Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Czy mowisz po angielsku?

"Chee MOO-veesh poh ang-yell-skoo?" Polish for "Do you speak English?"

The last time I went to Krakow, in 2007, I stayed, with a friend, in a hostel at the end of Florianska street, a matter of yards from the al fresco cafed Market Square, and the gothically-tipped St Mary's Basilica. From a high window of the church, the poignant notes of the Hejnal Mariacki would drift on the warm air, on the hour, every hour, into the inner courtyards and shuttered windows of the hostel and adjoining apartments.

It was in the hostel that we met a Polish chap, who, it transpired, was having an affair with the female receptionist. In fact, this chap had three girlfriends, one of whom was, in turn, having an affair with the receptionist. Now this fella was the first to acknowledge that "Me, no speak Engleesh," yet this excusable disadvantage was more than compensated for by the fact that, as he declared, "me [spinning a finger in front of his forehead]: IQ 156!"

Later on he would confide in us his trenchant judgement that, "Snoop-Dog,...nothing! But me [making a sniffing gesture, covering up one nostril]: crack." A frank admission, which he duly complemented by plucking his fingers from his lips in delight.

We called him Mike.

Anyway, after something of a hiatus, I'm due to return again this May to deliver a presentation at The Road to Reality with Roger Penrose - mathematics, physics and philosophy. Perhaps I'll catch up with Mike again.

1 comment:

Richard Wein said...

Hi Gordon. I don't speak any Polish, but I speak enough Russian to understand a few Polish words. I could guess what the title meant, but, having seen the link to St Mary's Basilica out of the corner of my eye, I had a suspicion it might mean "Do you speak Angelese?". (The Russian for angel is angyel.)

Just thought you might find that amusing.