Flights, layovers, jetlag…blah blah blah ..let’s get to the good stuff.
So, Anca’s cousin picks us up from the airport in Bucharest. We say our hellos and he tells us we are going to stop by his carwash and hang out there until the work day is over then we will go back to his place where we will be staying for the next few weeks.
The ride from the airport to the car wash was a blast, at least for me. It reminded me of how much fun driving in Bucharest can be, and Alex (Anca’s cousin) is probably the most fun person I’ve ridden with.
Apparently red lights don’t really mean much. Every time we came to a red light we would get up on the side walk, median, park, or anything else that wasn’t a road and pass all the cars waiting for the red light. Then we do as any responsible 5 year old would and look both ways before running the red light. If the light turned red while we were coming up to it, alex would just lay on the horn letting all the other cars who had a green light now we were going to blast through a red light even though ours was red for a good 100 yards and yellow long before that. Anyways, that was fun to me for some reason.
Here is the only picture we have of riding around with Alex the last couple weeks in Bucharest. Traffic was in our way so the next best option was driving on the train tracks through the train stop and passing a train. Good stuff.
The next day we tried to adjust to the new time zone and I had one day to relax before my classes start. So we checked out where my class was so I would know how to get there in the morning and walked around downtown for a bit.
Class started for me on a Thursday for some reason. FYI the first two weeks we’re in Romania I will be taking an intensive language course during the weekday which lasts 3 hours each day and goes through lessons at a fast enough rate to be very difficult. Hopefully this will help me learn this language so I can finally understand all the wonderful praise my wife and in-laws are saying about me when they switch from English to Romanian while we are at the dinner table.
So the first two days of class go by pretty quick, and it’s pretty fun. I’ve gotten in a bit of a routine. I wake up at 8 every morning and take the 336 bus downtown that leaves around 8:40. Class starts at 9:30 and ends at 12:30 and it goes over a lot of information in that amount of time so it’s hard to keep up. After class I either go back to the apartment and meet Anca or she will come meet me downtown.
Here is a pick of the building we will call home the next 2-3 weeks.
From the main street.
We’ve also been really lucky that the dollar is strong right now. Everything in romania has been pretty cheap. We’ve been trying to live for $12.50 a day each, which was a nice surprise. Cokes go for about $0.75 which is kind of expensive, but a meal out at a nice place is about $5. I’ve been content eating shwarmas on a daily basis. Those delicious babies go for a whopping $1.75
Friday after class I go back to Alex’s apartment to meet Anca and we “pack” to go to Anca’s grandparents in Vad for the weekend where we will visit them and bring my motorcycle back with us to Bucharest, which has been sitting in their garage for the last 4 years. We take a few bags with us and hop on a train to mountains. When we get there her grandpa comes with someone else from Vad to pick us up from the train station and takes us to her grandparents.
The first day there is what we expect. They are very happy to see us and we go with them to Church. After church they have a big lunch prepared for us and invite some friends that speak English so they can talk to me. Of course they talked in Romanian 99% time anyway. No problem, it’s good for me to practice.
The rest of the day was spent visiting with a small ride on the motorcycle to get gas and see how it rides and if it needs any work.
The next day Anca and I want to leave before lunch so we can take it slow riding back to Bucharest. I walk outside and the first thing I see is a dead chicken in the yard. The first thing I think is there is no way we are leaving before noon if some big lunch is planned and this chicken is the main course.
I was wrong. Apparently that chicken was going with us. It is impossible to leave Anca’s grandparents house without them forcing you to take something, weather you have room or not. So Anca and I start to get ready while her grandpa finishes butchering our new passenger.
We have one box on top of the bike and still have some stuff we need to take back to Bucharest with us. I also have a small bag on my bike which holds spare tubes and parts incase of a breakdown. I’m not sure what was going on, but Anca’s grandpa starts taking out all my spare tubes and trying to put the chicken in there. I think he was saying they were not necessary or something, I really have no idea since I’ve only taken two Romanian classes.
Anca comes over and finally we put the chicken, and apparently two blocks of cheese in the box on top of the bike. We still have enough room to take our laptops and Anca’s purse back with us. I guess Anca’s grandpa was impressed in how large that top box was, because after he saw how much room we had left, he called someone in the village to make some feta cheese and bring it over ASAP. Anca tried to argue saying she still had some clothes she wanted to bring back and we didn’t have enough room for both. Her grandpa relied, “ you can always get more clothes in Bucharest. You can’t get THIS cheese there”. Oh well, I guess we are taking a third cheese with us.
The ride back was pretty brutal. It was around 40 degrees the entire ride and dipped down to 35 in the mountains. We would ride an hour, then stop and get coffee and warm up. While there, Anca got an email confirmation that an offer she made on a place back in Chicago got accepted, so she was pretty excited about that and forgot all about the cold weather for a few minutes.
At least it was only around a 4 hour ride.
We arrived back in Bucharest at a reasonable time. Alex had a garage we could store the bike in so that is great news. Now it’s time to get back to learning Romanian.