Friday, 27 May 2011

Waiting for The Man

Ironic that when the Leader of the Free World visits Warsaw, the city's inhabitants have to face more restrictions on their movement than at any time since Martial Law. For a few days before Barack Obama's visit to Poland, anyone living in Warsaw could see that heavy stuff was coming down. No-go areas springing up, stepped-up police activity, military helicopters flying around.

Above: looking up Trasa Łazienkowska towards Aleje Ujazdowskie. The road further up has been closed - and Obama's not due to land for another 50 minutes. As it happens, he arrived at Okęcie 20 minutes early, so I did not manage to see his retinue sweeping past. Several minutes after this photo was taken, a veritable tidal wave of humanity started streaming down the Vistula Escarpment headed for the bridge and Praga beyond. Later, about an hour or so, buses were finally permitted to use this piece of road.

I appreciate that barely a month has gone by since the death of Osama Bin Laden, and Al Qaeda is in revenge mode, with Poland - perhaps - seen as a a country in which a terrorist attack could be mounted against the US President - but the reaction of most Varsovians faced with mammoth inconvenience is that the security operations were grossly over the top.

This time last year:
Poet's Corner

This time three years ago:
Twilight time in the garden

This time four years ago:
Late May reflections

3 comments:

student SGH said...

"grossly over the top" is still an euphemism. People swore like troopers and they were right. Who the hell he is to deserve to have half of Warsaw brought to a standstill on occasion of his visit?

In my office colleagues began going home around 1 p.m. At 4 p.m. the floor was almost empty, just before 5 p.m. I was the penultimate person to leave the whole open. Every pretext is good to shirk work and yesterday managers and subordinates somehow had the same take on going home earlier.

After work I headed for Młociny and on my way there was absolutely no inconvenience.

The real nuisance begins on Wednesday, when suburban tracks are closed.

scatts said...

He can come anytime he likes. My journeys were all quite a bit better than normal, despite being close to ground zero Obamaville.

Marcin said...

I appreciate that barely a month has gone by since the death of Osama Bin Laden, and Al Qaeda is in revenge mode, with Poland - perhaps - seen as a a country in which a terrorist attack could be mounted against the US President

I think, that it isn't a such. I'd argue, that all of that might be a special lesson of the US Sec. Serv. for Poles in a subcjet as how to protect the Head of State. Sayin' - "Look what you've made a fool of yourself in Smolensk. Look and learn." That's in a learning-by-doing (or training-on-job) mode.