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Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bucarest- The Beginning






    

      I will start with the plane rides since I detest flying. Flying Delta to Amsterdam was like being stuffed into a plane built in 1982 that now was held together with duck tape and a prayer. Some how we made it over the ocean with only one announcement that began with "Ladies and Gentleman we have a small problem. Our entertainment system is not working properly. Please be patient while we fix it." FIRST do NOT start a sentence in a plane that's 30,000 feet in the air with "We have a problem." I would think that's flight attendant/barbie boot camp 101. Second if the entertainment is the only thing that is a problem on that plane I would be shocked.

    Now jump to my two hour Amsterdam lay over. I only got to see the airport, but I know I would adore Amsterdam. First the people are gorgeous and so friendly. Second the majority of them have blond hair blue eyes, therefore it's one of the few European countries where I actually don't scream "AMERICAN" I know this because I was spoken to several times in their native tongue...LOVE THAT.

    I DID however stick out on the plane from Amsterdam to Bucarest. First off I was the best dressed one by miles and I was just in my travel outfit, so that's saying something. Second the Romanian's have a rough look about them, I can't really put it into words, but I would guess it's from years of struggling. Oh and I was blond. That usually is a good give away that one of these things does not belong. LOL.

    My wonderful Romanian was waiting with flowers when I finally emerged from customs. OH WAIT, I have NEVER EVER entered a country where the customs officers don't say welcome to so and so or have a good trip. This man basically threw my passport back at me. FYI Romania this is not how you promote tourism. 
   So a friend of the Romanians picked me up so as we all chatted about my trip I got to begin my initial thoughts about Bucarest.

      It looked poor and very run down. I could see attempts at modernization and revitalizing, but it was being done in such a backwards way. It seemed like there was little structure, cars parked on sidewalks, people walking across major roads without looking. Beautification in the districts I saw was minimal if at all. All the buildings that the communists had built and continued to house a majority of the population, were so run down I was shocked that they were even habitable.

    There were modern apartment buildings going up, but as The Romanian explained they were cheap and not well built. Okay this is I think the only way to explain what I saw: I had a Romanian friend who lives in the US say this to me once, "They are happy to have what they have, they don't get the need to have more therefore they don't try." Where as in American we are never happy with just getting by, we always want more, work harder, faster, try to be the best or top dog. Now is saying this, both things are in extremes, of course some Romanians want more and of course some American are happy just getting by. However that is not the mentality that each country teaches. Romanian teaches "be happy just to get by" in American we teach "be better, make more, have more." Are we greedy because of this? I'm not sure,maybe but I am happy I was taught this because I would never want to have the "I will just settle for what I was dealt" life. 

    

     Anyway, we arrived at the building my husband grew up in and where is Grandma and Mom still live. It's a typical communist building that has been ignored forever, but both his Mom and Grandmother have taken great pride in making their apartments beautiful and full of memories. I felt at home with both of them instantly, this was our first meeting. I was greeted with long hugs, many kisses and lots of food. In each of their apartments I was given a tour and Cris translated our converstations back and forth to each other. I brought items over for them and they had bought beautiful things for me.. I loved my new family instantly.

    The Romanian and I decided to go for a walk,  before heading to bed, in the park across from his building. It's a gorgeous run down park. With a huge lake in the middle that acts as place for paddle boats and a few cafes sit along the outskirts getting ready for the summer season. From our side of the lake I could see all the lights from the old city and it was lovely.

    I should also say there is a HUGE HUGE HUGE stray dogs population here. I mean they are all over the place. The city has collected the ones they can to nurture or spay them, tag them and let them go back to begging on the streets. Again this does not help with the tourism they desperately need, but don't seem to care to have. HELLO this is how cities make money. Anyway, I of course feel terrible that these animals don't have enough food and are running after people for scrapes. However, none of them seemed under weight so they must be somewhat good at their jobs. 
    As soon as we reached the apartment I was down. Jet lag had taken it's toll. Night Night