Wednesday, 30th of June, 2004
At the English discussion session on Tuesday, I met an elderly Jewish lady, Rosa, who was a Holocaust survivor. Over the last couple of days we've talked for several hours - her English is excellent, so we talked about many things and were able to be really good friends. While some Polish people think that Poland is no longer very anti-Semitic, this is probably a more recent evaluation, because Rosa has been suffering in Poland, even after the Nazi occupation. I learned a lot about Poland and the Holocaust from her - it was truly rewarding.
Picture - A building with a quarter of the volume chopped out of it in the lower half.
Picture - The beginning of another new, modern, tall building in Warsaw.
Tuesday, 29th of June, 2004
Not as many people here speak English as I had been led to believe before arriving here. A majority of those working in stores, etc. do not speak English. However, I'm finding out that a significant proportion of the population, of all ages, are able to speak and understand German. Most children start learning German before they even learn English. I've made it a point, however, not to initiate any German conversations with the people here, because everyone I've talked to say they hate speaking German - which is understandable.
Picture - Kendall has a stylin' headband made from the Day Camp name tags.
Picture - The kids in the Day Camp put the words of the memory verse in order.
Picture - One of Chopin's homes, located inside the Warsaw University.
The Warsaw University Library. It's very green to compensate for the dull, grey and white landscape that covers the city during the winter months.
Picture - Each of the panels on the side of the library represents one language.
Picture - SMART car...
Picture - SMART car, side view
Picture - This panel represents the language of music.
Picture - The next one over is the one for Chemistry.
Picture - There is a park on the roof of the library with lots of vegetation, grass, and walkways.
Picture - Slanted skylight windows allow natural light to enter the library, so students studying inside do not get too depressed.
Picture - One part of the library has the entire roof made of glass.
Picture - Water drains down the roof in the form of little pretty waterfalls.
Picture - A look inside one of the rooms in the library.
Picture - They built a walkway over the glass dome. Really cool. And even all the mechanical equipment is green.
Picture - A look from the top of that walkway, towards central Warsaw.
Picture - Another view of that walkway and the Warsaw skyline.
Picture - The University library, inside, contains big storage lockers where students put their big winter coats.
Picture - The inside of the library contains tons of vegetation too.
Picture - C. S. Lewis's books are being featured at the entrance of the campus bookstore.
Picture - There is a student union in the basement of the library, with a fancy bowling alley with maybe a total of 24 lanes. The nicest student union I've ever seen.
Picture - There is even a space and equipment for a nightclub to be set up, complete with lots of lighting and laser equipment.
Picture - This building has an inclined elevator shaft.
Picture - Another section of the original wall from the Little Ghetto.
Monday, 28th of June, 2004
Picture - The Day Camp hasn't even started, and we're already tired?
Picture - Making name tags for the children.
Picture - More of Kendall's tiredness.
Picture - Playing with the big soccer ball.
Picture - Kendall's latest obsession - I gave her a violin lesson last night.
Picture - Playing basketball - Polish vs. Americans. Americans won.
Picture - During the English Discussion sessions, Kendall communicates with some of the Poles by drawing if words cannot be communicated.
Picture - The Zinc-Air cells I bought from Instant-Power recharge my PDA like a charm.
Sunday, 27th of June, 2004
Picture - Kristen figured out how to make the balloons, before inflated, into hair decoration.
Picture - Trying out the big soccer ball outside the church.
Picture - More...
Picture - More...
Picture - Making balloon animals in the park.
Picture - Blowing bubbles in the park.
Picture - Playing with the big soccer ball in the park.
Picture - A classic Russian car.
Picture - The tomb of the unknown solider.
Picture - One of the few Protestant churches in Poland - St. Alexander's Church, with the Palace of Culture in the back to the right.
Picture - The President's residence
Picture - Beautiful detail on buildings like this in Warsaw are fairly common - this is the Europejski Hotel.
Picture - Pastor's fisherman balloon hat.
Picture - A very large chair.
Picture - Subaru Forester S Turbo
Picture - Kendall playing in the evening concert at church.
Picture - Kendall working on pavement art, but drawing with a brick.
