Thursday, September 28, 2006

Welcome To Romania

The train pulled in at 7 am, an hour and a half late, and I had been awake since 2:30. Bucharest was grey and lightly raining. As I walked outside for 100 meters there was not exactly a whiff of freedom, but everything certainly felt looser.

I had agonized all the previous afternoon about whether to go ahead and rent a car for Romania. The downside was that the weather forecast was for really overcast, and that kind of put a damper on the idea of a beautiful drive through the countryside. And there were other niggly problems, too, such as driving around confusing cities without a navigator, etc. Finally I had blown off the idea.

Now it was time to buy a Saturday ticket for Sofia and an immediate one for Brasov, about 170 km north. When I got to my first class seat I noticed that it wasn't a hell of a lot better than the second class. Oh well.

We sent rolling through Romania, which I could immediately tell had a lot more decrepit industry and housing than anywhere in the former Soviet Union had. And the EU was letting them in next year???

We got to Brasov, most of which is a dreary nothing city of 400,000, and as I walked out of the train station I decided that my passport would be safer in my pants pocket than in my daypack.

One minute later, as I got on the bus for the 'old city' and was fumbling around trying to use their ticket machine, for the first time in my life somebody tried to pick my pocket.

I shouted and pushed the guy, then quickly sat down to check my pants. My passport was gone! I shouted again and started to go after the guy when his partner pointed to my passport lying on the floor on the opposite wall. Perhaps my jostling had made them drop it. More likely, fearing trouble, they had thrown it.

So for the next couple of minutes I sat there thinking about how weird it was that I had just put my passport in my pocket, and that maybe it was all a cosmic happenstance so that I could now write a really interesting blog that no one would ever read.

One thing was for sure: This wouldn't remotely have happened on the rest of my trip. So much for looseness. Maybe those Commies had a point.


At 1:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't know how long you stayed in Brasov, but it is one of the most beautiful cities in Romania and a huge tourist attraction to other European countries. First of all it is super clean, full of Mountains, lakes, ski resorts, clubs, restaurants, etc.

At 1:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And what do you mean by "those commies may have had a point"?

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