Sunday, June 20, 2021

Visit Me (and the Museums) in Krakow!

"As of June 19th, 2021 United States nationals and legal residents are permitted to lawfully enter Poland." –Polish Tourism Organisation

I found out yesterday morning from the tour guide on a free walking tour of the Kazimierz (the Jewish quarter). Even though I didn't learn much new from the tour itself (I mean, I live in Kazimierz), but that little nugget of information was worth it! Plus, I learned that a main road near historically was river bed, and that the plaza I live near, Plac Wolnica, used to be 4x as big as it currently is. The free walking tours are great, and if you get a chance to visit I will highly recommend you take one or two of them.

Speaking of visiting, did I mention that you can? And you should! I was looking up flights for my parents (from El Paso, TX to Krakow), and round trip was less than $1300, and I'm guessing if you fly out from a more major US airport it will probably be even less. I know it's not cheap, but it's also not that bad for international travel. Plus, if you visit accommodations are free! My flat can comfortably accommodate at least five guests. Mom and Dad will be here a few weeks in July, but the more the merrier if you ask me. You just need to come before we fly out on 15 August. When you come, we can get some tasty treats and tasty views, like this:

Fancy ice cream on the square is my favorite part of living in Europe. 

If that doesn't convince you, maybe my river of the museums in town will. I've already written about some of my favorites, so I won't spend a lot of time on those, except to give an overall rating:

My first Krakow museum, HistoryLand, was a real treat! 8/10—it's great if you like Legos and overview history, but you definitely need to pay for the audio guide. 

The only reason to visit the Princess Czartoryski Museum is to see DaVinci's Lady with the Ermine—5/10.

Galicia Jewish Museum takes an interesting approach to history telling, but it's not really my style of museum—7/10.

I just wrote a raving review for Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum last week, and so my 10/10 rating shouldn't be a surprise.


Now for the new reviews. Shall we go from worst to best?

Time marked by the layers of earth in the Underground Museum. 

With only 4/10—the Rynek Underground Museum. The concept is good, because clearly there's going to be some good stuff buried beneath an 800-year-old city, but it felt so...fabricated. I didn't go with a guide, and I'm sure that would have made it better, but I'm not willing to go back a second time to test that theory.

There were some interesting pieces in the National Museum, but there was a too much religious art to sift through to find the more unique pieces. 

The National Museum in Krakow is huge and I only saw two of the exhibits, so take my opinion with a grain of salt. I give it a 6/10, mostly because I can't remember much of it. It had a big chain of religious art and artifacts, and there was a little bit of a history tour through the art extending from medieval times to the mid-1900s. It was both overwhelming in scope and underwhelming in presentation. I'm sure there is a lot worth seeing, but I'm not sure if it's worth it for me. 

"Kunst Macht Frei" translates to art makes you free; it's a play on the "Arbeit Macht Frei" gate leading into Auschwitz. 

I always think I like contemporary art museums, but maybe I don't? MOCAK (Museum of Contemporary Art Krakow) had a pretty interesting setup when I went—the temporary exhibit was WWII related, so it felt like a history and art museum in one. Some of the art was fun, and some was really good, but a lot of it felt like the artists were trying to create massive meaningful imagery but without enough noticeable skills to back it up. 6/10 from me. 

Views from the top of the City Hall Tower on a clear day. You can't walk out on the terrace but they have it set up so you can still see pretty well. 

I give 7/10 for the City Hall Tower. It's fun climbing the steep uneven stairs that open up to the top clock tower. From the top there are lovely views of Old Town and the surrounding city. If it's too much of a climb, there are side rooms off of the staircase that have some historical displays educating on the history of the tower and the clockwork. The real reason to go is the view and the information is an added bonus.

Looking at old photos through a magnifying lens in the Schindler's Factory Museum. 

Schindler's Factory is the best museum in town—9/10. The curators do a really nice job of presenting information in many different formats so as you move from room to room you are looking at the information through a new lens (sometimes, literally looking through lenses). The only reason this isn't a 10/10 is because it's more of a general WWII museum, and I would have liked to learn more about the specifics of Schindler's Factory.

Deep in the bowls of the Lost Wawel exhibit. In my opinion, this is a much more interesting way to see old Krakow than the Underground Museum provides. 

