Expats Uncovered

Features 13 September 2014 ilabs 0

Expats Uncovered Expats Uncovered

The Insider’s secret bar spy is back, checking in with more tall tales of expat calamity…

Before I moved here properly my company used to stick me in the Forum Hotel – now the Novotel Centrum. In those years it had a bit of a reputation as a gathering ground for prostitutes. Really, the lobby bar was 80% hookers and 20% hotel guests. Anyway, I’m upstairs flicking through the room service menu and settle for a mixed grill. Ten minutes later there’s a knock on my door and it’s a woman in high heels and mini-skirt. I realized what had happened straight away: reception thought I’d asked for a lady of mixed race and sent up this Eurasian stunner…” 

A few years ago I was staying in the Poznań Sheraton. I’d armed myself with a burger in the bar downstairs and went up to my room to eat it. I’m a bit funny with my burgers and hate eating them with my hands so I rang up reception and asked them to send up a knife and fork. “Of course sir, what kind of girl would you like?” The guy thought I was asking for something else that begins with F. The thing that baffled me, mind, was why would he think I wanted a knife to go with what the dirty act he thought I wanted?”

I’ve given up learning Polish. I signed up for this language course in Mokotów and took a Saturday morning tram for my first lesson. What went wrong? I’ve no idea, but next thing I know the tram has reached its terminal and the driver walks off without checking if everyone has got off. Dammit, I’m left in this locked carriage with this lunatic of a woman who started having a meltdown – thirty minutes of hell. I’m never going back to Mokotów, let alone for a language lesson.” 

I live in Muranów, and we’ve got these communal garbage bins outside the flats that are set through a barred gate. Trouble is, the lock has been broken for weeks and word has got around the bin-raiding community. They come at all hours to sift through the rubbish collecting bottles and cans. I feel sorry for them, who wouldn’t? My neighbor, that’s who. He’s had enough of people waking him up at odd hours so he’s taken to running downstairs whenever he hears someone searching through the trash and padlocking them inside with his own lock to teach them a lesson. One day I was throwing my rubbish out and then realized I’d chucked my keys in by accident as well. Taking a deep breath I decided to be brave and search for them in the bin. After five minutes of frantic, smelly searching I find them but, to my horror, realize this idiot of a neighbor has mistaken me for a tramp and locked me in. Three hours I was there for. I’m going to get him back.”

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