Monday, 14 March 2011


Warsaw had a rather dubious start.

After a flight cancellation and an unexpected quick-change in Budapest, Cole and I arrived in Warsaw a bit on the fatigued side.

Then, as we lumbered towards the exit, we were approached by a kindly looking older gentleman who asked if we needed a taxi. Well, yes, we in fact. We weren’t positive that this was the way to go about it, but, not wanting to be rude, we settled for “Yes, we do…” and then Cole asked if we could use a credit card. No, we emphatically could not.

So our helpful driver directs us towards a cashpoint/ATM/distributeur/Bancomat – whatever we’re calling it here – and Cole withdraws more cash and we return to our driver, who immediately takes over Cole’s bags and hustles toward the exit.

At which point Cole asks “How much is the fare to central Warsaw?” (Note: Cole had already asked this question when she changed in her residual currency at the exchange, but we didn’t want to be surprised if she had misheard.) The answer, according to our would-be taxi driver: 120 PLN. According to the lady at the exchange: 40 PLN. Hmmm.

Now my sketch-o-meter isn’t just a faint buzz but full-on alarm bells. So I mutter to Cole that I don’t feel good about his. I think we need to find a proper taxi rank and give this guy the heave-ho, but he’s commandeered her luggage and is speeding back across the airport, so what to do. “Not a problem!” says Cole. It turns out her “WFC” attitude goes nicely with my sketch-o-meter. So with my unease growing, Cole abruptly wrests her luggage from the man and we head over to the official info booth to be told, again, that the fare should be about 40 PLN. Hmph. Well, there you are then.

Out to the taxi rank, safely (and reasonably priced) delivered to our hotel, where we were helped by lovely hotel clerks … and then I look up the exchange rate. 1PLN is $0.33 USD. So perhaps the huge discrepancy wasn’t so huge (in one way of thinking). And yet, whatever the exchange rate, it was clearly inflated to 3x the going rate.

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