Excerpt from the fourth chapter, ‘Deep Poland’

“I visited Poland for the first time in 1991. My girlfriend and I bought a car from a friendly Nigerian guy in Amsterdam. She wanted to see the East. The wall had gone, now we could explore. She had just finished her philosophy studies and my first novel was out since a couple of days. I don’t know if we had the naïve idea to drive to Königsberg. But we did drive a long way, via Wismar and Stralsund where we saw the nearby East German past in a shop that had nothing else than a broom in the window and we saw the nearby future around the corner of that shop, a loud Coca-Cola stand, guy with microphone included. In Kolobrzeg I got depressed in a nightclub full of drunk Scandinavians, who came for cheap beer and cheap sex. I thought to encounter traces of Günter Grass’s books in Gdańsk, but didn’t. I saw Solidarność flags, but somehow they reminded me of the Coca-Cola stand in Stralsund. On we went, Elblag, to the border. It was a simple provincial road with a road block. Soldiers doing their duty sent us back. Was that the former Soviet Union we were looking at? Also at this point we saw the future: a man in a luxury car who wanted to do business at the other side.”
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