Toilet Paper. I have observed that Romanians like scented toilet paper. I can't say for sure, but I'm pretty sure this is a Europe-wide sensation, based on the multi-lingual packaging of the TP. Since I always considered scented TP to be a novelty item, I was delighted to see so many different colors and scents of the stuff available in the stores here. There are periwinkle-colored, lavender-scented rolls and orange-colored, peach scented rolls, and last week at the store I stumbled upon seasonal scents. I discovered and bought a pack of "winter perfume" toilet paper. It's an unexciting white color, but it smells of oranges and cinnamon and makes my bathroom smell pretty.
|My winter toilet paper|
Cranberries. These are apparently an exotic fruit in Romania. Not only is it ridiculously difficult to find fresh cranberries, most Romanians I ask have never eaten a cranberry before, except possibly in juice form. This has been devastating to me. When Thanksgiving rolled around, I was able to more or less recreate all my favorite foods, except cranberry sauce. Ever since, I have been scouring the city for this evasive berry, but to no avail! The closest I got was an old man at the piata (farmer's market) who told me he has some at home and would bring them the next day. Well, I returned the next day, asked about the cranberries, and I got the same story; he had some at home and would bring them tomorrow. Not wanting to eternally repeat the process, I ended up buying what they told me was a compote containing cranberries, but I think it must have something else mixed in too, because it has a bit of a prune-y taste to it. I haven't given up hope of finding cranberries, but until then, I'll slather my next chicken meal with his bizarre compote and see if I can convince myself it's cranberry sauce.
What I've been up to:
Last Thursday was Romania's National Day of Unification. December 1, 1918 marked the unification of Transylvania with the rest Romania, completing the country. The main boulevards of Constanta were decked out in Romanian flags and the university was closed down, but that was the extent of celebration of the holiday. Actually, that's not completely true. I did spend my evening at a Turkish friend's apartment, eating Turkish kebab and then playing Apples to Apples with a crowd mostly consisting of Romanians. So, I went to a party, but it had little to do with Romanian nationalism.
|Meat at the Turkish butcher.|
|And now it is cooked, perhaps too much.|
|Choosing a song at karaoke.|
That night, the hard work of some city workers was made manifest when the snowflakes lights all lit the main boulevard in Constanta.
|Bulevardul Tomis all decked out for Christmas|
|Doing the Romanian penguin dance.|