem and that every country has it's city life versus village societies so I'm not going to go too much into that.

I've lived in Europe for quite a few years and I'm fully aware of the reputation that arabs, turks, kurds, libanese and africans and whatnot have all throughout Europe and I've heard all the things people say. I've personally run into a lot of discrimination all over Europe and I did meet the classic subtle discrimination in Poland too... BUT and there's a big but.

What I did notice is that Poland doesn't have any real visible minorities which gives visitors a pleasant advantage of actually being treated like a human and not a subhuman. People in the city seem more open about your culture and heritage, they don't call you names behind your back and they don't scuff at you just for being you. I was pleasantly surprised as quite a few people would ask things like --- "where are you from?" --- "really?" --- "tell me about it" like polite people would do. If this was England, Holland or Denmark people's attitude would be more like --- "you're an arab" --- "you're a muslim" --- "you're unwanted". Which of course is completely untrue as we're Zoroastrians and not Muslim and we're Persians not Arabs.

Generally Polish people and Poland seemed nice in person but ever since I found this forum after the first trip I've been left with the same sour taste in my mouth as I do when I'm in Germany, Denmark Holland or any other radical anti-cultural country.

After reading a few very disturbing threads sporadically on this forum I've been kinda shocked. The way some people talk about other ethnicities and my homeland here is just unbelievable. I understand this is a polish forum? presumable visited by english speaking poles so you're most likely polish posters. The way Turks, Kurds and Indians are described and talked about is mind boggling. I know these countries have their problems and bad reputation but the way people talk about them is blown out of proportion. I mean Polish people have just as bad of a reputation throughout Europe so it's not the best time to point fingers at eachother.

I've also read quite a few anti Persian comments which I don't understand either. My country saved hundreds of thousands of polish lives during the Polish exodus from Russia where poles rushed in mass numbers to evacuee camps at the shoreline of Pahlavi and in and around Tehran also known as the "promised land" among them. My grandparents worked as medical doctors in those camps and saved countless of polish lives when they needed it the most. The king let polish people live there for years and they were treated with nothing but dignity and respect, even to this day today polish people still live there in small pocket communities and what's more noticeable is the amount of newborn polish boys who are given Persian names each year even today.

Now I'm not saying that the polish people are in debt to us but it's more than obvious that a lot of keyboard warriors on here continuously tell lies and spread propaganda about what kind of people we are, when in fact they know nothing about what people we are or our culture or heritage.

All I'm trying to say is that Poland and the Polish people seemed pretty decent and unbiased towards world issues, I'm not saying you should embrace open border or anything like that but you're on a slippery slope and I'd hate to visit 10 years from now and see a country overrun by fascists. remember what you fought.. A totalitarian Nazi regime isn't the solution to anything, just look at what fascism has turned my country into today.
Torq 26 | 2,371
7 Mar 2010 #2
Welcome to PolishForums, Darius.

I understand this is a polish forum? presumable visited by english speaking poles so you're most likely polish posters.

You're wrong.

If we are to believe the statistics (and, being on this forum for about a year now,
I'd say that they're quite accurate) roughly about 10% of the posters here are
Polish, out of which about 3-4% are actually Poles living in Poland.

So, in 90% of the cases you are dealing with non-Polish posters here.

As for your observations about Poland, I will not comment them - it is your opinion
and you're entitled to it. However, I'd just like to make one thing clear - there is
no anti-Persian sentiment in Poland at all.
OP DariusTraveller 1 | 59
7 Mar 2010 #3
Well I didn't run into any anti persian behavior when I was there in person but I have read some untrue things online, I did assume users of this forum were mainly polish... I guess I'm wrong but atleast some of the 10% the natives will read this post My final point as a general foreigner is that I came, I saw and I learned. I've met people who visited my country with the idea that they would either get kidnapped, shot, stabbed or raped but what they found was big westernized modern cities with nothing but hospitable people who were eager to please and represent our homeland. All I'm saying is that what you see on television is far from reality. I'm ashamed to say I expected worse from Poland but I learned that it wasn't as bad as I thought.. In general it was good.
Torq 26 | 2,371
7 Mar 2010 #4
Don't worry - you're not the first person to make that mistake and probably no the last.

I've met few people who visited my country with the idea that they would either get kidnapped, shot, stabbed.

Interesting - I was thinking about a trip somewhere outside Europe. I might go to Persia now :)

All I'm saying is that what you see on television is far from reality.

What you see on television is usually far from reality - we know that :)

it wasn't as bad as I thought... In general it was good.

I'll take that as a compliment ;)
enkidu 7 | 623
7 Mar 2010 #5
It is easy to call a few millions of people an "narrow-minded" isn't it? Without any arguments, without any observations it is just a name-calling, nothing more.

