Excerpt from the fourth chapter, ‘Deep Poland’

“I was very excited, when I first arrived and walked out of Wschodnia many years ago. I liked the little stores in the hall and the transparent architecture of the station. The light inside and the look reminded of a kodachrome postcard from the 1950s. I even liked the empty road in front of the station, that seemed to follow a straight line that would lead directly to Moscow. It gave the impression that the future was on its way, and that it would arrive from the East. We know it didn’t. It came from the West. And this process went very fast. The station got refurnished, lost its character and got filled with bars and shops that belonged to a brand. With every new visit I saw how the Berlinisation seeped into the streets in the immediate surroundings of the new metro station near your flat in Praga. This change only affected the interior of some places. The facades still showed a history in motion. What once was solid and a sign of wealth changed character thanks to long years of neglect. The result was a different kind of beauty: the beauty of decay. If you walked down to the river, to the wastelands, you saw a new skyline behind the old town. A new Jerusalem had appeared on the same place where once the ghetto stood. The colourful signs of Samsung and T-Mobile replaced the starry nights.”
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