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The Dark Side Of Kraków - Negative Aspects

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My dear friends,

I was just doing a count of the posts and guess what? Today I reached the terrible and highly discussed number of 666 posts. I was thinking maybe I should tall about the meaning of life or about something deep that would burn in you like fire and make you realise that you need to be the best person you can be... then I realised I am not a brilliant writer and probably you know that life is worth living, even if it punches you in the guts from time to time... that is just how things go! Some people call it karma...
Not sure where I took this one from, but it is EXTREMELY fitting! If you know whom created this, let me know so I can mark them down - and KUDOS! to the artist :) Great job!
Still, I wanted to share with you something different today, and I realised that until now I have painted - mostly - quite a warm, fuzzy, sunny picture of Kraków and Poland in general... Mea culpa! Every city and even country has both its good, bad and ugly parts. Well... today is the day when justice will be made. Get a cup of tea and get back here to read what you can also expect from Kraków (Poland). But this time, The Dark Side!
Early Morning, November 2015 - Kraków - Poland 
1. The Kraków Smog - I have recently read that a top of the most polluted cities in Europe was made, and Kraków was on the 3rd place! (Right after 2 other cities in Bulgaria). The smog usually has 3 main causes, as far as I researched: a) the high usage of coal as a way of heating the houses (cheap but also very unhealthy); b) the valley like area of the city - without any wind, the fog / smog will stay put for days and become more and more dense!; c) add to that the fact that less than a hour away, by highway, you have Katowice - the most industrial city in Poland - and that when the wind blows there, everything migrates to Kraków... and you have one hell of a nightmare!
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That usually happens between  autumn and winter, when the rains stop, people begin heating their homes and the air becomes unbreathable... I believe November is the worst month... one day you just wake up and you just can't see the sun anymore... everything is just a milky foamy dark grey mass of unhealthiest toxins you can ever imagine... suddenly you can no longer see the block of flats next door and you have a feeling that the fog is so dense you could cit it with a knife...
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There is even a bilingual Web page that focuses on the bad effects of smog in Kraków and applications that show how unhealthy some regions of the city are - color coded: green = good air, yellow = medium, red = bad air (try to stay indoor and don't move much outside).  I would say to tourists not to come to Krakow in November... Even though the Wawel Castle is always free then ;) better to stay indoors! Better safe than sorry!
Main Square - Krakow - Poland
2) Pidgeons - "The flying rats" - I may get touchy in regards to this subject, as I dearly love birds and I like feeding them. I had both nice and frightening - Hitchcock like experiences - with pidgeons. Back home, in Union Square (Piata Unirii) there are always flocks of pidgeons and there are small children and parents alike feeding them... I even have a picture when I was a wee lass, with my sister, in the middle of the group of birds. If you move slow, they will come to you :)
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Here, in Kraków, pidgeons are of a whole different level. It's like they are no longer afraid of people. I blame that on the huge amount of tourists and locals feeding them... I have also never seen Pidgeons like here! They are fat and big and uncaring of what happens around them... Did you know that pidgeons are the ONLY animals (birds) that do not know when to stop when they are eating? They can and will continue to do so until their stomachs will burst!
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People here - to tell you the truth, mostly tourists - feed them... The city (council and society) have banned the feeding of pidgeons and they have installed spikes all other the castle / old buildings / houses and new flats. Let's face it, they may be nice but their poo is toxic and they carry out a lot of diseases. Did you know histoplasmosis is a respiratory disease that may be fatal and it is carried by those small lovely pidgeons?! Not to mention: cryptococcal meningitis, salmonella and listeria, viral encephalitis and E. Coli! Stop feeding them!
More about ethnic minorities in Poland
3) The Tolerance Level To Black / Muslim / Indian people - I must admit it is quite low... As I have mentioned numerous times before, Polish people are a proud and nationalistic nation. They are free spirited and kind yet very restrictive when it comes to welcoming foreigners. If you cut them, they will bleed history and red and white love. They are proud of their history and all along they have fought for their country to be free.
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It is not hard to understand then why they like to keep with themselves, but once you befriend a Polish person (usually) that person will be your friend for life. Now with all the issue in Ukraine there are a lot of Ukrainians that came to Poland - to work and find a better living. But what about the wave of immigrants that spreads across Europe?
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What about giving each immigrant each month money for not working... well let's just take the example of Wroclaw. Yesterday was 11th of November - settled as a independence day here in Poland. IBM has issued an announcement a week before the event, stating that - as usual - demonstrations and gatherings will be held to celebrate the day, but the foreigners should stay clear out of it as it may turn against them. From 41 cases of disturbance in regards to foreigners (in Wroclaw) in 2013, there were 10 extra in 2014 and the number keeps growing this year. But let us be clear, I still think Poland is a peaceful country, all that they wish is to live in peace!

Have you visited / lived in Kraków? I would love to hear if you have experienced any racial issues or if you have discovered any other parts of the #darksideofkrakow ;))) I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings and I would love to hear your stories connected to the 3 faults I listed here. Is this your top 3 as well? 

Yours truly,
The Twisted Red LadyBug That Chooses To See Krakow In Bright Colors (Most OF The Days...)