In your lengthy post titled "Poland from a Persian Tourist's Perspective" you actually didn't say thing about Poland. Funny.
Torq 26 | 2,371
7 Mar 2010 #6
It is easy to call a few millions of people an "narrow-minded" isn't it?

Oh, come on, Enkidu - I'm a small-town boy myself so I was also a little bit aggrievated
with the "narrow-minded" comment, but maybe that's how he felt - maybe he encountered
some unpleasant situation, who knows.

Generally he sounds like a sensible man, and it was his first post here, so let's not attack
him... at least not right away LOL

;)
RevokeNice 15 | 1,859
7 Mar 2010 #7
Synopsis: Non white claims he is oh so educated and well travelled, then claims he is shocked at racism in Poland, europe and on an internet forum. Quelle surprise!

What beacon of utopia do you hail from yourself, OP?
SzwedwPolsce 11 | 1,595
7 Mar 2010 #8
Most of your description seems to be close to the truth. Even if it contains a few generalizations.

But as said before, 80-90% of the people on this forum, are not from Poland. There are for example many more people from UK than from Poland here.
OP DariusTraveller 1 | 59
7 Mar 2010 #9
In your lengthy post titled "Poland from a Persian Tourist's Perspective" you actually didn't say thing about Poland.

As I said. I commented on the country, society and the people i met from my perspective as a tourist. My experience of the rural areas was narrow mindedness and deeply rooted social problems. I'm not saying everyone outside of the city were bad and this might not be in depth and scientific but this is what I saw with my own eyes in the short period I've been there. If I had to describe everything I saw and the people I met I could write an entire book.
enkidu 7 | 623
7 Mar 2010 #10
I commented on the country, society and the people i met from my perspective as a tourist

You commented only about Your own feelings, call some names, put some labels, but definitely you didn't comment on the country you visited. Personally I would be happy to learn some of your observations and conclusions.

Right now all I know that you are descendant of very fine family, got a few passports and traveled a lot. I also know that you have got some "sour" feelings about Poland, you did find most of Poles narrow-minded and Poland has deep-rooted problems. Come on - you can say this regarding any country in the world.
f stop 25 | 2,513
7 Mar 2010 #11
call me suspicious, but Traveler sounds like one of our enterprising old posters trying to make a point from a new and "entirely different" angle.
Nika 2 | 507
7 Mar 2010 #12
So, in 90% of the cases you are dealing with non-Polish posters here.

100% agree with Torq, PLEASE Darius bear in mind that the vast MAJORITY of ppl positng on here are not Polish, but American, British, Canadian, some Germans, French, Dutch and one Greek-Freak.

You are not the first person, who is misled by the name of the forums, thinking that all the nasty, disrespectful things, are said by Poles!

we're Persians not Arabs.

As if I heard my best friend - she is Iranian as well! I also got to know her parents - great people from Teheran. Under the Shah, they were both in the Iranian army, unfortunately had to flee the country after the Iranian Revolution. They've told me a lot about your country, which got me into liking it, without really knowing it. Also, I was with all my heart with Iranian ppl during the last June's demonstrations, really!
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Mar 2010 #13
I got that impression too. Sth's not right here.
OP DariusTraveller 1 | 59
7 Mar 2010 #14
Right now all I know that you are descendant of very fine family, got a few passports and traveled a lot. I also know that you have got some "sour" feelings about Poland, you did find most of Poles narrow-minded and Poland has deep-rooted problems. Come on - you can say this regarding any country in the world.

Would you like me to comment on insignificant things? like The buildings? the shops? Of course I'm commenting on my feelings towards what I've seen and the people I've met and I think you should read my post again. Poland without polish people would just be an empty piece of land. I've explained my observations of city life versus country life. I never said I found most of poles narrow minded and I never said Poland as a whole had deep rooted social problems. Please stop twisting my words towards your own vilified agenda.

If you read my post again you will see that it's a written through my PERSPECTIVE if you're familiar with that word. I wrote positive things about Warsaw and the people of Warsaw while I wrote less positive things about rural Poland and the people there. in a nutshell I said my experience was that most of the the country folks i met were rude and narrowminded while city folks were much more modern this is what I experience therefore I can't change it. Deeply rooted social problems can be roadside prostitutes and drugdealers which I saw lots of, I don't want to get too much into that as it's insignificant to my post.

My whole point of the post is that I came, I saw, I experienced and yes you're right.. You can say this regarding any country in the world which I also pointed out if you had actually read my post.

To you and everyone else..Please refrain from commenting if you're not actually Polish or an expat living in Poland or if you haven't lived in Poland for a longer period of time. This thread was intended for people like them and not other foreigners who wish they lived in Poland.

No offence in any way ofcourse :)
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Mar 2010 #15
And how did you rate the women on average here, Darius? I've seen some Iranian women and some are really hot. I like their complexion, when you can see their face that is ;) ;)
f stop 25 | 2,513
7 Mar 2010 #16
Would you like me to comment on insignificant things?

