How strange that a bit of writing on the wall, spotted between shadows and the dim yellow glow of lamplight in the Polish port city of Gdańsk would lead me to a mystery replete with Victorian poetry, Egyptian pharaohs, and Doctor Who fan fiction. After an hour or so of translating Polish websites, I am no closer to the meaning of this text stumbled upon during my evening walk back to my rented apartment in the Old City. The black spray painted block letters read “Mieli my kości Mykerinosa”. This translates to something approximating “We had the bones of Menkaure. Many thanks to Marta Dziok for correcting my original translation. Though the reference to ancient Egyptian pharaoh Menkaure is clear, the grammar is apparently dubious in Polish and therefore the translation into English is equally so. How cryptic. Pun intended.
Cryptic graffiti and cobblestones, Gdańsk (2016)
My quest to decipher this little mystery has instead lead me down a bit of rabbit hole of Polish blogging, bringing me close to the puzzlement of others but no closer to a deciphering. Perhaps life is best with a mix of mystery and the unknown. And a little nostalgia. For, I now find myself completely astray, longingly watching videos of my favourite computer game growing up: Challenge of the Ancient Empires, which taught me about prisms and angles, logic and the Rosetta stone, and ancient civilisations in CMYK glory. This is how I discovered ancient Egypt and I remember this game so vividly that the music alone has sent me into a wonderful fit of nostalgia and longing for DOS prompts, floppy disks, and a time before mouses. Next up: Adventures in Math and Where in the world is Carmen Sandiego?