Filed under: Romania
Domnul Nelu’s wife, Gela, went home. Every day of her stay here her bouffant remained just as poufy.
Domnul Nelu’s wife, Gela, went home. Every day of her stay here her bouffant remained just as poufy.
Spent hours last night at the apartment. Irina’s Cristi were installing the radiators and piping. I couldn’t sit or lean against anything; all dusty. Helped dad hammer nails in the ceiling. Lots of ceiling fell on us. Minor power outage. Went into the room with all the belongings. Opened boxes. Found a book on how to overcome curses. Then I read half of Celine Dion’s biography. She sits over steaming pots of boiled water for two hours if she feels a sore throat developing. She doesn’t speak on the day of her concerts. She took time off for learning how to pluck her eyebrows and apply makeup. She has thirteen siblings.
When I got back to the hotel, even Gaby noticed I was unhappy. Mopey. Finally mom came back from her shopping trip to BucureÈ™ti. I put on a blanket, Ethiopian nightwatchman-style, and she snapped at me that I look ridiculous. Got three sweaters, five pairs of thick socks, two pairs of pants, orange Tweety Bird pyjamas, and a Toblerone.
Adi, Rodica’s thirteen-year-old son, cycled to the hotel from town. We found a dog skull in the hotel garden. The spine was in their kennel, a foreleg bone behind the hotel. Are the hotel dogs cannibals?
Adi christened the brown-and-black dog Cora.
He helped Rodica clean the hotel rooms. We ate a slice of Quiche Lorraine together.
Rodica treated all to coffee, soft drinks and pastries because it was her birthday yesterday. Romania is one those misinformed countries where the birthday person treats out friends.
Cosmin and AniÈ™oara arrived by taxi. Worried about their expenses, but they said it costed them, from the Ampoi neighbourhood, as much as the Maxi Taxi or the city bus.
Went to the RimeÈ› convent, some twenty kilometres from Alba Iulia. Met the old lady who lives in the cottage with the tall thatched roof. She allowed me into her house, adding, “But there’s nothing to see.” The water mill side of her house collapsed, now filled with garbage. She can’t hear very well. I asked her how old was her house: since before World War One. How old was she? Can’t remember. Dad gave her 100,000 lei as a gift.
Our RimeÈ› nun friend told us about the little fawn the convent adopted in 1994. Every year a nun in MaramureÈ™ gets one or two fawns as a gift from huntsmen. She gives one each year to RimeÈ›, and the nuns raise it until Easter, when they release it and receive a new one. But even our nun friend recognized the foolishness of this system.
I overpayed the entry fee for her museum. She invited me to visit again with tracing paper so I can make copies of the museum’s glass icons.
On the way home stopped at the farm of the man who makes È›uicÄƒ (plum brandy). Photographed his friendly pigs and suspicious goats. Stepped in something squishy and bright yellow.
Back at the hotel, an air traffic controller friend dropped by from Sibiu. She loves glass icons, Romanian music (even Manele – the dreadful Gypsy-Turkish tunes that are now popular), and life here. Drank some of our È›uicÄƒ, Domnul Nelu very drunk, took even my glass.
Ah, last night. We all got ready for the journalist party, dressed and made up. Suddenly Mr. PiÈ™ta informs me that I am staying home. Janin, a young Romanian lady married to an older Italian man, nearly gave me the evil eye; spat thrice on my own chest to avert danger. A friend told me about his second sexual experience. How he and three friends hired a prostitute’s services for the price of ten packs of cigarettes. Very cheap because she was fat. She didn’t move. “First off,” she told her seventeen-year-old clients, “I don’t suck anything.” Thanks for sharing that story, we all really wanted to know. I told you I would write about it. Bad Wes Craven movie on TV, The Hills have Eyes.
My day is coming to an end. Cosmin woke me up. Prepared me French toast and a cup of tea. Went to the radio station but not so into it because Mihai just wanted to play slow songs. I wanted something like Prodigy’s Firestarter to wake me up but he said it was too much this early in the morning. I said that’s how I get up in the mornings. But he did let me play a Linkin Park song, but not the one I prefered. He wanted me to read the porno headlines off the Freedom newspaper. I just read the regular news items. He kept asking me, “Isn’t there any other news?” “No,” I replied, “That’s all.” Then he had me read the recipe of the day for all the young ladies and housewives in the audience. I asked, on air, “But what about the men?” He admitted that maybe some men might be interested.
Then Mihai wanted to take me sightseeing – ugh! Luckily one of his girlfriends saved me from boredom. She offered to have a drink with him so I got off from keeping him company.
Napped. Met VladuÈ›i, the devil kid, downstairs. He was almost sweet though he teetered towards evil a couple of times.
