Was sprawled out in a cabin to be awoken just across the Polish border by a portly gentleman in a track suit informing me in Polish I'm sitting in his seat. Although there aren't seat assignments, I move. Not about to try and make friends at 7 a.m.
We meet again moments later. "Meet" used liberally. I walk behind them to the dining car. Maybe he always walks like he's about to kick some ass...not sure. I watch from my perch near the door back to 2nd class. He chews in decisive circles. His cheeks flinch like a horse muscle at the crack of a whip. Hunched over the table as if he confidently expects it to escape and run away, but is yet totally convinced of his ability to keep it under him and his traveling partner. Multiple shots of Smirnoff appear on his table via the steady balanced tray of the waiter. They are little glasses with curvy lines, each like some sort of seductress that starts work at 7:30 a.m. on a train for poster customers like him. He talks loud...and a lot. His friend provides the occasional color to the commentary that is resembling the play by play of an entire soccer game because he hasn't stopped for at least 15 minutes. Outside the fields are broken up by right angles. Lined with slender trees, holding onto the strong remaining leaves. Standing water in grooves made by a tractor a week earlier flash reflections of the sky as we viciously slide by.
Berlin - Warsaw
Krakow - Oświęcim
We stand in a shade of what once was. A shadow is an understatement of structure and history, what we see is an accepted shade. Completely missing today, but with a name and history, the remnant of the Jewish quarter of Oświęcim is open for us to explore. I look at the Hebrew written on the inner sides of the synagogue and wonder how long it took for the crew to repair the walls. How does one pull the sunken characters from their latency. The tender touch and attention is probably equal to the still fragile state of rebuilding relations between the power and the powerless whose history we visit.