09 May 2011

romania on my mind ... continued

day five ...

ahh ... much better sleep last night. i woke up still tired, but did feel like i'd gotten a serious chunk of shut-eye. i set out for my 5 or so km run this morning, and did heed advice and headed into the city as opposed to away from it. still, no other runners, and people looking at me like i had two heads. could've been my lime green shoes.

doug had a late night in târgu ocna , but we made it for breakfast just after 8am. marian and his youngest daughter analise joined us, and all was great - until we went to settle the bill with the innkeeper. none of us had enough cash, neither my debit nor my credit card worked there. we scrambled until marian's church credit card cleared the transaction - but then we had to hit up an atm to make sure we were square with the church before hopping the train back to bucharest. residents in bacau (and even most of romania) do not have a lot of money, and the churches (at least protestant, non-state) are in the same boat. but all debts were paid, and we shared hugs with our friends before hitting the rail back into the big city.

train rides in romania still rank among the best train experiences i've had. even the trip back into bucharest ... for a while doug and i worked on trying to figure out our expenditures on this trip, all the while sitting across from an old romanian man who was occupied talking on alternating cell phones (he had two on him). after about two hours, he taps us me on the arm (having noticed that i was taking photos along the way) and pointed to a memorial-type structure in the distance and says, "that is a very important location for romanians because of the first world war".

ai yi yi ... i hope we didn't say anything inappropriate in english. he'd have understood every word.

as it turns out, the location was where the romanians took a stand against german forces in ww1. but more interesting than that was this 75 year old retired economist, who had travelled much of europe and india, and who spoke six different languages. he was filled with anecdotal and personal stories, and shared about his beliefs about living the christian life.

what a great guy.

arriving back at the golden tulip in bucharest, we settled into our rooms, only to be eager to go on the hunt for covrige - the now-beloved romanian soft pretzel. we walked down to see the romanian pariiliament buildings (it's enormous - probably viewable from space) and meandered back through a very pretty park, complete with an albino peacock.

dinner was at pizza mania, which was part out-of-the-way-family-run-restaurant and part international food chain. whatever it was, the penne alla diaviola hit the spot. and over supper we reflected on what was most meaningful/memorable to us on this trip: for doug, it will have been the serendipitous encounter with alexandr onthe train today; for me, it will have been encountering so many talented and passionate young adults who have been ostracized from their communities and countrypeople on account of their faith, who feel now that they must find their destinies in another country.

alright - bus schedule to the airport has been figured out. now it's time to wind down, prep for my final 10k intervals run tomorrow morning, and pack up to and bid adieu (somehow that doesn't sound quite right) to romania.


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