Went to Nina’s. Just in time, she was about to head out. The big Florin told her I went to Bucuresti with Monica and Cristi. Ate four of her dill & cheese crepes and tried to stuff a cherry crepe into my mouth. Watched the Euro MTV Awards with Diana. Made fun of Eminem.
The pups are responding to commands in English.
As we all know, the Japanese supposedly have a longer digestive tract. I don’t believe it. But that may be why they’re skinnier. A digestive system needs a lot of energy, so I’m sure they burn off calories that way. Also, now that I am sitting on chairs again, I think my digestive system is not so crushed so it functions better. Maybe the Japanese evolved into having longer intestines so the food can be digested more effectively through the cramped space.
Beth said that miniskirts went out of style in the 90s. Miniskirts, here in Romania, are never out of fashion. In fact young ladies are expected to wear them. Beth also asked why people don’t go to movie theatres so often here. It is too expensive: $1 US out of a minimum wage monthly salary of about $75 US a month. And many things cost the same price as the rest of Europe (in other words, expensive).
Now for today’s hotel gossip. RareÈ™ has stopped wearing his hat now that we admired his hair. Cosmin is worried about the impression you’re getting of him, and Mihaela is a robbery suspect here (Rodica and AniÈ™oara were unjustly blamed then exonerated – correct usage of that word?). As for the fascinating Mr. PiÈ™ta (he looks like a rogueish young Ralph Fiennes), he ate six eggs for breakfast. Usually, he told me, he eats eight eggs and ten sausages. Domnul Nelu’s wife came as a surprise, all the way from BucureÈ™ti. She has black hair in a tall bouffant hairstyle.
Yesterday we had an exhibition in the restaurant. Cosmin, Mihaela, Domnul Nelu, and StelicÄƒ appeared on tonight’s news. Then we went to a folk music concert: a police officer and his bumblebee-aproned wife stole the show with their singing, jokes, and drum-guitar-fiddle band.
Good night from the frozen barrens of Transylvania.
Domnul Nelu, the master chef, is busy making a flock of carrot birds, a butter nude, and gourd vases for our exhibition tomorrow. Mihai, the Radio Eveniment guy, daringly walked into the kitchen to have a look.
Is Mihaela pregnant? She didn’t answer yay nor nay. An abortion here is 700,000 lei with general anesthetic, 250,000 without. The next question is, is the baby Bogdan’s or Dorel’s? I thought she didn’t like the creepy cabbage farmer Dorel. This guy always shows up during her shift and hangs around until her shift ends, offering to drive her back into the city. Bogdan is her boxer boyfriend.
Went to see Turnul din Pisa (The Tower of Pisa) with my godsister Monica. It started off with a rape. So much for all the posters making it look like a heart-warming musical replete with farm animals. At Romanian weddings the bride is “stolen” and her new godparents must pay a handy sum to get her back. The movie bride was stolen, something I never quite understood happened to her kidnappers, then she was raped on top of a musical instrument by Santa-masked intruders. She killed the third rapist and was sentenced to ten years in prison because, when she pulls the Santa mask off, he is an old boyfriend and the court decides she was not raped after all. Her new husband doesn’t believe in her innocence either. After ten years, just as she is getting ready to leave prison, her husband comes to see her and she returns his ring. Then some mumbo-jumbo with jugglers and a midget. Even Monica says she didn’t get it by this time. Finally the nice but weird-looking twitchy old man she meets turns out to be the first rapist and his ruthless slave-boy is the second rapist. It ends with her wandering happily through an amusement park. And with all the guns on the table, when the first rapist was choking, we thought she would grab one and kill him. But ’twasn’t such a satisfying ending.
There were maybe eight other people watching this movie with us. It isn’t the price that keeps people away. Three years ago, a thirteen-year-old girl was raped in that cinema. Now everyone is too frightened to go there. That kind of put a damper on my going to see a Stuart Little 2 matinee by myself.
PiÈ™ta thinks I play too much with the hotel dogs. He announced last night that he wants to have a baby with me. We’ll have a blue-eyed baby, he says. Mom asked him if he was planning to whisk me off to Hungary. He said no, he is Romanian.
Just this afternoon he scribbled over the little balck-and-brown puppy and over poor LauricÄƒ. Says he couldn’t catch the other pups.
As for Cosmin, he started my Romanian slang dictionary last night. Romanian swears looks even more crude on paper.
Domnul Nelu complained my drawing of the day was executed too quickly. PiÈ™ta kindly helped me start another one; this time I will work more finely to make the master chef proud. Rares came by to say my lizard looks like a parrot. I turned it around. No, it is more like a flamingo from that angle.
At lunch I asked RareÈ™ why he wears so many clothes. He complained that his hair looks odd today. Finally he took off his hat to reveal a head of blond curly hair. Mom reassured him that it’s decent. But he still wore his two jackets and two sweatshirts.