Thursday, October 8, 2009

In my own apartment!

It's been almost a week since I updated my weblog! Since I arrived, in the very first week, I was so busy, moving into and fixing up and settling down in my apartment with around next to the Dambovita River, and up many stairs on the 2nd floor. I am in Romania! First thing which comes in your mind is “communist” concrete bloc apartment buildings ...WAIT A SECOND!!! Nope, in fact it was a royal stable - an installation for equestrian exercises, horse stables and services grouped in pavilions around a large square inner courtyard treated in the manner of Italian regionalism... luckily all these things are now in the pages of the past and was turned into student's dorms and state institution accredited for the activity in physical education and sports in 1950's.

Seriously it’s quite nice inside. We have a nice entry, two bedrooms, living cum dining area and tiny kitchen (actually a passageway). The bathroom is kind a nice. We had a washing machine; well it’s not there anymore, a good terrace to hang the laundry outside to dry, like everyone else.
What to say?? Worst of all, , OR best of all, I cooked very first time in my whole life! Romanian food is largely pork, chicken, salami, cheese, cabbage, and potatoes. The national dishes are cabbage rolls, called sarmale (“sar-ma-lay”), a sort of cornmeal mush called mamaliga (“mama-leega”), and Papanasi, traditional dessert recipe from Transylvania. They don’t like spicy food AT ALL, and still, being an Indian, I want spicy food, maybe not that hot. I managed to score some “hot salt, spices” and Indian food courtesy a friend back from India staying in the same apartment. The local folks usually shop every day, and eat whatever is in season.
I've been doing a LOT of walking, so I'm probably losing weight, hopefully. Unbelievably, I have high-speed Internet at dorm and a cable television. Soon I’ll have a new cell phone…I guess, after my first cell got stolen somewhere in bucharest.

Everyone in Romania adores flowers, gardening, all growing things, babies and animals… ESPECIALLY DOGS! But some things are funny to me: they always carry flowers upside down, with the stems up (I wonder if the flowers actually stay nicer that way), all hamburgers and other sandwiches include the french fries INSIDE the sandwich, pizza doesn't have any tomato sauce and hardly any cheese, but it's always served with Romanian ketchup, dulce (sweet) or picante (spicy). Most women wear very high heels, tight low-cut clothing, and care a great deal about fashion and women of all ages often have reddish, almost maroon-colored hair. I’ve heard that Romanian women are the most beautiful in the world, and it’s likely true!!

The stories of the communist years are really scary, the dictator’s control lasted for forty years, and finally in December of 1989 the people revolted and killed him and his even crazier wife. So this country has only been independent for 17 years!

Being a part of EU for past 2 years, modern conveniences are also arriving fast. They are expensive, but they are here. In some ways, three months seems like a very long time, and in other ways it seems like home here. I hope someone manages to come and visit while I’m here….you never know!!

I went to quite a few places around Romania like Sibiu, Sighisoara, Sinaia, Constanta..etc..etc…This weekend probably will be going to Brasov located in the central part of the country, about 166 km from Bucharest. I’ll be back soon with more escapades of my Romanian travel….soon.