Posted: 9/2/2011


       Friday started out badly for me. My Nokia phone from Germany acted up and I spent 2 hours trying to get help. Finally the Nokia technical centre shop in downtown Warsaw. The guy was useless and should be shot! Couldn't boil an egg!  Oh, I guess they no longer shoot people for crimes against cell phone users in Poland, Well, perhaps only accidently!

     Any way, I popped into The Intercontinental Hotel to use the toilet and the 3 ply paper and use their free internet. Next door was a sign 'lunch only 15 zl,' about $5.00. It was a Turkish restaurant called TROY. I walk inside and Anita the waitress, who looks like Helen of Troy, welcomes me. A satisfying chicken style stew, a huge salad, french fries. I add a Kasztelan beer. I take a tram( I have purchased a 3 day transport pass) to Lazienki Park past Embassy Row and the well fortified US Embassy.

      Inside the park is a round pond surrounded by bushes of red roses and a huge marble statue of Chopin. It was blown up by the Russians but was re-created. I sit down on another marble bench and a Chopin melody plays. Next stop is the Botanical Gardens of Warsaw University. I pay 6 zl and wander around, surrounded by delightful fragrances. Not far away is the stadium of Legia Warsaw and their ultra modern Pepsi Arena, site of tonight's friendly between Poland and Mexico. City rivals Polonia Warsawa are near old town and I visited their stadium earlier in the day.

      Like Ukraine the two host nations don't need to qualify, so arrange friendlies against different styles of teams. The stadium is first class and is being used because the national stadium is not ready yet, and besides, in Europe "El Tri" is not a big attraction. Outside the main entrance is a memorial with flowers of Kaz Deyna, a former Polish World Cup star who finished his career playing for the San Diego Sockers and Ron Newman. He had died in a tragic car accident in California a few years ago.

      The stadium was about 4/5th full and everyone was brandishing a red and white POLSKA scarf and many hats and painted faces. There were about 2 dozen Mexican fans in full voice, and to make them feel at home, the stadium seats were in the Legia colours of red, white and green. Viva Mexico'. You can tell it was not too exciting when we had 6 Mexican Waves in the first 12 minutes!

       Not a great match but competitive. Pawla Brozek opened the scoring in the 27th minute but Javier Hernandez of Manchester United, Chicarito The little pea, scored from close range 8 minutes later. He was subbed at half-time and things got a little nasty when Obraniak was shown a straight red card for pushing a Mexican. About 20,000 showed up. On Tuesday the Poles host Germany in Gdansk  where the new golden arena, home of KS Legia Gdansk, is sold out with 40,000 fans including 1,000 Germans,and are hopeful of putting on a better show than the Austrians who lost 6-2 to Germany in Vienna tonight.

       I left early and asked a huge police seargeant where to catch a bus to CENTRUM, downtown. He personally stopped the traffic, walked me across the road to a stop and said 'catch bus 91'. I did, and it went the wrong way, away from the centre and across the river to the suburbs. A passenger helped me catch the number 90 which took me in the right direction and home for a good nights sleep, after I had devoured a kebab. The food at Pepsi Arena was lousy in quality, size and choice, and you got it, -you could buy a -Pepsi, but no beer. Thankfully, unlike Germany and Austria, smoking was not allowed in the seats.