Sunday, April 13, 2008

Romania For Rookies Pt 2:


Chapters 2 & 3, Double Subsets 1 & 2

Chapter 2: Romanian Reality Time

  1. (as opposed to that standard time on your ordinary ol’ average 12 or 24 hour timex or swatch) runs at about a ratio of 1 to 5 (or 6). That is, when a Romanian says to you “I’ll just be five more minutes.” Pull out your ipod and open up another chapter of Ludlum’s latest, or Madonna’s newest incarnation and be prepared to hear the whole chapter or spin through every cut. You will most likely be hunkered down in wait mode for at least 25 minutes. Maybe (jumatate ore) half an hour. (zhew-ma–tah-tay or-eh). Multiply out on your own for number of days it takes to clear anything though a Romanian Government Registry, no matter what they promise you. (See Romanian Paralytic Politeness – coming in curand (soon)!)
  2. Unless we are talking traffic time here. With traffic time, in Bucharest at least, always plan your meeting to start a minimum of one ora after your announced start time if the meeting is to take place from multiple departure points to anywhere else across the city, or across more than 6 city blocks occupied by actual autos.

Bucharest is beginning to make downtown Tokyo traffic look like a lazy, breezy afternoon drive in the country.

Chapter 3: Baker Beware!

  1. If you are buying shelled walnuts here, they will have shells in them. Teensy little bits of that drywall separator between brain-shaped halves or crunchy little tooth crumbles of actual shells themselves. Don’t fret though. Romanian dentistry is both cheap and good.

  2. Things that look like raisins, currents or yellow saltanas, if they aren’t from Sun Maid or Dole, will have seeds in them. This is a crunchy kind of place.
Quality control here is not yet what it will be.

It’s Spring. And Bucharest smells of lilacs and cat piss.
No, not the effect that you get when your mother sprays glade in the room with the litterbox. Actual lilacs. The town, or at least my Florasca neighborhood, is crowned with whole trees full of them.

I have theories about this. The lilacs I understand. And love. And have always loved. And mourn that they aren’t now a year round enjoyable like tomatoes from Chile. But only grace us briefly in the springtime.

But as to the feline streaming aromatic contribution I can only postulate that it has been frozen on solid ground from winter till thaw, and only now has pungently, er, blossomed.

Choose carefully where you choose to inhale here.

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