Tuesday, May 30, 2006

I Love Romania

Somewhere Near The Romanian-Hungarian Border

We were joined by three of Mike's crew (Janelle, Alia, and Iain) for our five-day stint in Romania. We rented a car and drove around Romania's pothole-laden roadways, exploring some of the more remote corners of the country. Our final destination was a small beach town on the Black Sea called Vama Veche, a few kilometers away from the Bulgarian border. And that was where I had a very memorable night.

We arrived in Vama Veche on the 27th, and quickly settled in, cleaned up, and wolfed down a hearty dinner. That evening, we went down to the local beach bar to get our schwerve on. We spent a few hours drinking beer, dancing in the sand with the locals, and taking ridiculous photos. Come midnight, though, energy was dwindling. We had woken up early, and spent nearly half the day driving, so we weren't really in top form. Eventually everyone else had gone to bed, and I was alone in a sea of Romanians, doin' my little kooky dance. My plan was just to finish my Ursus beer, jiggy once or twice more, and call it night.
About halfway through the beverage, I noticed a trio of Romanian girls dancing in a giggly circle not too far away from me. And it seemed like they kept throwing sly glances my way, but I was tired, and I had been confused many times in the past year by local custom, so I wasn't thinking about pursuing anything. Plus, it seemed like they were receiving a constant stream of suitors which they would quickly rebuff with a toss of their hair and a wave of their hand. I wasn't in the mood to be rebuffed in such a dismissive manner, so I ignored my instincts, and concentrated on my beer.
When I was just about done with the Ursus, I looked up and realized that the trio had me surrounded. They had deftly grooved their way around me and were slowly tightening the noose. I tried to wiggle my way out of their grasp, but to no avail. They kept me firmly ensconced in their hip-grinding circle. I resigned myself to doing the twist in the center, and that is how I met Andrea, Ana, and Dora.
They were all college students from Bucharest, on their last days of vacation before their big finals. Tomorrow, they would be leaving "The Veche" to take two buses and a train back to Bucharest. But, tonight, they were partying. They had three coke bottles half full of whiskey between them, and enough energy to wake my old ass up. And they all spoke excellent english. So, the night began again, and the four of us conversed, danced, sang, and drank.
This went on for hours. There were a few pauses in the action, like when I accidently poured half of my beer on Ana, or when she accidently punched me in the crotch. There were also still the occasional boy-based interruptions. Apparently, the dudes in Romania are very forward, as they would just walk up to the girls and start dancing and grabbing. Behavior that in the US would get you slapped or worse just led to a yelp and a mean stare in Romania. But, they would only stick around for a minute or so. Once they got the message that the girls weren't interested, they would just grumble and walk off. Occasionally, they would talk to me, too, to ask me how I know these ladies and why I wouldn't "share" them with anyone. There were two guys in particular that I met this way:

Jorge (I'm not sure about the spelling; it's the Romanian equivalent of George, pronounced yor-ghi) was a slightly portly, very drunk dude with an interesting stumble who was constantly calling me "motherfucker". At first, I was a bit worried that he was just itching to get into a fight with me until I realized that he didn't mean it as an insult. The popularity of American culture outside the US is such that people will use all kinds of American words and phrases without really knowing what they mean. To Jorge, motherfucker was just a cool, hip-hoppy way of referring to someone. So, while at first, he was annoying and worrisome, he eventually became a cool guy. He was actually fun to talk to once he stopped pawing up the girls.
Antonio wasn't so harmless. I never really felt comfortable around him, but he was a very engaging person. Like a lot of undereducated people in the poorer parts of the world, he was remarkably well-spoken. In the US, you would expect someone with little education to be able to speak only english, and that just barely. But Antonio, since he had traveled around Europe looking for work, could speak four or five. His english wasn't that great, though, so we ended up speaking to each other in spanish. He was also heavily into american hip-hop. He had a big 50 Cent T-shirt on, Thug Life tattooed on his belly, and he wore a do-rag LA-gangsta-stylee on his head.
While the ladies were off refilling their coke bottles, Antonio and I had a long conversation about them. Antonio was trying to tell me that they were putas, and they were just trying to get my money. He could hook me up with a nice girl for half the price, at a party that was really close by. I thanked him for his generous offer, but politely declined, assuring him that I wouldn't give the girls any money.

Anyway, besides some of that unpleasantness, the night was great. Around 5am, dawn started to break, so we set up shop on a small wooden bench in the sand. It was pretty cold at that time of night, especially after we had stopped all the dancing, so I had to run in to get some clothes (Ana borrowed my hat, and Dora used my sweater). We then spent the next hour snuggled in a line, each person hugging the one in front, and watched the sun slowly rise over the Black Sea.
I think this was my favorite part of the night (or morning, as it were). Traveling for a year, you miss a lot of the benefits of familiar friends and family. Intimate contact is one of those things, and just sitting their in a huddled line, yapping about bullshit, enjoying each other's warmth and watching the sun rise was exactly what I needed. Mike is a good friend and all, but he's not really someone I want to snuggle with. Or even say snuggle in front of... that's just embarrassing.
After the sun finished it's labored rise over the water, we retired to the beach bar and had a seat with Antonio and his friend Rumi. Rumi bought us all wine spritzers, and we sat there in the warming morning, talking about music and America. It turned out he owned a bar on the beach, and a club in Bucharest, so we had a lot to talk about. He was an excellent english speaker, too.
Eventually, the ladies had to retire to pack up their shit and check out, since they were leaving that day. I had to do the same, so we parted ways, agreeing to meet at the beach later in the day. We did, but only for a coupla minutes. Just long enough for Dora to return my sweater, and for everyone to say goodbye. We exchanged emails and kisses, and I promised them I would send the pictures I took. And then, they were gone.

And the night was over.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dammmm i would have Tapped ALL 3 of them Puta's :))))

9/16/2006 4:15 AM gmt

Blogger Unknown said...

Yeah Im pretty sure you missed out on an even more memorable experience there dude.

12/20/2007 7:56 PM gmt


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