Monday, October 17, 2011

Another Week Gone By

Remember when i showed you the street sign that forbids horse-drawn wagons?  Well this guy didn't care!
It's been over a week since my last post and I have tons to write about.  

Last Saturday I went to the village museum in Bucuresti.  It is an outdoor museum with traditional style homes brought in from all around Romania.  Some you can only see from the outside, but others have traditionally decorated interiors that you can view.  Afterwards I met up with my friend Maria and her boyfriend.  We went to the peasant museum, and the we sat at a cafe for a while before I headed to the train station to catch the last train of the day to Constanta.

An example of the half buried houses traditional to the southwest of Romania

Half buried house from the front

The peasant museum


Approximately $3 more for the "rapid" train got such a nicer interior!

Over the past week I went to a harvest festival here in Constanta four times.  It was a two-weekend, week-long event.  There were lots of vendors there, and all the items there were supposed to be products of Romania (although I think there were some exceptions).  There were vendors of fresh produce, wine, freshly pressed grape juice (must), handmade pottery, hand-carved wooden items, fresh cheese, assorted types of meat, honey, embroidered and handwoven cloth, and some other assorted goods.  This was right up my alley, and I got a little too enthusiastic about all these products at such amazing prices.  

The first day I went was Monday.  At first I didn't even realize there were more vendors inside the pavilion, so I only shopped for fruits and veggies outside.  The prices were great and the produce looked delicious.  I also got a big, warm loaf of bread and a delicious pastry.

A glance at some of the vendors

I bought some cheese from this lady

The branza de burduf I bought.  It is made from sheep milk and encased in  either sheep skin or sheep stomach 
Thin strips of dough are wrapped around tubes of wood and roasted until brown then sprinkled with sugar. Yummy!

I bought a half size piece of the pastry; it was still  about 8 inches tall

1 kg of sweet plums for a little less than $1
On Tuesday I went to my first Romanian class.  It is hard to understand sometimes, but I'm learning a lot.

I taught my classes on Wednesday and Thursday.  Wednesday's showing was really pathetic; one class started with only two students.  Thursday was much better, and there were some really good discussions!

Thursday afternoon I went to the harvest festival again, this time to check out the indoor vendors.  I was not disappointed! I bought a wooden bowl and spoon and some pottery.  I didn't get a picture of it, but the man who was selling the pottery was making some pieces right in the expo center on his foot-powered potter's wheel.

The pitcher I bought

Baking pot

I bought six of these matching bowls on Friday, since I liked the pottery so  much.  All the pottery together cost a little less than $30.
The carved serving bowl I bought.

In Romanian class on Friday I met a friend!  Josi is from Germany and asked if I'd heard about the harvest festival.  Since class got out a bit early, I decided to go with her to the festival for a third time.  I bought more pottery this time.  Afterwards Josi and I made plans to go out that evening to a club.

Now clubs in Romania are a bit different from the ones I went to in DC.  I have VERY little experience with clubs in general, but compared with the two I've been to before, this one was nicer.  It was decorated more elaborately, had no cover charge, had no charge for the coat check.  Plus, cocktails were quite reasonably priced, and the DJ was from the south of France.  The club didn't even open until 11:30 and when we got there at midnight, the place was deserted.  An hour later it was packed, and when we left at 2:30 am, the party was going stronger than ever.  We met a Romanian-American guy, Enus, there.  He was born in Romania but grew up and lived in L.A. until only a few months ago.  He was really nice and gave us rides home so we didn't have to take taxis.

Josi and I agreed to meet at the mall the next day, where there was supposed to be some sort of festival.  I was running late, so Josi had to wait for me outside.  It was then that she met a super nice Romanian couple, Sorin and Flory.  They tried to help us locate the festival, which no one working at the mall seemed to have any information on.  As we were all standing by the door of the mall, who should walk in but Enus!  We all made plans to meet that evening.  Only minutes after we parted ways, Josi and I stumbled upon the festival when a troupe of traditional dancers walked onto a stage in the middle of the atrium of the mall.  (It's beyond me how the information desk didn't even know about this.)  The dancers were great, and it was fun to watch.

Traditional Romanian dancing

Many of them were quite young, which impressed me

The outfits were beautiful, especially the headdresses
After watching the dancing and wandering briefly through the booths for several NGOs, we walked around the lake behind the mall most of the way to the expo center for my fourth visit to the harvest festival.  I ended up getting those last few items I'd had my eye on the previous visits, like a giant spoon!

At the lake behind the mall

My 3 ft. long spoon, in comparison to my washer; the spoon handle is on the floor.  It cost me about $3.  I love it!
After the harvest festival, we went back to our apartments and then Josi and I met back up again that evening at Cafe de Brasil with all our new friends: Sorin, Flory, Enus, and one more friend of Sorin and Flory's, Angelina.  Angelina is Romanian and Russian, but lived in Russia until last year when she moved to Romania.  Last year she took the same Romanian class that Josi and I are taking now, and she's fluent now, so it gives me a lot of hope that I can learn Romanian, too!  We all had a great time and made plans to go see a Shakepeare play on Sunday, the next day with me, Josi, Angelina, and Enus.  Sorin and Flory gave me a ride home and the others went back to the club so Josi could meet some of Angelina's German friends.  It turned into an epic adventure for them, and they went home at 7 am!  I'm glad I opted to go home!

Angelina, Josi, and Me

Sunday I went to mass and in the evening I went to see Cum Va Place (As You Like It), with Josi, Angelina, and Enus.  It was in Romanian, so it was confusing, but on the other hand, it was Shakespeare, so it would have been confusing anyways!  I was particularly glad when I understood most of the gist of an entire scene.

After the play we went and got something to eat a a sports bar, Champs.  It kind of reminded me of Applebees, except the menu wasn't as snazzy.

Today wasn't that exciting, but I did get to experience how windy it can get in Constanta!  No wonder Ovid was really sad when he got exiled here by the Roman emperor!  I think I can manage the weather, though, as long as I never forget my scarf and hat!

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