Wawel (the castle) also doubles as a museum, but there are so many exhibits that you buy tickets for separately that it's hard to think of it as a single cohesive space. I've seen the Dragon's Den (fun but not much to see—5/10),  Wawel Recovered (too architect-focused for me—4/10), and Lost Wawel (a super cool sneak-peak into the depths of the castle—8/10). Even if you don't seen any of the formal exhibits, it's very worth walking through the castle grounds, which is why my overall rating is a must see for anyone visiting Krakow. 

Blocks of salt that came from Wieliczka Salt Mine and are on display at MOCAK. 

But that's not all. There are still tons of museums I haven't been: Museum of Municipal Engineering, Pharmacy Museum, Manggha Center, the Old Synagog...and then many more. We saw the grounds of the Aviation Museum, and I half-jokingly really want to go to the Museum of Illusion, but the main spat that I will make an effort to see before we move is the Wieliczka Salt Mine. Visit me and maybe we can go together *wink wink! 























Sunday, June 13, 2021

Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum

Gosh, was it only this Monday that our car got picked up for shipping? It feels like months ago, but now that means we only have a few months to go. I'm not sad or disappointed, but I feel like the next two months are going to go by in a whirlwind. 

For our last day with the car, we went to Auschwitz. I wasn't particularly excited to go (I mean, it's not a place known for having a good time), but I felt obligated to. The former Nazi concentration camp surrounds a town that is about 1.5 hours west of Krakow. The town of Oswiecim is like any other Polish agricultural village, except for the massive busloads of tourists that regularly drive through. I suppose the area is historically known for large deposits of people who spent too long in sweaty crowded vehicles.

Ok, that was a bad joke...but some of us use comedy as a way of dealing with horror. It was not so horrible, though. Everything about the organization at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum was thoughtful, tasteful, and respectful. It started with a ten-minute video (voiced by Mark Hamill) with beautiful dual photos overlaying historical images on top of modern ones. Then we met our tour guide for three hours spit between Auschwitz I and Birkenau (Auschwitz II). 

Our guide was great! Of course he was incredibly knowledgeable about WWII history, but he was very good about pointing out the stories and humanity behind each photo and location. For example, in one black-and-white photo on the unloading dock, you see the groups of men and women grouped up separately, a few SS officers, and someone in the center of it all walking around in his socks and looking a little bewildered. Our guide called out the others in the crowed who were gawking and smirking, implying the transports weren't panicked or overly stressed about their destination. He then of course reminded us that most of them were in the last hour of their lives.

The stories were humanizing, but the piles of human hair were tragic. It was the only space we were not allowed to photograph, in respect of the human remains, but it was enough hair to fill my apartment. In other spaces we saw equally overwhelming piles of shoes, suitcases, kitchen appliances, eyeglasses, and prostheses. And of course, it's difficult to hear about the gas chambers without feeling disgusted, but our guide always had a diplomatic way of focusing our concerns. 

He had a habit of reminding us that yes, the Holocaust was 80 years ago but there are still tragedies that are happening in our modern world. People are still equally capable of buying into an ethics system that leads to genocide. Tribalism is real—just watch the newest season of Ru Paul's Drag Race

I am so glad I went to Auschwitz. Not only was it interesting and educational, but it was also inspirational. Some people might think of this place as a one-time visit, but I would happily go back again and again. There is so much more to see (the place is 40 km2) and so many more stories to tell. If you get a chance, I highly recommend visiting. 


The message "Arbeit Macht Frei" helped to subdue the prisoners, making them think that they were arriving at a long-term work camp. For some it was a work camp, but it wasn't long-term for anyone. 

The space was unexpectedly beautiful and peaceful, except for the rows of barbed wire fences everywhere. Our tour guide also noted that it would not have looked so green when it was occupied; the grounds would have been muddy and crowded.

A visual representation of how disabilities were viewed. 

This is only about a sixth of the total pile. Now imagine the same volume, but with human hair.

The ovens inside one of the crematoriums. 

Inside Birkenau (Auschwitz II). 

This is the photo I described, above, cleverly placed in the spot that the photo was taken from.

The destroyed remains of a gas chamber.

We got to be the first tour inside one of the newly renovated structures. Each of these infirmary beds used to sleep 4-7 people.


Saturday, June 5, 2021

Bieszczady and Beksiński

Last weekend we checked off the final spot on my Poland must-see list—the Bieszczady Mountains. They are not the biggest mountains, nor the largest Polish national park, but they have been recommended to us by multiple Polish natives. 