Saturday, 26th of June, 2004
Inside the First Baptist Church of Warsaw:
Picture - We rehearsed for our concert this morning.
Picture - Right side of the stage
Picture - Pews, balcony...
Picture - Baptistry
Picture - The cross can be illuminated from behind with florescent lights.
Picture - Pews
Picture - Balcony and ceiling, which allow maximum light into the building even during the dark winter months.
Picture - Typical public bus in Warsaw.
Picture - Typical street signage at an intersection in Warsaw.
Picture - Public Library
While sight-seeing, we met an elderly Polish lady who saw our group and stopped to offer some of her thoughts. She feels that the Jews hold the Holocaust against the Polish people. She was a young girl who lived in Warsaw in the midst of the Nazi occupation, and saw all the dead bodies around the Jewish Ghettos. She was very defensive, and insisted that the Polish people are also victims of the Nazi tyranny, and she had relatives who helped Jews and they were all killed by the Nazis when they were found out.
In the end, she managed to ask us if we prayed to Mary, and when we told her no, she responded that we were "doing wrong, very wrong," and then left us. From talking to other people here, this attitude seems to be very popular in Poland.
Friday, 25th of June, 2004
Picture - I hop off the plane and onto the streets of Warsaw, and in the first 5 minutes of being there, spot a Ferrari.
Picture - First Baptist Church of Warsaw is located inside where the Nazis set up the Little Ghetto during World War II for the Jews. Here is one of the remains of the walls that they built.
Picture - The main square of Old Town Warsaw. Most of it was reconstructed after World War II, since it was almost totally destroyed. The building to the right is the palace.
Picture - A closer view of the palace.
Picture - A view down a streets of Old Town Warsaw.
Picture - Another side of the square in Old Town, including the castle wall.
Picture - A wedding in Old Town.
Picture - The castle wall, from what used to be the moat.
Picture - Detail of the base of the castle tower.
Picture - View down another street in Old Town.
Picture - The same street with me standing in it.
Picture - Another side of the castle walls.
Picture - Castle walls.
Picture - The main castle tower.
Picture - A little Fiat 126 convertible.
Picture - Josh blows up the big soccer ball that we're going to use for games.
Thursday, 24th of June, 2004
Picture - Learning to work with balloons in the Chicago O'Hare airport. I left today on a trip to Warsaw and Krakow, Poland, with my church, Parkway Baptist Church, to perform concerts, conduct a Day Camp for children in their community, and conduct English discussion groups for young people to learn English from a native speaker. The flight from St. Louis to Chicago was in an ME145, which is an interesting little jet that has only 3 seats across. You know you're in a small plane when they are reassigning people seats in order to balance the weight of the craft. The flight from Chicago to Warsaw was direct, and I managed to sleep for 5 hours straight. That's impressive, I don't know how often I do 5 hours straight in my own bed at home.
Monday, 21st of June, 2004
Went to see Meet Me in St. Louis at the Muny with Haley and Mairin. It was really cool, taking advantage of the Muny's outdoor stage. It's the first night of the Muny all summer, and they managed to make it through the whole show, even with the "surprise" at the end in spite of the drizzling that occurred during the second half of the show.
Friday, 18th of June, 2004
Picture - They are importing the SMART car to the United States. But before that happens, some people have resorted to driving some pretty funny "environmentally friendly" vehicles.
Wednesday, 16th of June, 2004
Picture - Everything in my room gets covered up while the air conditioning come in and cut up the ceiling to add a whole new unit to the upper floor.
Tuesday, 15th of June, 2004
Be careful when playing Joe in table tennis - my left arm was in the way of one of his shots and I have a nice wound there to show for it.
Sunday, 13th of June, 2004
Thursday, 10th of June, 2004
So I thought Waterway was awesome. Then I experienced Clayton Car Wash.
