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Warsaw: Day Three

Back at the conference Vancouver people are everywhere. At one session I was trying to find out if there had been any measurable gain from having DaVinci’s Inquest on the air. It really is a platform for harm reduction ideas with DaVinci’s championing of safe injection sites, red light areas and its matter of fact treatment of everyday drug use. And it doesn’t hurt that it is based on the real life exploits of Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell who is one of the perennial stars here.

This conference has participants from many countries but the big participants appear to be Canadian, British, American and Australian. Often it was someone from one of these nations working in another country like the Australian working in Mauritania. The British were often the user groups (politicized addicts or sex workers), the Canadians and Australians grunt workers in the field and the Americans often seemed to be either radical elder statesmen of the movement or rosy eyed youngsters. The Canadian presence was strong enough that at one session the sixth person to stand up to comment on a talk differentiated themselves by saying they weren’t from Canada.

After this and that, and the food, the cookies and coffee, it was time for supper. My colleague (vegan) had heard of a world class vegetarian restaurant in Warsaw, got the actual name and address from the concierge and with C, and two San Franciso people we were working on a project with (see here for a great company doing some good in the world). We made plans to meet at the Bristol for a beer and then engaged another insane cab driver who dropped us off at a dark place with a small light which purportedly was the great vegetarian restaurant. We were ushered into an empty backroom (REM on the speakers) and the menus appeared to be the usual fare. We realized this was another place altogether so we made the best of it. It wasn’t bad. The music was an improvement over the Nelly Furtado in the cab, the country music on the plane and the generally really bad music all over. My colleague decided on the way back that we should switch to the Bristol and as he was paying the bill I thought why not. It was a much better hotel but even more importantly it was walking distance to all the old town.

A short note on the television in Warsaw. Apart from the incomprehensible two guys on a stage doing something vaguely resembling a comedy routine what stood out was how foreign shows were presented. CSI was on and over the faint English you heard the soft low voice of a Polish man either carefully explaining what everyone is saying or translating what is being said by each person. One voice for all; without variations in tone. It felt like the voice wasn’t part of the show but watching it and explaining it as in “and now those people are doing this…”.

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