The worldwide Augustana College experience

Guiness Records and Mountains

On Wednesday last week, my English friends (from England) and I had the opportunity to see a man from Zimbabwe attempt to start to break a world record for Guiness. This isn’t any ordinary record (none of them are anyways). In fact, its a bit unbelievable. The record is for the longest lecture. Sounds pretty easy. But definetly not. Starting on wednesday, he will attempt to speak for 130 hours straight on the topic of……Education in Africa. He has only 5 minutes of rest every 4 hours and when he’s done with his presentation, he starts over, until he reaches 130 hours.

I actually had the chance to meet this man earlier in the year. My friend from the Czech Republic lived next door to him so we talked once or twice. He’s a very intelligent man (24 or 26 years old, i think), and it’s definitely obvious even in a normal conversation. He speaks in a slow, proper English voice that would delight the ears of anyone. At first, it doesn’t sound like he would be a very good speech giver, but he is actually very intriguing. He spoke in a small room near the center of Krakow usually in front of a group of 20 people (whoever happened to walk in that day). The marority of the speech that I was able to see was about the definition and processes of Democracy. On friday night (11pm), the small group of people and I had a very heated debate about the identification and the classification of “black” people. He may have been somewhat wacky from the loss of sleep, but he was still able to conduct a debate on what black people should be called in this world. The debate ended up in the same place as we started, we aren’t sure. But his point was very interesting: most black people do not accept the term “black” and a new term needs to be decided. The question that eventually arose was that the world needs some kind of organization and the terms “black” and “white” help governments/ people describe/ categorize a person. I tried to see the lecture every day, but I ended up missing saturday and monday. Nonetheless, he broke his old record!

I missed Saturday because I went to the mountains with a friend from school and some polish students. We took a bus down to Rabka (a small town an hour north of Zakopane). It was one of the most beautiful towns I’ve ever seen. Imagine a postcard town and this is that town. The mountains in Rabka are more like big hills. But even so, when we made it to the top, we were hiking in the clouds. At the top, there is a small cabin for hikers to drink tea or beer or eat lunch. If you’ve been to Yellowstone National Park, the lodge is similar to the one at the top of its tallest mountain, but without all of the tourists. The inside is low-lit and has a high-mountain-cabin feeling. On the walls there are hundreds of photos and notes left by visiting travelers. And of course, when we were there, there was a large Polish family laughing about things I didn’t understand. My friends and I shared a lunch of polish sandwiches (fat grease with some kind of pork- I’m not sure what the name is) and American Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches in which I made. The man working at the cabin lived above the cafe. I was able to have a short conversation about his job with him- all in Polish! I truley felt like I was in Poland.

The Cabin Tree man


Speaking of Peanut Butter, Peanut Butter from Poland is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. It’s smooth and fresh with 90% peanuts!

When we arrived at the top of the mountain, we couldn’t see anything through the clouds. But that made it even more amazing because everything was frozen. The trees, the cabin, the radio tower next to it, the trail/road sign, the bizarre stone sculptures of mountain men heads. Everything had a thin layer of frost on it. It felt like we were at the hotel in the “The Shinning.”

On the way back, we lost our original trail and ended up in some town way outside of Rabka. It was dark before we made it out of the woods. But when we reached the end of the trail, we slid all the way down this road covered in ice before we made it to our bus station in the town. Southern Poland is one of the most beautiful places I’ve been to.

– John Kotlet

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