Pleased that we had done all that we could to procure the D visas — and somewhat assured that Friday would be the pickup day — we tried again to reach our host (H) for these two nights.
Dialing from our new sim card, H finally answered. This was after multiple text messages giving our new number, and also multiple emails before we ever left Kyiv trying to get details of this day.
We told him that we were walking the road to our confirmed flat but wondered whether we should get something to eat or drink before meeting him for the key or just to go directly there. He said to go directly there…and that he had sent the directions earlier. Well, yes, he had sent directions to the WRONG flat as far as we could tell. Back and forth we went on the phone. He eventually said that the flat where we had our confirmation was not available to us, but he was happy to have us stay in a different location. No longer walking distance from the embassy…really our only deciding factor in where to stay.
Well, what do you do now? Here we were in Warsaw, had already paid H for two nights, had just learned that we were now going to need to stay for four nights (if all went as planned), and our only option seemed to be a ‘bait and switch.’
The replacement flat was not prepared for us because of other miscommunications, so we were told that the cleaning person lived 40 minutes away and it would take at least 30 minutes to clean it. We agreed to at least get to the right part of town before figuring out our next step.
We asked for directions from where we were — not that we could begin to pronounce anything around us — and he suggested a cab. We saw no cabs anywhere along the route we had just walked, so he suggested we call a cab. WE call a cab. He had the number of a less expensive company. Or would we like for HIM to call? No brainer. Not only do we not speak Polish, but even if the dispatcher spoke English we didn’t know where we were nor exactly where we were going! H agreed to call and he told us where to wait for the cab, based on the description of where we were. Yikes. He gave a few landmarks…the Ministry of Justice, a park…and where we should stand.
We quickly surveyed the area, crossed the street towards a huge park, and realized that we were on an overpass with a large road underneath us. Also with bus stops. Oh, no. A quick call back and H said to be on the top road — whew — with our backs to the Ministry of Justice and the park in front of us. Okay, two LARGE buildings two blocks apart and we needed to get there before the cab. Jim asked a passerby where the building was — but he asked half in English and half in Russian! So funny. The woman looked confused and asked for the last word again. Jim realized he had been speaking two languages at that point and the woman also then knew which building we were in search of. Sure enough, in front of that building was the tandem bus stop that H had described. Back on the first side of the street. We hustled and arrived a minute or two before the cab.
We were dropped directly in front of our new home-to-be for two nights and looked directly in front of us: the Warsaw national futbol stadium! We could only imagine what a great location this would be if attending games was on one’s agenda…no games while we were in town.
We called H again. He said that he would be with us in five minutes, that we could take the bags to the flat even though it would not have been cleaned, and he would recommend some local spots for lunch.
Deal. And the waiting began. Five minutes does NOT mean the same thing in every country. We know that. But we also knew that we were tired and hungry…made the time go even slower.
So far we did not have a lot of confidence in our host. Would he ever get to us, give us a key, and let us come and go on OUR time schedule? Time would tell…