Early this morning, I call Krakow, Poland to confirm a hotel reservation. Finding a good room had been difficult (I want downtown. I want squeaky clean. I want the Internet) and so I do not want to lose this one.
Do you speak English? – I ask. Normally, it is a complicated decision for me when I deal with service providers – whether to proceed in English or Polish (if I speak English with an accent, it's not one Poles can detect). But this one is obvious. English.
Yes. How may I help you?
I want to confirm a booking.
She asks me my name, I give it to her: Nina Camic
She repeats it back: Gnee-nah, right?
Only Poles pronounce it that way. In that brief exchange, I know I am talking to a Pole and she knows she is talking to a Pole.
Off I go, to catch my bus to catch my plane to catch my next plane to catch my train to Krakow.