I have just arrived in my apartment in the old centre of Gdansk. My hosts are an elderly couple who live in the apartment next door, and they run my flat as a holiday home. Very pleasant it is too.
I am not in festive spirit. That might be as a result of the dental anaesthetic currently paralysing my face, from my nose down to my chin.
It was an early start.
At 4am like the shrieking wail of the hordes of sinners, damned for all eternity to hell, my alarm went off.
I staggered to the shower, grabbed my bags, checked that I had my wallet, passport, boarding card, and insulin and got a taxi to the airport. The plan had been to take a bus. So murderous was my mood that I had no intention of standing by a bus stop at that unholy hour.
I slept during the flight, only occasionally opening my eye to check on the progress of the flight attendant. Tall, with thick, lustrous black hair and a pair of black rimmed glasses, he looked like a Polish Clark Kent.
I may have had feelings for him.
Upon arrival at Lech Walesa Airport, I got into a cab and was whisked to the industrial wastelands of County Gdansk. So this grim sprawl is not unique to Dublin.
The clinic was shiny and new.
Dr Adam checked out my mouth, and within minutes of arriving, I was lying prone on a dental chair, Dr Helena looming over me with a big needle.
Today’s fun and games involved stage one of a major root canal and two more minor fillings.
The root canal took two hours, after which I had a one hour lunch break.
With my numb mouth, I staggered to the pierogi bar next door and mumbled my order incoherently at the woman behind the counter. She looked at me with alarm in her eyes and called for assistance from the kitchen. A very swishy man materialised before me. He explained that pierogi is a Polish dumpling with various fillings.
He then asked me was I attending the dentist next door. My incoherent slur must have revealed my secret. He asked me where I was from. When I told him Ireland, his eyes lit up. He used to live for three years in Waterford.
‘You go GURL,’ I thought to myself.
I kept this to myself. The last time I was in Poland I was surprised by how underground gay life was there – even in Warsaw. Perhaps it has improved but I didn’t want to be outing the kindly pierogi man just in case he was still in the closet.
Although how could he not be out. He made Liberace look butch.
He told me that he would make a selection of different fillings for my dumplings.
A very delicious lunch was had, before I headed back to the surgery.
This time for a pair of regular fillings.
Doctor Alice was my afternoon surgeon. Highly professional she was too.
Finally I am in my lair in the old town. As I am feeling wretched, I may have a quiet night in.
Tomorrow’s dental appointment is not until 5pm. I can do the tourist stuff in the morning.
To the supermarket. I am going to cook a my first ever dinner while in Poland.