“Travels to a Different Time” : 2July1974: Do I Choose the Vodka, Girls and Party Option? Doing Business on the Black Market

To my surprise flying to Bucharest from Bacău is cheaper than the bus! So I bought a ticket for $2 leaving later in the day. My ticket on Tarom is a simple piece of cardboard saying Bacău-Bucresti. I head back into town to grab some breakfast but the line-ups for bread and meats were incredible. I just gave up soggy and dispirited and went to a restaurant for some cream of vegetable soup with some meat possibly beef and potatoes in watery gravy. With nothing much to do went for a vile Romanian beer. I then went to the best hotel in town for another beer and ran into a black marketeer and changed some currency into Romanian lei at a great profit. A couple of his friends arrived and they insisted I stay at their villa and promising a good time with vodka, girls and a nonstop party. There was a doctor in the group who wanted me to join the “festivities”. We then moved to a bar and had vodka shots for 25 cents each. The doctor wanted to leave Romania and is scheming to marry a German divorcee. This was about the only way he could leave Romania. After a last shot of vodka they drove me to the airport and said I must phone their friend in Bucharest. The passengers were workers. For such a tiny airport the security was intense with some 15 soldiers with machine guns. I met a guy called Christian beside me who offered me cigarettes and bought me orange juice on the plane. The plane was a Russian AN-24 and it belched fumes and the plane rattled down the runway and you had to shout to be heard. It was non-pressurized and a very bouncy low altitude flight. 45 minutes later we landed in Bucharest and Christian phoned the guy the black marketeers said I call. Christian , a gym teacher, took me to my host Sorin an engineering student. Sorin had a party going with his friends and his wife. We had meatballs, yogurt, sausages and eggs with East German beer. After the friends left Sorin and I had another beer and hit the sack. What a day!

Photo jetphotos.net

Published by Robert K Stephen (CSW)

Robert K Stephen writes about food and drink, travel, and lifestyle issues. He is one of the few non-national writers to be certified as a wine specialist by the Society of Wine Educators, in Washington, DC. 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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