Not a single particular example, just generalities... Not like any helpful travel report I've ever seen.
McCoy 27 | 1,276
7 Mar 2010 #17
I've seen some Iranian women and some are really hot.

I wonder if muslim women can do świńskie rzeczy?
OP DariusTraveller 1 | 59
7 Mar 2010 #18
You are not the first person, who is misled by the name of the forums, thinking that all the nasty, disrespectful things, are said by Poles!

Yeah it seems like you're right, I started this thread because I thought It was a forum filled with poles so I thought I could hear some of their opinions... Ohh well.. atleast there's a few on here. I'm not really interested in foreign opinions as they have nothing to do with Poland as such. I'm aware now that this place is mostly visited by foreigners but if poles reply I'll reply aswell.

As if I heard my best friend - she is Iranian as well! I also got to know her parents!

Do they live in Poland? I got drafted for the revolutionary guards but paid my way out of it. they're like a cult. Not good for our country. Personally I'm not a fan of the king or the monarchy as they single handedly along with the british government managed to turn our country upside down. We prefer the word Persian over Iranian. Back in the 1930's Military generals changed the countries name from Persia to Iran in order to be closer to Hitlers Nazi Germany. Iran basically means Aryan.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Mar 2010 #19
Ask the resident expert ;) ;)

How does the average Iranian compare with the average Pole, Darius? Boy, I hate generalisations :( :(
opts 10 | 260
7 Mar 2010 #20
filthy dog, go back to your country"

I don't expect anyone, in this forum, Pole and non-Pole, to tell you to go back to your country. That is your bias view. I know Poles do not have same views. I am not impressed with your knowledge of 4 languages and your travels. Many members of this forum know many languages and traveled to many countries, including myself.

I welcome you to the forum. I once read that people who settled in the area what is now Poland migrated from an area that was called Persia. Who knows? Maybe, your are a distant relative of mine. :P
Nika 2 | 507
7 Mar 2010 #21
I've seen some Iranian women and some are really hot.

Iranian women are one of the most beautiful women I've seen! And they know how to take care about their looks - have a very good taste in clothes, make-up, are in fashion.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Mar 2010 #22
From the ones I have seen, I have to agree Nika. VERY feminine looking. Needless to say, many Polish women have classic builds and elegance but there's often sth small that puts me off them, usually their nose.
kondzior 9 | 951
7 Mar 2010 #23
I have thought that Persia no longer exists?
Isnt it called Iran now?
mephias 11 | 304
7 Mar 2010 #24
DariusTraveller

Hi Dariusz, I am a Turkish guy living in Warsaw, you are right this place generally gives negative impression than what Poland really is. I found the forum before moving here and I was about to change my mind about it after few readings here. but luckily I have so far been 3 different cities and never had any unpleasant experience (other than an old crazy neighbour but sorted it out with my flat owner).

I had Iranian friends in my previous travels, all were very nice people. Wish you success in your studies.

I've seen some Iranian women and some are really hot

Yes and some are not ;) Agree with you on this.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Mar 2010 #25
Step forward all you jokers ;) ;)

Iranians are Persians, you...ach, nevermind ;) ;) Just recently, Ahmedinejad insisted on that water stretch being called the Persian Gulf and for airlines to bear that visibly.
Matowy - | 295
7 Mar 2010 #26
I have thought that Persia no longer exists?
Isnt it called Iran now?

Yes, but the people are still referred to as "Persian". They get rather pissy about it, actually. The language can also be called "Persian".
Nika 2 | 507
7 Mar 2010 #27
Do they live in Poland?

No they live in Belgium. That's where I got to know my friend. I'm hoping she'll come to visit me here in Kraków soon.

BTW She loves Poland and Polish ppl (she's already been to PL before) :)

VERY feminine looking.

Definitely!
Iranian/Persian ppl in general are good looking, but their women are wow.

Matowy
you're right about the ppl and the language.
OP DariusTraveller 1 | 59
7 Mar 2010 #28
As I mentioned earlier, I thought most people on these forums had actual ties to Poland. Either as ex-pats or natives. As I said I wasn't trying to brag, I was just clarifying before anyone made any assumptions that I came from somewhere as an illegal refugee strapped under a truck.

I read in earlier posts by other users where they were claiming that Indian immigrants wipe their asses with their hands and that they take care of their toilet business in their gardens like animals even after they move to Europe.

Of course I now know that most of these comments were by other European nationals and not necessarily polish... Alot of users on here have polish sounding usernames therefore I was expecting them to be polish bigots and not someone else.
beelzebub - | 444
7 Mar 2010 #29
Now before anyone starts pointing fingers while screaming "filthy dog, go back to your country"

You have this forum down pat. Sad that you felt the need to preface it with that. Well written post.
Seanus 15 | 19,706
7 Mar 2010 #30
What behavioural differences do you see, Darius?


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