Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Old school Łódź

This is how much of Łódź looked just a few years ago (above). With the exception of the city's main drag, ul. Piotrkowska, the rest of the place was an utter dump. As an American once told me, "This is what most of my fellow countrymen imagine all of Poland to be like - drab, post-industrial decay". While central Warsaw has one street like this (ul. Próżna), downtown Łódź still has block after block of crumbling tenements.

Below: More old-schoolery. This is a communist era "advert" (like, people had a choice) for Pewex, as it says above the logo, the "Enterprise for Internal Export". This was indeed an oxymoronic business that officially fleeced Poles of the hard currency they weren't supposed to have anyway. Pewex shops were always full of Marlboro, Johnny Walker, Levis, Metaxa, Heineken, Lego sets - "luxury goods" that were unavailable in ordinary shops. It's been many years since they went out of business, this mural is a faded reminder of a bright spot in an otherwise drab existence in People's Poland.

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