We drove four hours to get to Poland's little south eastern tail that boarders Slovakia and Ukraine. In fact, a stretch of our main 21km hike was along the Ukrainian boarder (which was much more secured than our previous hikes along the Slovakian boarder). The countryside these is different than our area, our the nearby Tatry Mountains. The Bieszczady Mountains are lower, and most of the park is tree-covered rolling hills with patchworks of dark and light green. 

We chose a route that hit three of the highest peaks in the park. As most of our Polish hikes go, it was pretty cloudy and windy for the first two peaks, but we had some views and an overall marvelous time. While there, we also saw a snake, bear tracks, and a hedgehog! Although it's hard to say what made the area so special, I loved being in the Bieszczady region.

On our way home, we stopped by the town of Sanok to visit the Zdzisław Beksiński gallery. I had never heard of Beksiński until moving to Poland, but, at least among all of my Polish friends, he is the best Polish artist ever. His paintings are very detailed but dark: apocalyptic landscapes, deadly bodies, and nightmarish figures. 

I didn't realize it, but the Beksiński gallery was part of a the larger Sanok museum, so in addition to the multiple rooms dedicated to Beksiński, we also got some other artists and city history. As with most local history/art museums, a good chunk of it was religious, but it was still a nice museum. Afterward we tried a local specialty—proziaki, a soda bread that was filled with various sandwich fixings. All-in-all, it was a super enjoyable way to spend our second-to-last weekend with our car (our moving company is picking up all of our stuff on Monday). If it's the last Polish trip we take, it will be a good last trip. 


Our hike started off sunny, but as soon as we got into the woods we were under cloud cover. 

Like most of our Polish hikes, we hit some cloud cover and many crosses.

Once we were outside of the cloud cover, we had some great views!

On the boarder (granica). In the background you can see the yellow and red striped pole next to he yellow and blue bole, marking the Polish-Ukranian boarder. 

We didn't come across any mountain huts with restaurants and accommodations, like are popular in that Tatry Mountains, but there still were some little spots to keep out of the rain.

Hedgehog!

The Sanok museum started us off with some WWII history...

...and of course there was religious art. I particularly enjoyed the depictions of hell. 

This is the favorite of a few people I know. It seems especially apt after a year of quarantining. 

This one might be my favorite. I didn't notice the facial features until I stepped back. Although this doesn't show it especially well, in many of Beksiński's paintings I felt like I was looking at the bright colors that are found inside of a human body.

Downtown Sanok. It was very cute, and very Polish: colorful buldings, a church, and umbrella-covered restaurant tables.

The soda bread sandwich, which is a specialty of the Subcarpathian region of Poland. 


Sunday, May 30, 2021

Social Nudity

Ooh explicit! 

Except, not really in most European countries. If you visit a European beach, spa, or bath house it's almost guaranteed to be bathing suit optional, if not full nudity. I assumed Poland was no different. Last summer, we aw a few naked kids at the lake, and I know of at least one nudist beach at the favorite local lake. 

I started to realize Poland was a little more conservative after our visit to Germany last year. Comparatively, the German beaches sported more kids with their bottoms out and more women with their bikini straps untied. Poland's relative prudishness was reconfirmed when I went to a pool with a Polish friend. I asked if I should get naked in the common space, or if I should try and find a more secluded changing area. Her non-committal shrug led me to getting undressed in the main changing room, but I realized thereafter that she chose to fine a more private spot.

That brings me to this weekend. Cameron and I took a lovely little trip to the Bieszczady Mountains in southeastern Poland. The hilly region is sprinkled with small towns and hiking trails. The national park was our main attraction, and we found a "resort and spa" that was only 25 minutes away from my decided-upon trailhead. We splurged a little for the "romance package" so that we could have roses and a jacuzzi tub in our room. It was silly, but fun!

As mentioned, there was a spa available to us. The hotel check-in process was all in Polish, and so although we understood that we needed to wear our robes to the spa, we didn't pick up any further details. Before heading down, Cameron used Google Translate on the literature in the room while I pursued the spa website. Nothing. We decided to wear our swimsuits and hope things would clear up once we saw the scene.

The spa door had a sign on it, but none of the infographics helped to clear up the mystery of whether or not to wear swimsuits. We huddled in the changing room trying to translate the sign (once again, thanks Google Translate). Ah ha! There was a line that translated to "wear swimsuits in the spa." That seemed clear enough, until we realized that it was under the "most common spa mistakes" section. 

