“Travels to a Different Time ” : 22July1974: All Over the Place in Romania and Yugoslavia: The Squawking Plastic Parrot: Being a Community Project and a Cadillac With New York Plates Parked Outside a Shack

My last day in Romania. I have been here for 29 days and only have scratched the surface. When I return home I will have to read more about Romanian politics and society. I was up at 06:15 for a breakfast of my bartered Romanian honey and some bread. Off on a dilapidated bus courtesy of a crowd of Romanians who made me their community project. I asked one of them how I would get a bus towards the Yugoslavian frontier. It wasn’t long before there were 50 of them eyeballing a “hepee”. I would ask a question and someone would translate it and there would be a discussion. Back and forth it went. The whole crowd took me to the bus stop and waved good-bye!

We passed town after time and there were many peasants in the fields all very poor looking. I saw a Cadillac with New York license plates parked outside a shack. I got off the bus at a small city Turnu Severin which was the frontier town. I asked people where Yugoslavian border was and they pointed me in the right direction but it was 9 kms away. A Romanian student took me to the bus that would take me to the frontier. He was from a university in Bucharest and was sent here to make a map of the city. There are many students that are sent to smaller towns for projects. I arrived at the frontier. I must have gotten too close to something and a Yugoslav soldier got all upset and motioned me back for a search which he abandoned seeing how crammed my knapsack was. He managed to get a ride for me with some Finns that were visiting Yugoslavia for the day. The next lift was with a greaseball Yugoslav driving a Ford he had purchased in the Netherlands. He had 4 plastic animals hanging from his rear-view mirror. When we hit a bump the plastic parrot would squawk. I ended up in Nis paying an outrageous $7 for a room but at least a private bathroom and hot water. I crashed out at 9 without eating any dinner.

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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