Snow. Bleak housing. Blondes. Chainsmoking construction workers. Lots of anti-semitism. Being the 104th European country the Nazis thought they'd holiday in permanently, causing Britain and France to go to war with them. (Americans were preoccupied hiding in barnyards fearing a Martian invasion.)
Poland is the happy home of the above, except most Poles are now in Britain apparently leeching off our benefits system and drunkenly attacking the Queen's Swans, according to the Daily Mail.
Today, Poles are everywhere (particularly Poland). Why, even outside my delightful rented flat in classy London, my nearest bus stop features an advert for a money exchange in Polish. On the road to my left that heads into town, there's about four Polish cafes and delis, a Polish Social Centre, and a fucking huge queue of chainsmoking construction workers lined up like male prostitutes waiting for English construction workers to drive up to them and yell 'Oi, Ivan, wanna make a few quid sawing wood?'
The direct paternal line of my family, the Ebolavitches, emigrated to London from Warsaw around 1874. Apparently, they were firmly asked to leave their country of residence for centuries through the medium of being thrown through their windows.
It's hard to avoid the Polish now. My neighbours are Poles (shorts in December, surly nods, etc), my gym receptionist is a Pole (perpetual grimace, quite attractive, clearly dislikes me), two Self-defence classmates are Poles (One always insists on pairing up with me. He then proceeds to beat me senseless), half my customers at work are Poles, as is my really quite cute buxom hairdresser from Gdansk with the blonde hair and piercing ice blue eyes with the cold detached stare of a serial killer.
In fact, my hairdresser's a bit of an enigma. She went quite red and flustery when I first visited. Normally this is a sign of panic, but there were lots of shy smiles too. When I go back frequently, she's quite bashful but there's definite flirtage going on. I'd act on it if I didn't feel she may be after an English husband. (I like to give myself logical reasons as to why women find me attractive.)
I nearly burnt her a cd last week when she mentioned that she learns a lot of English from music (I thought it best not to include Snoop Doggy Dogg or NWA), but decided against it when I felt odd about the whole enterprise (Hello, no I don't want a haircut today, I'm just coming in to give you this cd apropros of nothing. Oh look, you've gone bright red and fidgety. Bye.)
Ania, my Polish chum, told me they sell a peculiar Polish vaseline for lubricating faces during the severest winters. Apparently it contains zero water as regular vaseline has a tendency to freeze your head shut. Despite this, I'd quite like to visit Poland. I've been a bit of a genealogist for several years and would be keen to track down what I can about my family - so that should be suitably depressing.
Pros: Hard workers. Attractive Blondes. Beetroot.
Cons: Massive Anti-Semitism. Death Camps. Beetroot.