The Krakow Diaries

75 days in Krakow. On a literary grant from the German Kulturstiftung der Länder. In the Guesthouse of the 16th century Villa Decius, with 10 other writers from Poland, Germany, Belarussia, Ukraine and Georgia. Beautiful city. Nice Krakovians. Fun nightlife. Beautiful women. And in the guesthouse: Meetings of the minds. Too much vodka. Good friends. One of the great pleasures of my life.

Day #42: Saturday, Oct. 28: Cool Polish Lesbian Hang-Out

There were a number of great nights out in Cracow. Cracovians, so many of them students, know how to party. But the best night was the night of the Cool Lesbian Hang-Out.

There are a lot of misunderstandings about the great journalist and bestselling writer Erica Fischer (many of which I myself have helped to spread!), but of these, the greatest is this: She is not a lesbian.

Her big hit, "Aimee and Jaguar," was a lesbian love story about a Jew and a Nazi German woman during the Third Reich. As a Jew, Erica was most interested in the Jewish/Holocaust aspect of the story. But when the movie came out, young women all around Europe identified with the love story, and so when Erica today shows up at a reading or a movie screening to answer questions afterwards, she finds herself surrounded by young lesbians who want to get to know her. “Why can’t I attract MEN with my writing?” she says helplessly.

That is an irony, but more important, it is an opportunity for guys like me and Andi, who came to visit me about a week ago, who are hanging around in Crakow on a Saturday night with nothing to do. So when Erica was invited by a handful of adoring lesbian woman to go on a pub crawl, Andi and I tagged along.

And what a pub crawl it was. Our experience included insulting a non-lesbian Polish agent (I was just trying to make a joke), insulting a non-lesbian Polish writer (it was just a joke!) and trying to convince a non-lesbian writer-to-be to come meet the non-lesbian agent and non-lesbian writer (how could she reject my offer and instead she chose to stay at the bar talking to the drunk Scotsman? Was that some kind of a joke?).

Not to mention the voluble Polish guy we met in Kasimiersz and only managed to escape from after promising to buy him a single malt scotch if he found us in another bar during the course of the night. He found us.

One of the final bars we ended up in was the best: the Red Dog or the Red Dog Vomiting or something like that. Erica claims it was not a lesbian bar, but that doesn’t matter to me.

Maybe I should insert a caveat here. It appears that Erica is monitoring this blog, having heard silly, inflated rumors that I am spreading outright lies and slander about her person. Oh, these paranoid artists!

So let me state for the record that when I call the bars we attended “cool lesbian hang-outs,” they may not have been lesbian hang-outs in the sense of “actually” being lesbian hang-outs; and the women we were with may not have all been lesbians in the sense that they were “actually” lesbians, but that is just reality.

But don't forget one thing. I'm a guy.

The very thought of hanging around with someone who attracts lesbians drives me nuts and thus the entire evening was one solid blur of lesbians in bars. I can't help it. It's in the genes.

Still, for me, Cracow will always be the place of the Ultimate Cool Lesbian Hang-Out.

Day #41: Friday, Oct. 27: Into the Tatra

Day #40: Thursday, Oct. 26: Love and Tourism

Day #39: Wednesday, Oct. 25: The Cloister

Day #38: Tuesday, Oct. 24: St. Mary's

Day #37: Monday, Oct. 23: They Got Katja

I never would have recorded the horrible deed on camera if I hadn't heard her blood-curdling screams. They went on for hours. I know because I was watching my clock as I stood behind my door, listening. When it was over, I ventured out to get this photo with a camera, and saw that someone was still there - I only saw the legs. However, I am not just any writer. My reactions are honed by years of experience. I no longer have to think about it. No, I am not one of those men who stand around discussing options and weighing circumstances while the pool of blood gets larger and larger. Not me. I act. And so it was this night: Before the murderer could even get a glimpse of me, I ran back into my room, bolted the door, shut off all the lights and waited in the furthest corner of the room, ready to scream bloody hell should the murderer knock at my door. He didn't. He knew I wouldn't go as easily as Katja did.

The next morning when I woke, I went back out to the stairwell. She was gone

Day #36: Sunday, Oct. 22: Our Favorite Vodka Dealer