After minutes of whispered debate, I caught the attention of one of the employees and tried to ask if we should wear swimsuits in the spa. Of course I couldn't remember the Polish word for swimsuit, so the question was mostly me saying "without?" while pointing to my bikini top. Her response was equally unclear. She didn't say anything, just lightly shook her head once and did a single slashing motion with one hand. I took that to mean "no, do not wear your swimsuit" but it could have also been interpreted as "no, your interpretation is wrong; you should wear a swimsuit." Well, we took our swimsuits off, put our robes on, grabbed the towels and sheets that were provided, and finally went in. 

Inside it was dark. The space was segregated so there were very few sight lines from one attraction to the next. There were two steam rooms, two foot baths, a jacuzzi tub, two Finish saunas, a cold water bath, and the showers. We washed off, then did a quick walk around. There were two other people in the jacuzzi tub, and despite the bubbles we could see they were wearing swim suits. 

What to do? It was Cameron's first nude spa experience, and I was really hoping I wasn't putting him in a situation that would lead to lifelong trauma. We scurried off (in our robes) and huddled by the foot baths. From there, we could clearly see some infographics on the Finish spas that clearly showed a bikini with a slash through it—"no swimsuits!" We were in the right, but still insecure. 

We did eventually get a shot at the jacuzzi, and we also tried out the steam sauna and the cold water bath before heading back to the room. Cameron said it was "fine" but he also asked that we didn't linger. 

I know this story has gotten too long, but let me say I went back the next night (by myself). In the intervening hours we did some more research to continue to bolster our belief that we were right to enter the spa naked. So on night number two I went back, without a suit. It was me and one other woman. I was naked, she was not, but she still asked to join me in the jacuzzi. Then, her partner came out of the Finish spa, also covered. Thankfully he did not join the jacuzzi party until after I left for the foot bath. During that time, another couple came out of the Finish spa, also in bathing suits. I kept keeping to myself and moved to the cold water bath. In the time it took me to dunk my head under and pop up again, a family with a 12-year-old boy. 

Yes, of eight people, one of whom was a child, I was the only naked one. Needless to say, I quickly showered off and left the spa. Turns out, Polish people don't like being naked in semi-public places, even when it is (probably) the rules. 


Dear Polish friends– can anyone confirm if these says "no bathing suits" anywhere?

Trying to do some translating before we go inside.

It's inappropriate to take photos inside the spa, you can find pictures here. As a consolation, here's a picture of the crazy jacuzzi tub that was in our room. Notice the tub lighting and the starlight sky light.

There was also a little fireplace between the bathroom and bedroom. It was quite nice. If anyone is interested in visiting in the next six months, let me know and I can give you a coupon. 

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Treats and Dreams

What a treat, what a dream—we can now be outside without masks! Going on my first run without a piece of cloth hindering my breathing was like being suddenly graced with super powers (meaning I was able to go almost 1.5 miles before I had to take my first walking break). We also can eat at outdoor restaurants, which I did with some friends for the first time last night. I was giddy with the invitation to a not-so-secret secret garden to enjoy cocktails and a meal in a semi-covered courtyard.

Suddenly the city is lively again! People circle up on the grassy hillsides along the river whenever the forecast allows it, and many of my friends went out for a big event venue's grand opening tonight. I'm equally caught up in the novelty of it all, somewhat to my surprise, but a concert hall space filled with strangers is still a titch outside of my comfort zone. Plus, tonight is the Eurovision Grand Final!

I had never heard of Eurovision until the Netflix original Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga. I find Will Farrell a little eye-rolley, and the movie was way over the top, but I found myself enjoying it more and more as the two hours waned to a close. That of course led to a rabbit hole of learning about the real Eurovision and various covers of "Jaja Ding Dong," including one by the real 2020 Icelandic Eurovision contestant.

So, story short, I am in love with Daði Freyr, his wife Árný Fjóla, and the full Gagnamagnið band, as demonstrated here. Consider it the spiritual sister video to "Down with the Gown." And, now I'm mildly obsessed with Eurovision.

The two semifinal nights were Tuesday and Thursday this week, and we were able to watch commercial-free live broadcasts on Youtube. I kept a little notebook next to me as we watched to mark down my favorites (Iceland, of course, Russia, and Latvia) and songs that I would enjoy listening to in real life, even though I don't want them to win the contest. I even paid almost 16 złoty to participate, multiple times, in the voting. Sorry Poland, I did not vote for you; you were one of my least favorites of the 32 acts.