Ever since I acquired the Subaru, I've taken my car to Waterway for all my car washes. Joe enlightened me on the value of Waterway. For $8.99, they vacuum inside a little, send it through the washer, and then hand dry the car. When a car is hand dryed, it stays clean about twice as long as if it is blow dryed, like those drive-through automatic car washes. All the drive-through gas station washes that have the undercarriage washer that I've seen have been $6-$8. At Waterway, adding the undercarriage blaster is only $2.50. So for a total of $12.49, I get a car wash that keeps the car clean for twice as long, and I have the added bonus of having it vacuumed. Besides, I always wax the car after washing it, so it really has to be hand dried, or else I'm waxing in leftover dirt.
So that's all fine and dandy, but in the last 2 years, I've seen Waterway losing the skill of washing cars. Incidentally, I always go to the one in Creve Ceour. I can ignore the one little funny incident of the employee not knowing how to drive stick, but it does prove a point - when I went there were only 3 employees there. I've seen the quality of the hand drying go totally down hill. The last 3-4 times I've been there, I've had to point out entire body panels where they've just forgotten to dry it, or they'd "dry" the whole car with wet towels. Sigh. And they raised the price to $9.99 at the end of last year, while quality continued to decrease. Interestingly, the Waterway in Denver was still only $8.99.
What really set me off to find something else was the last time I was there in April, when they decided to charge me an extra $2 SUV charge. Huh? I have a station wagon. The lady at the counter says, "It has a hatchback, so we put the SUV charge on it. We've been doing this for a year now. PT Cruisers are also given the SUV charge." I try to explain that I've never been charged this before, and the eventually give it to me for the $9.99 price. But I realize the next time I go there, I'll probably be paying $14.49 for a car wash. Not happy. And, as usual, they did a crappy job of drying the car.
So I'm thinking, why in the world do I drive all the way out to Creve Ceour to Waterway, when there's the Clayton Car Wash, that looks pretty good, and is just down the street from where I live? So I go check it out. A basic car was was $12.49, I believe, but the "Value package" was $15.49, which included the undercarriage blaster, Rust Oleum coating, inside vacuuming, hand dry, and dashboard wiping. Sounds like a good deal to me, especially since it's right down the street.
So the car goes through the wash, and it is a much more advanced computerized car wash than the Waterway one. The jets on the wash actually direct water towards the car, instead of just randomly spraying in the general direction of where the car should be and when the car passes over it gets "rinsed". It also had rotating sponges on the side so the sides and rocker panels of the car gets thoroughly washed too. I always got down on my knees and hand washed the rocker panels of my car cause Waterway misses it.
The car comes out, and I notice something interesting. They cleaned my wheels! My wheels haven't been this clean since I bought them. And then, immediately, 8 people get up and dry the car. That's more than the number of people that have dried my car in the last 6 times I've been to Waterway combined. They grab fresh towels, wipe the car down, and even reach down and dry the rocker panels! And I look inside, and 2 people are already in there with a spray bottle, spraying down the dashboard and steering column, cleaning it.
So they finish, and the car is cleaner than I've ever seen it - I thought Waterway was a vast improvement over automated car washes - well, Clayton Car Wash is a vast improvement over Waterway! I get in, and realize something - the seat position has changed, and the passenger seat was shoved all the way forward. They had pushed the seats back and forth and vacuumed under the seats!! I looked in the back seat's leg area, and sure enough it was spotless. Wow.
Clayton Car Wash is another one of those excellent family-operated service operations that stands out.
Tuesday, 8th of June, 2004
Here's a reason not to buy a Ford Explorer. The NHSTA conducts rollover tests, and Ford responds with the following: (comments in parentheses)
"Ford spokeswoman Kristen Kinley said her company is confident that, even in the Explorer and Mountaineer models that tipped up on two wheels in the test, real-world drivers would be able to maintain control of the vehicle. (Right, I go two-wheelin all the time?)
Kinley said the test has the vehicle make hard turns in one, then the other direction in an effort to avoid a theoretical obstacle. She said most drivers would only turn in one direction in that case. (That's a great, wrong way to avoid an obstacle that will land you in a ditch, and then roll over.)
'Not many human beings would even be able to do this maneuver in an accident avoidance move,' she said." (I see drivers jerk the steering wheel one way, then the other, all the time! I hope a deer doesn't run out in front of Kinley any time soon.)