Displaced Yankee Productions | With Vodka And A Polish Phrase Book I am Ready For An Indecent Exposure

With less than an hour to go before leaving for the airport, I am busy trying to convince myself that the airport personal will not notice I need a chain hoist to lift my suitcase. Theresa has her own problems as her “one carry on and personal item” is actually five different bags. Granted, one is her lunch, which she plans on eating on the way to the airport – if she wasn’t already napping in the back seat of the car. She tells me anytime she is in a car over 45 minutes she falls asleep and that I can blame her parents for driving her around as a colicky baby. I am thinking ahead to the fact that we are spending the next few weeks DRIVING around Poland, Germany and Austria and anticipating my navigator dropping off like a narcoleptic every hour.

My still photographer Theresa and I are en route to Poland for the 2nd production trip for my new documentary “Forget Us Not”- a WWII holocaust piece about the 5 million non Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. After spending two weeks at the Dachau archives earlier this summer, I am now about to embark on a whirlwind tour of 3 countries; 13 cities; 7 concentration camps and 2 Interviews with holocaust survivors. No wonder Theresa is sleeping on the way to the airport.

Within short order we are boarding our Lufthansa flight to Poland via Frankfurt and I am excited by how spacious and comfy the business class seats look. Then I remember I am sitting in economy, which are NOT so spacious. Thank God for Yoga and the recent weight loss. With the plane loaded and ready to go, we back out of the gate and then proceed to lumber along the scenic back alleys of LAX for an hour to reach the runway. I feel like I am on a backlot studio tour. Theresa has brought a Polish phrase book and we are busy amusing ourselves with the “social” section which includes everything you need to know to hook up, have sex and breakup – all in Polish. Handy pet names are also included. We teach ourselves the following conversation:

“You look like someone I would like to know, my little worm”

(apparently little worm is a pet name for a man. Now I am not an expert on the whole dating a guy thing, but if I was a guy, I would NOT want to be called “little worm”)

“Can I take you home? Do you have a condom? Let’s go to bed. Touch me here. Don’t worry; I’ll do it myself. This isn’t working out. I never want to see you again.”

Confident we can now handle ourselves in Krakow we settle in for our 11-hour flight. Well, the guy in front of me settles in by leaning his seat all the way back. Which makes it impossible to put down the tray and use my computer or have any circulation in my legs. I’d complain to Theresa but she is asleep again.

When we finally stagger off the plane in Frankfurt (well, I stagger – Theresa is refreshed and hungry) we are ready to find somewhere comfortable to untangle our bodies. A perk to my life of travel is my executive status and we beeline for the business lounge. There are nice big comfy chairs. Unfortunately, there are only about 40 of them and 200 people fighting over them. Theresa and I stalk around the room waiting for our opportunity. It is a grown up version of musical chairs to the tune of the ‘Grumpy Traveler Blues’. One chair opens up and we both pile onto it. We take turns loading up on the impressive spread of free cheese, breads, sausage and beer (got to LOVE the Germans). Theresa heads off in search of a bathroom and I jealously guard our little corner of paradise from fellow marauding travelers. Then – a miracle. The woman in the seat next to me starts packing up her stuff. A group of Italian guys has spotted her movement and gathers speed to intercept. I grab the nearest carry on bag and shot put it into the chair as the woman vacates it. The Italian guys are totally grouchy but Theresa and I have just been crammed into two tiny seats for 11 hours and we are not keen to keep sharing this one chair during our 5-hour layover. I mean, we like each other – just not THAT much.

Theresa celebrates having her own chair by promptly falling asleep in it. This sight it becoming a recurring theme in my life…..

Krakow, Poland. We’ve finally arrived. I’ve been up for over 30 hours and have been taken for a ride by our Krakow taxi driver who takes a circular scenic route through the city to our hotel which was only 13 kilometers away yet somehow cost 100 złoty and took 30 minutes with no traffic. Theresa and I collapse onto our very tiny twin beds in our hotel room. I crack both my elbow and my kneecap trying to get in and out of the bathroom. The hotel architects must have worked for an airline.

We have a long day at Auschwitz and Birkenau tomorrow. Tonight we find the closest bar and order a round of Polish vodka. The guidebook says vodka must not be sipped but tossed back in one quick drink. (The results of doing too many of these is probably why they have a phrase book section on hooking up in the guidebook). The waitress brings our shots. We toast to the beginning of the trip and the beginning of another documentary journey and toss them back.

Another film, another story has begun.

Time for another round.

 
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