“Travels to a Different Time” :4July1974: Bucresti and Constanta, Romania: Staying with Grannies in an Ornate Room from a Different Era; Travelling with an Egg Thief

I had breakfast with Sorin when he left at 8 to go to work but my belongings were so wet I had to dry them on the balcony. Sorin’s girlfriend cooked me up some delicious eggs. Romanian eggs are incredibly tasty. I packed up and she cooked me more eggs with fresh bread and a beer and I was out the door just before a bunch of Sorin’s friends arrived for lunch. I did a farewell jungle imitation and they all loved it begging me to come back.

I took the bus to the outskirts of the city and headed to the highway back to the Black Sea Coast to my destination of Constanţa. A group of peasants approached me and were crowded around me wanting to touch my long hair! Can this be real? I was quickly picked up by a Frenchman and his Romanian wife heading back to Paris. Again the story I was told about the only way of escaping Romania was to marry a foreigner.

The next lift was all the way to my destination with a truck driver carrying a huge cargo of eggs destined for Cairo. Romanian is a Latin language and speaking French and some Spanish I can use this in communicating in three languages to try and make myself understood. We chatted and it is as if we understood each other. Perhaps we did and for three hours that seemed to work.  The ability to communicate with people is so important and this interweaving of languages, facial expressions and hand movements is sort of a language in itself. In any case he stopped near the port and took off the tarp over the cargo and pirated lots of eggs and gave me a couple of dozen. Off I went walking into the city centre finding a tourist agency that gave me hugely expensive prices of 135 lei for a room but as a student he would do a favour for me. Up above the tourist agency was a room I could have for 85 lei. I went up to the room and two old ladies Victoria and Raglesa fussed over me the long haired “heepee” like I was their grandson. I went out for dinner and really pigged out for $1.15. It is like I am never knowing where my next meal may come from in this country. It is almost like it is reassuring to see food.

I returned home and had a hot shower oh so glorious. Victoria insisted I dry my long hair with a hair dryer she was so proud of. Although I have long hair I let it dry naturally but Victoria insisted and her hairdryer was limping along sadly! I managed to free myself from these caring old birds to a most ornate room from another era. Everything is polished and cleaned and so well maintained. The sheets are clean and crisp. Am I in a vestige of pre-Communist Romania? And I gave them the eggs which they were delighted to accept.

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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