A peculiar polish new year

Eugene Chua 15 January 2015

The New Year is a time for new experiences; and it is safe to say my 2015 started off with quite a bang. 

A bunch of friends and I had decided to travel across Eastern Europe, and our first port of call was Warsaw. As we grew increasingly weary of sightseeing and, more importantly, walking, one friend made a resolution to try and make our New Year’s Eve night one that we would never forget…

Soon enough, we discovered a party aptly titled “Spontaneous New Year’s Eve Party” – just the way we liked it. We had hoped to grab a few beers and then attend the fireworks display afterwards; unfortunately we lost the entire party group the moment we stepped out. “No! We will not give up,” my friend insisted, as he hailed a cab and got us to the town square, where the fireworks, thankfully, went off just as we arrived. 

Right then, amidst a flurry of questionably launched, very dubiously sourced, street-sold fireworks, two girls approached us and offered us a juice carton. “Alcohol,” one went, “you want some?” 

Suspicious of their intentions, I rejected it, though after talking to them we realised that they were travellers as well, and they even invited us to their party! Win some, lose some, right?

Well, the loss came back swiftly after approximately two minutes, as we turned around and discovered that we had lost them in the crowd. 

Thankfully Lady Luck had pity for us: my intrepid friend saw a group of Polish people taking group photos, and he cried out to them “Happy New Year, I love Polish people!”, which probably amused them as much as it amused us. In any case, they offered us to join their New Year’s party. Third time’s the charm, eh?

The rest of the night is a complete blur; but I do remember drinking the best vodka I have ever had (the secret is to chill it to four degrees, who’d have thought?), watching my friend down half-glass after half-glass of straight vodka, and us learning the polish for ‘oh, and did I mention I had one of the best home-made cakes ever?’ 

In the end, my friend was left puking on the hotel toilet floor, we missed the train to our next destination, and I had an appalling headache for the rest of the day. Oh well, this was probably the most serendipitous and unexpected New Year’s Eve I’ve ever had abroad.

As they say, start as you mean to go on.