Tonight's broadcast starts at 21:00, and in addition to the 20 acts that made it through their respective semifinals, we will see six first-time acts (the band from the host country, the Netherlands, plus the "big five" countries' representatives). Basically, there is a good chance that this will be one of four times I stay up until midnight this year. 

I know that I am unreasonably into this contest, but I am the perfect target. I never watched any American song competitions, like "American Idol" or "the Voice," but I love competition shows. I also love over-the-top silliness and sincerity, and Eurovision has both! I assumed that this was going to be the talk of the town, but it seems to be flying under the radar. No one I've talked to has any plans to watch, and very few were even aware that it was going on. Well, maybe watching this won't help me blend in with casual Polish conversations, but it is helping me live my (revised) Polish dream—what a dream, what a treat!

Yes, I voted for my homeboy, Daði, and I probably will again tonight. 

Some treats from my evening out. We didn't want the evening to end so we tacked on another round of drinks plus a dessert run. 


Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Oldest Airfield

Cameron is doing another one of his crazy running schedules, which means I'm back to sheepdogging. At this point, Cameron has run practically every trail and road in Krakow, which is why it was such a treat to come across a new area for both of us. 

We had never realized it before, but just beyond Park Lotników Polskich (Polish Airmen Park) there is the Polish Aviation Museum. A little further beyond that there are numerous walking trails marked on the map which seem to all head towards a strange rectangular space labeled Lotnisko Rakowice Czyżyny. That became our destination.

I should have connected the dots, because I know lot has to do with flying and airplanes (samalot is an airplane and lotnisko is airport); it was a big (now out-of-use) airplane landing strip. At 450 meters long, this former runway of one of the oldest airports in Poland is still in pretty good condition. Yes, there are cracks in the cement but it would still work pretty well for an emergency landing despite its age. In fact, the Rakowice-Czyżne airfield is one of the oldest in in the world. According to Parki.org, "aviation was only 9 years old when the first airplanes landed [at Rakowice-Czyżne] in 1912."

Big sections of the former military airfield have been reallocated for urbanization purposes (mostly building up Nowa Huta), but what remains has become Lotniczy Park Kulturowy (the Aviation Culture Park). From the main runway, there is a taxiway that connects to a huge field of old airplanes. These are all part of the museum, and are fenced off, but from the park we could see various versions of military planes as well as commercial ones. On the tail of one of the bigger passenger planes, we could see that the symbol for LOT Airlines was virtually the same then as is now: a long-winged crane encased in a circle. 

The Museum itself looks pretty big, and I imagine it is quite the playground for the air-enthused. In addition to the large main building and the huge airplane field, there also were a number of plane hangers on-site. I'm not sure if they are doing it now, but I read that you can walk inside some of the old planes, include Pope John Paul II's helicopter. However, I can tell that this museum is not for me purely based on the informative plaques at the front of the building...I really have very little interest in mechanical history of any sort, and especially not if it is war-focused.

Even if the Polish Aviation Museum is not on my Krakow bucket list, I did fully enjoy the park. Other than the aircraft paraphernalia, the park is just plain old pleasant in its own right: great pathways, lots of vegetation, and some concrete ruins (which probably are airplane related). Currently, the park is 30 hectares with plans for the city to accumulate more land for a total of 41 hectares. Future plans for the park are to include theme gardens (not sure what that entails), more historic models, and more playground space. 

A few antique airplanes outside the museum, each with an informational plaque.


Military helicopters that we could see through the fence surrounding the Museum's grounds. 

An old LOT airplane. On the tail you can see the still-standing symbol, and on the side of the plane (in white, so it's hard to read) it says "POLISH AIRLINES."

Cameron getting ready for takeoff. This is only the taxiway, not the proper runway. 

The paint on the runway is still in pretty good condition, which makes me think it has been redone at some point since this was turned into a park (in 1992).

Some of the concrete ruins within the park boundaries. These are the remains from a hangar dating back to 1926. 

I'm not sure what this pyramid symbolizes, but its fun to see the modern "art" sprinkled in with the historical pieces. 


