“Travels to a Different Time : 1July1974: Bacău, Romania: Diary Disaster: East German Circus and Propaganda Film: Dirty Glasses

I am slowly recovering from hell. I lost three weeks of diary to the rain. Like a turkey I set up my tent at an angle on a hill and it rained and everything in my tent was soaked including my diary. The receptionist at the campground tried to cheer me up and showed me around Bacau and was a big help shopping with me to purchase some groceries. So at least a splendid meal outside my tent. Yet more rain overnight but a flat tent is better than an angled one. After dinner I met Li Li the campground receptionist and we stepped inside a department store to wait for the rain to pass which it didn’t. The quality of goods on display were very shoddy. It was raining “like a madman” as Holden Caufield would have said in “Catcher in the Rye”. We went into a café for a lemonade and they didn’t do a good job of washing the glasses as I had chocolate smears all over mine. It is sort of gross. What germs have I caught in Romania! This is why I like to eat well with lots of fruits and vegetables so I can build up my resistance. After our lemonade we went into a museum for a display of religious art. Not so good. We then went to the Busch Circus a big East German circus. What louts humans can be locking up wild animals in cages. The Romanian peasants loved it. No derogatory remark intended. They are simple uneducated folk from the countryside. Li Li says the CPR Communist Party of Romania thinks the peasants are stupid. Stalin hated the kulaks and that hatred has permeated into Romania. Li Li is sick and tired of Romania and wants to marry her boyfriend in Amsterdam but is having difficulty in leaving Romania. It seems about the only way to leave the country is marry someone outside the country. But she says the big wheels in the CPR can travel as they wish. They live in special flats, shop in special stores and drive cars. The circus was a depressing place to be and the mud and rain did not help. Li Li wanted to phone her sister but there was a line-up to use the phone. There are big line ups here for everything. We stopped off to meet her sister and dry off. Her sister’s apartment is tiny and is in a huge complex of bleak apartment buildings. There are no lawns just fields of mud. People throw garbage from the balconies so it is strewn all over the mud. They brag in the CPR about modern socialist development but it seems to be modern socialist decay. These modern apartment buildings are crumbling and in a state of disrepair. We went to see an American western movie “The Legend of Nigger Charlie” along with an anti-war movie about Vietnam. A bit late for that but that is Romania. Romania is one of the longest cows in Europe to get milked by the Soviet Union. I am not sure but I caused quite a stir in the theatre with my long hair and Western style dress. Feeling like a Martian and movie star.

Returned back to the campground and my tent was a lake of water including my sleeping bag. A Romanian guy took pity on me and knocked on my tent and invited me into his cabin. It was a small cabin with two beds and I was expecting him to make a move on me. He was a painter and poet and looked like Charles Aznavour. He said it was OK if I slept in the other bed and as it was belting rain it seemed like I had no choice. I was exhausted and some his friends came to play a board game and I virtually dropped from exhaustion clutching my knife. I woke up at 7 a.m. and was furious and helpless with the pelting rain. At 9 it stopped raining and I packed up and headed to a ramshackle airport.

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food ,drink, travel, film, and lifestyle issues. He also has published serialized novels "Life at Megacorp", "Virus # 26, "Reggie the Egyptian Rescue Dog" and "The Penniless Pensioner" Robert was the first associate member of the Wine Writers’ Circle of Canada. He also holds a Mindfulness Certification from the University of Leiden and the University of Toronto. Be it Spanish cured meat, dried fruit, BBQ, or recycled bamboo place mats, Robert endeavours to escape the mundane, which is why he has established this publication. His motto is, "Have Story, Will Write."

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