The Squeaky Robot

A Meddling Robot in a Human's World

Archive for

Matysowka

Posted on August 31, 2012

As tiny children, my cousins and I would play jump rope in their empty schoolyard. It was always great fun, mostly because we played helicopter-style, the only style I could ever manage without skinning my knees on rough asphalt. Little did we know, the metal gate we walked by everyday as children would be destroyed by their friends one night far into the future. The gate would be smashed by a Skoda after their one friend consumed too many beers. Little did we jump-roping children could know, the driver would walk away fine, but the gate that I saw everyday would be severely dented. Confused neighbors and passers-by would see the gate and wonder: “When did this happen?” It would be a fleeting thought as…

Morskie Oko

Posted on August 22, 2012

Sometimes we revisit places we idealize from our childhood. Sometimes these places meet the grand expectations we develop after years of absence and reminiscing. But more often than not, we go back and things are inherently different. The place has changed and we have changed, and we can no longer view it in the same happy way.

With Zakopane and Morskie Oko, it was magic then and it’s magic now.

Soviet Secrets are Forever

Posted on August 20, 2012

May, 1991: Antoliy Dyatlov Kills Himself by Way of Rope. This isn’t true, of course. Dyatlov died in 1995 of heart failure. * * * There was a cartoon published in the New Yorker shortly after the incident. Two dogs are having a conversation. One dog says: “They attributed it to human error”, and the other replies: “But everything in the world is due to human error.” * * * “The one common thread through all of these accidents is the complete failure of the Soviet system to manage modern technology in a safe manner. This failure is due in large part to the secrecy that was endemic in Soviet society and to a lesser extent in twist Russian society before it. Society existed in compartments,…

The Pierogi Festival

Posted on August 15, 2012

The very best of my childhood is rejuvenated with a return to Krakow, this time with copious day drinking and a whole event dedicated to pierogi. I personally took on the responsibility of trying all the flavors as well as the beer, as well as almond-flavored vodka topped with milk. It’s a tough life, I know. It’s August and the weather is properly freezing, the people are just as cold. Dobrze być spowrotem w Polsce. In other news, I have a Tumblr now that hosts photos that can’t be found here or elsewhere. Consider it an auxiliary travel/photo blog, but much less effort than this one.

A Robot, A Film Camera, and Eastern Europe

Posted on August 14, 2012

A melody, maybe?

Bucharest

I arrived to Bucharest on its hottest recorded day ever. What can I say, I do that to places.

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Sighisoara

Dracula’s hometown manages to attract many visitors, but it’s not difficult to leave the beaten path.

This woman is a Holocaust survivor. She also happens to be as sweet as sugar.

Lokoshaza//En Route

I was bored, okay??

Budapest 

Currently in Krakow; rain is pouring. I am beyond excited to be back in Poland where much of my family is. Obligatory pierogi pig-outs are happening. Trying to stop them would be like trying to pull a large ship to shore with a piece of floss.

After Krakow, it’s off to Ukraine. A bit random, I know, but I have a very important bucket-list matter to tend to. Putting it off any longer would just be woefully irresponsible and we wouldn’t want that now, would we?

The Parts of the Line

Posted on August 7, 2012

I often speak ad nauseum about the journey vis-a-vis the destination – how the line connecting point A and point B is often more memorable, more educational, more action-packed, more tale-worthy than the points themselves. This particular line has four parts: Part One: The Place that Doesn’t Exist Eastern Hungary smells like smoke and sunflowers. I’m currently at a tiny train station in Lőkösháza, so I would know. Rather, I’m sitting on the concrete platform watching local men and women socialize. They appear to be railway employees but they’re not doing anything official, just the occasional joke and smoke. It’s dusk already. A light flickers on overhead; a line of lights soon follow suit, flickering on in a systematic fashion down the line. I have…

Fish in Ice

Posted on August 3, 2012

A tune, perhaps? She begins speaking to me. Excellent English with a slight German accent. A few sentences in, I ask if I could record her. “It was cloudy like this when I first met him,” she says. “Walls of rain will come down later, by the way.” She asks if I’d like to relocate to some kind of shelter. I tell her I don’t mind the rain, I prefer it actually. She continues: “I don’t know where the beginning of this story is. But would you like to hear it?” “Only if you want to tell it.” I hear thunder in the distance. A breeze picks up and swirls dead leaves in a tiny cyclone a few meters away. “He is Austrian, I…

Photo Essay: An Austrian Love

Posted on August 2, 2012

I feel glad to be alone here. I’m often at peace, but the calm is especially pronounced as I wind through the Bavarian Alps. The crystal clear water probably splashes clarity. Talking with some Argentinians in Amsterdam, they find out I’m traveling alone. Then they relinquish a group “awww” and look at me with sad brown eyes, saying preciosa and pobrecita. Poor me, indeed! Achieving my travel dreams whether or not someone will accompany me on them! And then this thing called cultural relativism kicks in: to them, it’s extremely unorthodox for a young blonde woman to go without steady companionship for extended periods of time, especially in foreign places.  But I say in Spanish with that unique Argentine flare as I point to…