Sunday, May 9, 2021

A Few Firsts

I went into this week excited for my first haircut in Poland, and then the week got even better when I was able to sign up for my first vaccination shot and was able to schedule it for three days later. Cameron and I also made reservations for an anniversary trip at the end of the month that I am really looking forward towards so things just are looking better and better.

To start with the boring stuff, my haircut was great! I felt bad admitting that it had been two years since I'd been in for a trim, especially after they recommended that I come in more often that that. Whoops...can I blame Covid? 

Once I arrived I was a little put-off. Some of the stylists were having a smoke out front, and I was told my hairdresser was running late and hadn't arrived yet, and when she did show up her mask was see-through mesh which had a 0% chance of holding back any Covid. She and the front desk attendant walked me over to my chair, and I learned that my stylist didn't speak great English so we had a middle-man translator...huh. 

All doubts were relieved during the hair washing. Oh my gosh I never realized how much I enjoy head massages! My stylist recommended using a tool that I had never heard of but she explained that it "cuts your hair like flowers," meaning that it cuts at an angle rather than straight across. Despite the extra cost I agreed, and I loved it. I was able to watch the shop cat and dog wander around while the stylist worked away behind me. She finished it off with the best barrel-comb curls I have ever had. I might be hitting the stage of my life where I am willing to spend more than $25 at a Supercuts for every haircut. 

Now onto what you probably are more interested in—Covid shots! Every day for the last two weeks a new batch of younger and younger Polish nationals and residents could register for their vaccines. Cameron and I were eligible on Tuesday. On the government website you could choose a city, hospital, vaccine, and date range, but we quickly discovered that if you wanted anything other than AstraZeneca you either had to go out of town or wait until next month. I decided despite the blood clotting concerns I wanted that first shot quick!

As I write this on Sunday morning, Cameron is at his appointment, but I had mine Friday at 8:10am. I got lucky with a close vaccination point, so I enjoyed a 30 minute morning walk and was thankful for very clear signage pointing everyone to the proper hospital entrance. There was a small line waiting out front, but someone came out of the door at around 8:05 and shouted out "ósma dziesięć" (eight ten) and I raised my hand and was guided inside.

The woman at the check-in counter confirmed my appointment time and handed me a three page information pamphlet then pointed me down the hall to a full-uniformed soldier. He directed me to a table-filled room where everyone was sitting and filling out there forms. Another solider took my papers and translated everything to English for me, then told me where to go into another side room. I assumed that was my vaccination room but ti was just a young doctor verifying that I didn't have any previous medical allergies. 

Another string of soldiers led me to the vaccination room, and then the "observation salon." The jab was quick and painless, and within five minutes of being in the waiting room I got a text message notifying me of my next appointment—30 July at 8:15. The whole process was really organized and smooth, and although I'm bummed I have to wait 12 weeks until the next shot I'm super stoked to be on my way!

Now for the after effects. I started feeling a sore arm within five minutes, and as I started my walk home a few of my fingers felt like they were falling asleep. Of course, as a hypochondriac, my first thought was that I have blood clots! But I know that those side effects take a week to set in, which I guess is a relief? 

I did arm exercises all day and everything seemed fine. I had dinner plans with two friends and was excited to flex my new partially-vaccinated status. Then, around 19:00 I started to feel a little off; it's very rare for me to decline the last slice of pizza unless I'm stuffed, and I was not stuffed. From 19:00-21:00 I started feeling worse and worse: a headache, an achy soreness all over, and very cold. I was so relieved to get home and go to bed, but I felt so terrible I couldn't sleep. My skin was so sensitive and despite being freezing cold I couldn't stop sweating. To top it all off, I woke up at 5am.

After a bath, a few hours of morning dozing, and an aspirin I started to feel a bit better. The good vibes lasted most of the afternoon, but I started to feel a little off again in the early evening, although that's probably mostly due to lack of sleep and the aspirin wearing off. Two days in, my arm is still sore but I think I'm all back to normal now. 

LEGO vaccine photos in the hair salon waiting area. 

Signs pointing to the vaccination point. 

My vaccine took place at one of the local hospitals (shown). Cameron's was at a converted gym.

I didn't get any photos of the soldiers managing my vaccination spot, but Cameron's spot had police officers managing all of the internal coordination. 

The observation room. Right side was the hospital, left side was Cameron's gym. 

Exiting the hospital was kind of like walking through a daytime haunted house: dark hallways, caution tape over the doors, and dark curtains to create otherwise non-existent hallways.