19 listopada 2010


Sorry for the misleading title. You probably clicked 'wypadek' thinking this would be a post in Polish. I know my Polish writing is entertaining (if not grammatically correct) but this Friday afternoon I have no energy for it. My trip home from the centre this afternoon was considerably lengthened by a tram accident at Rondo Waszyngtona. . .

As you can see, there was a considerable pileup of trams. Interestingly, while in Poland I normally refer to this situation as a 'tram jam.' It's a little strange because if I was somewhere else in the world I would likely just say that the trams were 'backed up.' Even though 'tram jam' isn't quite proper, I know that it will be universally understood, whereas 'backed up' might require a little explaining.

I found that two trams had collided at Rondo Waszyngtona. It appears a #24 was turning from Aleja Zieleniecka onto Waszyngtona going toward the centre. Why a #24 was coming from Zieleniecka I do not know. From what I saw it looks like a #8 was heading along its normal route from Waszyngtona to Zieleniecka at the same time. It appears the #24 intended to turn right (centre bound) and for whatever reason proceeded straight into the path of the oncoming #8. The Gazeta website reports there were minor injuries to couple of passengers and that one tram driver had to be extracted from the tram by the fire department.

I stood and watched the officials disentangle the trams and restore order to the situation. There was basically no 'perimeter control' of any kind. Although it certainly would have taken an act of stupidity to walk or stand behind one of these trams as they were pulling them apart, there was nothing preventing this sort of disaster from happening. I don't understand why tram officials, firemen, or police didn't keep the public back a little further. This kind of orderless operation is a little baffling.

A couple of videos of the disentangling operation taken from my cell phone. Sorry for the quality. Blogger veterans can probably recommend an option where I could maintain a little more video quality.

It's a pity to see trams of this (older) generation damaged. I don't know if they attempt to repair this kind of damage or not, but I think the type of tram pictured above is the most comfortable tram (except for the new style PESA trams) in the city. I know people may cringe hearing me say that trams are comfortable! Of course they're crowded at peak hours, but I think they're pretty good. These older trams seem to have much more standing room than the new versions, and the windows open nice and wide for a breeze in the summertime or on wet days. I'm generally amazed at the condition of the old trams and buses in the city. I know that public transportation is a frequent subject of complaints, but I'm really amazed at how good the fleet of old vehicles looks. You Warsaw natives may think I'm crazy to say this, bus some of the night buses in particular are obviously very lovingly maintaine.

I promise to post more in Polish soon! See you at the blogmeet tomorrow.

08 listopada 2010

Kartofle Pantofle

This post is for one of my students. You know who you are. I seek to develop a larger catalogue of Polish rhymes. I don't notice rhymes in Polish very often but when I do, I feel very clever. 

Polish rhymes I've come up with on my own:
  • kartofle / pantofle (potatoes / slippers)
  • jutro / futro (tomorrow / fur)
  • rodzina / godzina (family / hour)
That's an embarrassingly short list. I don't think -ować verbs should be eligible - it makes the field too wide. In fact the more I think about it I think perhaps verbs in general are ineligible because the shared endings make it too easy to rhyme. I haven't tried to rhyme in cases before. Do Polish songwriters and poets have an easier time because they can apply the same case to nouns to rhyme them?

In the interest of vocabulary expansion, I implore you to submit your favourite Polish rhymes. I'll come up with some more in the meantime, and I promise to write more in Polish soon. I have a short composition brewing about my new umbrella. I know, it's very exciting!

Submit your favourite rhymes in the comments below! English translations optional. And enjoy the drizzle.

Edit: I got one more from a friend tonight (thanks K):
  • rym / dym (rhyme / smoke)
And during dinner, thought of another:
  • bóg / róg (god / horn or corner)
If anyone can think of a true 'double rhyme' (maybe there is a special term for this) in Polish and English (i.e. the Polish words and their English translations both rhyme) they will be declared champion of the rhyming contest. Obviously, a very serious contest!