Sunday, 30 August 2009

Back on the road again - just!

Hello everyone, welcome back to the next installment of my travellers tales, from the crypt that is Transylvania!
After one of the more tiring journeys I have made (via Manchester, Luton airport, Cluj (Romania), Tirges Mures and finally Tarnaveni), I find myself back in the 'old' internet cafe routine of Sunday evenings. Many things to say already so here goes...

The film 'Planes, trains and automobiles' is something I feel like I just starred in, as my plan to sleep in Luton airport failed spectacularly, as it's a dire little place with very few seats. So after seeing more people in sleeping bags, sprawled across the floor, than you'd find in a London homeless shelter, I conceded defeat and 'slept' for two hours on top of my rucksack, on the floor at Luton airport, before being woken up be equally tired tourists arriving at 0430. After a seriously overpriced bacon sandwich and brew, (almost five pounds!) I checked in, where I met a lovely Romanian couple who helped me remember some basic Romanian words (my first thought was they probably thought I was going to beg them for money I looked so bad!). They were not only nice to chat with, but they went as far as giving me a lift to the bus station in Cluj, after the flight touched down... I began to remember why I loved Romania so much. As I'd got there early rather than wait for the direct bus in 30 degree heat, I saw a bus labelled Tirges Mures, ( a nearby city) so I boarded the bus on instinct, and after paying just 15 lei (3-4 pounds for a 3 hr+ bus journey, I sat with an old Romanian man with a false arm... No kidding! Clearly he's been on this bus before, and probably lost his arm on it, because just ten minutes in and we had crashed into a car which pulled up suddenly in front of us. The usual scene occurred with the drivers gesticulating with their arms, and all the male passengers having a good chat about who's fault it was. No health and safety required here, so after 20 minutes of what looked one giant game of charades (you know... film, TV book...) we were back on our way with a dented bus, and no sign of the police! Bus journeys in Romania are always eventful as there appears no limit to the number of people who try and get on, irrespective of the number of seats! So during the next 3 hours I was subjected to having several hot and sweaty crotches and arses thrust in my face from the standing passengers.... a 'warm' welcome indeed...

I was greeted by my fellow volunteer Victoria on the way form the bus station in my new 'old' home, or should that be old 'new' home??? Anyway I was greeted by Vic and she led me back to my house where the other two volunteers Marika & Ali (pictures below) were sat in the garden soaking up the sunshine.
There was no time for unpacking before heading out for pizza, chat and my favourite beer (Chuc), before finally getting some much needed sleep! Unfortunately the gardener had other ideas, as he woke my up building a new hutch for some rabbits that were apparently in the garden! A lazy Saturday ensued which included a few cheery hello's with neighbours and shop assistants who had become good friends from my previous visit. A quick afternoon nap was followed by a lovely home made tea from Victoria, and then we headed out in to town! Well we had some cherry tasting 'fire water' like drink called Unicum - honestly! We followed this with a local beer at a nearby cafe, where a funny Romanian guy had a 'party in the park' t-shirt on from Leeds - how random?! Another drink nearby eventually led us to Mac Mac disco, which best described a place on the outskirts of town where the local 'kids' and oh I do mean kids, go to dance the night away and all seem to wear white as they think the ultra violet light is going show them in a good light... hmm.. tips for you kids.. it doesn't! It's always an entertaining night and sure enough the lure of three foreign women in this kiddy disco soon had us chatting with a friendly bunch of guys and girls. My suspicion as to the actual age of the people we were dancing with became increasingly alarming as I asked one girl how old she was, and she replied 16... oh dear... somewhat more disturbing was the revelation that her mother worked at the hospital (where I will be working) so I quickly moved away to avoid potentially ugly first day scenes at work - of me being chased out of the hospital grounds by a staff member with a big stick. As myself, Ali, Marika and Vic had had enough beer, and had certainly had enough of being made to feel like old men outside the school gates with bags of sweets, we took a taxi home, and I finally got some much needed rest sleeping through til almost one pm!!! Today has been far more relaxed and included some table tennis at a neighbour's house and some time on the Internet, and searching for football scores. For the footy fans, I see that Old Trafford 'rules' prevailed again to ensure bribery wins after all, and Liverpool finally won a game!

Hope everyone at the Leeds festival had fun, thanks for reading!