Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Survey is in Part 2

Yes, I have been sitting on my hands for some time. Some of you have been awaiting my final input from the survey, so here it is.

Ok, in the last post about the survey we had lots of numbers and statistics. This post will focus more on the verbal reponses that were given. It is about peoples opinions and thoughts. Of course, I cannot place everyone's individual responses as there are about 7 pages of them. But, what I am proposing, well not proposing but doing, is giving a general overview and some specific examples.

Question 23. What 5 words best describe Poland?
I was surprised I expected more comments around religion and war, but the most common things to appear were environmental Green, green spaces, parks, mountains, sea and lakes. Also other popular threads were Beautiful, Vodka and the ubiquitous females in all their forms Polish women/girls/ladies/beautiful people. Along with some great personality displays such as angry, intolerant, hospitable, envious, patriotic and multifarious. But I think the line I liked the most was:

"cold, suffering, moody, cozy, fun"

 I think that really sums it up for me, I think it is cold, the many feel they are suffering, the moody could relate to weather as well, everywhere actually feels cozy and it is full of fun. Then again maybe they were just talking about someone they knew......

Question 24 How do Poles differ from other nations?
I expected many people to say that they were hard working as a nation as it had been recently reported that in the OECD countries they worked the second most hours, but I just found a fabulous resource to show me this was wrong. They are actually nicely average and in recent years their working hours have decreased. I also thought that it would associate a lot with some extremes strongly religious, hard drinkers, strong fighters and beautiful women. 

It was interesting to note the amount of people that mentioned Polish people complain a lot seen in: " Of course please remember, Polish people love complaining, so...we complain about people...cities, food, other people, we also complain about complaining...this is soo national sport :)". Something I think many Australian's associate with the English (sorry mother country). Also very dominant throughout was that Poles are sad people, who don't smile often as in "We are a sad nation - when you walk the street or sit on the bus, people are sad. If you smile without a visible reason, everyone stares at you as if you were crazy. Abroad people smile in the streets."
Which could be interpreted as them being unfriendly which may not be true as many people said that Poles are hospitable. Many people also mentioned history and tradition being very important to Poles although some did feel this was a detriment to them and progression of the country.
A few notable quotes were:

"they read few books in the whole year but they say they read hundreds" 
"Poles are selfish but hard working" 
"The women try very hard to dress the best possible and love to show off their legs" 
"a little too reticent to admit we are nice people" 

 But one of the most interesting things to come out was how Poles feel well educated, able to speak multiple languages, and are interested in other cultures but sometimes too shy to be involved.

As I mentioned in the last post most respondees were born in Warsaw, and the most popular favourite cities were: San Francisco, Paris, Barcelona, Prague, Warsaw and Zakopane (in southern Poland).

The most popular hobbies were: Traveling, reading, and photography. But there were some interesting slightly different ones that popped up like:
"Air shows"  
                   "Ireland and all things Irish"
                                                           "Italian Horror films "
                                                                       "reading, knitting, thinking, collecting little, cute books"

The favourite foods were quite easily Sushi & anything Italian with a surprising preference for pasta over pizza. Traditional Polish was also very popular but some of the other interesting things were:
I am a meat lover, what makes me really happy is good Tbone or rib eye and good salsa, chimichuri or the one I do myself - Surprising as I've found it hard to get really great steak in Poland.
all dishes from
different kinds of cheese - I find this interesting as Poland has a large variety of soft or smoked cheeses but hard cheeses are very rare.
raspberry gulasz - Maybe a typo missing a comma, but it sounds very interesting.

Question 20. What are your thoughts on Warsaw?
My thoughts on Warsaw are probably quite well known as that is the main point of this blog. But, for those of you who can't be bothered to read the last 200 odd posts I'll give you a quick run down.

I feel Warsaw is not a city you fall in love with on first sight. It is a city that has a beautiful personality but probably not going to win any beauty contests. It is clean and full of parks and trees even if there are a lot of large apartment blocks. It has no real city centre, but has many places that are hubs of activity. It is full of history and not in the same way that London or Paris is. It is really more about 20th Century history. The people are surprisingly warm, even if at first they may appear reserved and shy even angry or sad. The woman are beautiful and dress to impress, the men are fun, resourceful and practical. The city has outgrown itself very rapidly and is going through a huge change at the moment.

So, what about the survey respondents. Many mentioned the greenery and parks, the changing landscape, there was also lots of mentions of the noise and traffic. Also, a very common thread was that people were unhappy with the people that were here from outside of the city did not really want to be part of the city itself.
"Massive crowd, anonymous people" 
"It's a one-of-a-kind city with great potential, not fully fulfilled yet. On a good day it reminds me of Berlin but sadly, it doesn't host so many cultural events"

"too much "snobizm". Too little people who love and respect this city and its special character (it's not important if somebody was born here, attitude is important )"

"Dirty and noisy, but I love it"

"still has a sort of schizophrenic (communism v capitalism) look to it."

"I think of a big city that is largely unloved. I used to dislike Warsaw, now I mostly feel sorry for it. Nobody spends enough time here to really think about little things that can make it better. And nobody notices how against all odds, it is changing and growing more beautiful every year."

Question 21. What are Warsaw's biggest: Negative, Positive, Beauty, Eyesore.
-For me the answers are: People who leave the city for every weekend, then complain that the city has nothing for them and doesn't feel like home; 
-The energy of the people, the untapped potential of everything here; 
-The women I love that they dress to impress, walking a dog or taking out the rubbish in heels and make-up is really great. Either that or all the bountiful greenery; 
-Probably that cars dominate the city, I wish there were more people only spaces, so I say traffic here.

Some great diversity here:
Negative - Bad town planning both infrastructure and building consistency, grey buildings, and sometimes the pace of life. But easily in around 50% of the respondents it was Traffic Jams.
Positive - Parks and greenery, variety of culture, cuisine, and the people. The biggest with around 40% is the variety and opportunity of work.
Eyesore - Dworzec Centralny (central station), traffic/roads/roadworks, dog poops, but the big winner here at around 60% was the socialist/communist grey buildings as apartments or otherwise.
Beauty - some mention the combination of old and new, but you could cover about 85% of responses with Old town, Łazienki, The Palace of Culture and The Vistula.

 So over all it seems Warsaw, Poland and Warsawians are all in a good shape. The country is growing now, improving in some areas and really full of beauty in ways that some may not expect. Do you agree with what the people have said?

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