'Oh my monkey. You went to the gate,' was the consoling response of my girlfriend as I started telling her about my night out on the town. Why are you sounding so concerned, I thought. I had a really a good night. It turns out that metaphors for drinking can often be misleading.
Our Saturday night started with dinner at Zen, just off ul. Świętorkzyska, where my girlfriend and I dined on what seemed like the cheapest meals on the menu. (I stand by my belief that there is nothing wrong with that, I'm not shelling out 70zł for a meal when I can get a perfectly good one for 30zł.) After dining in the poshest restaurant I've visited since I arrived here (where there was a distinct scarcety of clientelle, all of which were at least 10 years older than us), we parted ways. I was to go drinking (to the gate apparently) with a newly made, English speaking friend.
'Have you ever drank in a place like this?' Asked my friend Rob. We were stood outside of a ministry of some sort, in the middle of the city. 'Well not quite, we used to drink in bus shelters back home. And that was a few years ago.' I responded. We picked up some super cheap, super strong lager from a shop and stood in the cold, drinking awaiting the arrival Rob's friends.
Within about fifteen minutes, the first of Rob's friends showed up. In a black Jaguar (an S or X-type, I can't tell from the front, as the label is on the back). 'It's his Dad's,' Rob said, reassuringly. I've been somewhat confused by the slightly alarming difference between the rich and poor of this country. Exiting the car, in shirts, jackets and skinny jeans, my apprehension of going to a Ghetto Blaster night at 55 (in my own jacket and jeans) was subsided. Hell, I might even fit in, I thought to myself.
About four or five cans later we were visited by some more friends, and then some more friends in a blue car, with a distinct label on the side of it: Policja.
'They can't do anything really. We're all 18,' was Rob's comforting advice. It turns out that public drinking and visits from the Old Bill tend to go hand in hand with each other. 'Plus Adrian knows these guys,' added Rob. I was still a bit nervous to hand over my British passport, half pissed and barely knowing the people I was drinking with. Ten minutes later the police were gone and we were on our way to 55.
Situated in the Palace of Culture in the centre of Warsaw, I wasn't surprised to find a massive queue streaming out of the club, as we arrived at about 23.00. Using our British charm, Rob and I strolled up to the door. 'Twenty, right?' I asked in English. Apparently that's enough to get you to the head of the line in Poland. In the right places, I'm sure.
55 was exactly as I expected that night. Folks of my age, younger and older, dressed in the attire you'd find in the pages of Vice or on an episode of Skins. Neon t-shirts, skinny jeans, plimsolls, the job lot. The music was just as fashionable. Jesus, this whole city is more fashionable than the culturally retarded town of Newquay that I hail from.
Being English (and having no cigarettes, as I left them in my coat) afforded me the chance to meet lots of new people. Cool kids smoke: fact. All of whom I cannot clearly remember, as by that point I was completely trolleyed. Either way, I know for sure that I was having a good time. Before I knew it, it was around 4am and my friends were looking to head home. Not wanting to be stood around like a lemon, I followed them to the door, safe in the knowledge that when I would wake the next morning I would be feeling infinitely worse.