Monday, February 07, 2011

Poland's undaunted tourists

Gunfire. Stone throwing. Charging camels. Throngs of angry protesters. Whatever. One group of Polish tourists flew to Egypt over the weekend even as the endgame of the ongoing unrest remains as clear as Baltic mud. According to Polish radio, they are heavily armed with the "been there-done that" attitude forged in Poland's own revolution just over 20 years ago.

"I'm not afraid to fly there. When riots broke out in communist Poland, in Gdansk and Warsaw, everyone at the tourist resort of Krynica Gorska were peacefully enjoying their holidays," one tourist told public radio. "I'm going to go scuba diving and play tennis."

The group of intrepid travellers flew from Warsaw to Hurghada on the Red Sea coast. Not completely immune to the dangers, they were said stocked with emergency food just in case. Considering Polish families love to travel with food from home, it is equally possible this was just a way to eat, drink and be merry properly.

"[…] We believe we will have a good time there. We're not bothered with what is going on in Cairo as we will be based in Hurghada, which is quite far from the Egyptian capital," another tourist told Polish radio.

Just to be sure, despite containing 'battle-hardedened' former dissidents of many stripes, the Polish government officially advises Polish tourists not to travel to Egypt. Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski even said it was "very dangerous." Considering one of Sikorski's past exploits is having fought in Afghanistan against the Soviets in the 1980s, he should know.

I would conclude by saying "cheers" to a group of tourists who in some way unknowingly symbolise one of the more positive potential future results of the ongoing Egyptian protests. That is, if Egyptians are like these Poles in 20 years, the revolution of sorts will have been very successful.

But the tourists' bravado likely stems from reasons far more mundane: the fact most Polish travel agencies are too cheap to refund them their money. So come hell or high water, or anything in between, these Polish tourists are going to have a damn vacation. Chevy Chase, eat your heart out!

1 comment:

  1. Refunding,…why? The tour operator should have asked for extra payment rather as the tour was upgraded to include extreme adventure.