“Travels to a Different Time” : 21July1974: Motru, Romania: Bartering with a Poor Romanian Dude: My Celebrity Status Continues: Police Chief Warns About Associating with Me

Considering the rain leakage into my tent I woke up in a good mood. I was on the road at 06:30. On a ride in the back of a truck one guy my age went berserk when he saw my belt. He really went nuts when he saw I had a pair of jeans in my knapsack. My jeans were in bad shape but better than his tattered jeans. I sold the jeans for about $3 and for my belt I traded him for a big jar of Romanian honey and his leather belt. He must be strutting about in his hometown with his “new jeans” and belt. I really had pity for this guy. Next a ride in a worker’s van. I was let off at a tiny village and some gypsy women wanted to buy my jeans. I get offers to sell everything I own! I stopped in a Buffet and had some tasty meatballs and the worst Romanian beer I have ever had. As I was eating some bonko professor from the USSR kept babbling on about what I have no idea. When I entered the Buffet everyone stopped talking and were staring at me. Ah it feels good to be famous!

A truck diver picked me up next and we passed one small town after the other. It was roasting hot until we headed up the mountains. The driver had to stop his truck to let the radiator cool. A man came running down the hill asking to buy some gas which was siphoned off. We reached his destination Motru. I found a hotel which resembled those ugly socialist high-rise monstrosities. It was super cheap and they don’t seem to have a discriminatory tourist pricing like they have at the Black Sea probably because they have no tourists in this small town. I had a shower in a bathroom that was crumbling apart.

I have some Romanian currency to spend because I am close to the Yugoslav border and plan to enter Yugoslavia where the Romanian lei will be worthless. I had met a student when I arrived in town and he took me to my hotel and said we should meet for dinner which we did despite the fact he was warned by the police chief not to be seen with me. We had a good dinner of cutlets, rice, carrots, two bottles of water and a bottle of wine for $4. He saw a picture of me in my wallet and asked if he could have it. He roared back home and brought me his photograph and we exchanged addresses. On the way back to the hotel I stopped at a pastry shop for a pastry and an ice cream. I decided to stop at the cinema at watch a movie. It was so hot a couple of guys took off their shirts. I returned home at 11 and the lights were not working in my room so I had to lug a lamp outside in the hallway for illumination. I fumbled around and then off to bed.

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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