A Perfect Day

11 mai 2007

Oh my goodness, I am literally writing this to you from paradise.

As I said yesterday, I made it to Brasov, down from the mountains. I’ve always loved this city and I recommend it to everyone who ever even thinks about coming to Brasov. But today is especially gorgeous because it’s out first warm day of the year! It’s been somewhat warm and sunny in the south but in Transylvania up until now it’s been somewhat chilly and dreary. Today however is deliciously warm and the sun is shining and the water in the fountain is simply sparkling.

Up in the mountains I was crouched up in the attic trying to get a weak signal. Here in the central square in Brasov (within spitting distance of the famous Black Church) I have three different free wi-fi signals to use to upload this. What more could I ask for?

I’ve got my charger now from America (thanks!) and it works perfectly. I am now back to using my beloved Mac laptop and I feel truly liberated. I’ve been able to keep up with my day job and still have time to sit here and soak in the rays and watch the foot traffic and enjoy an absolutely perfect day.

I’ve also got my camera and I will do my best to try and upload these photos so you too can share a little slice of paradise with me ;) I’m still kind of new to the Mac so I’m tinkering around with image editing software but when I get it straightened out I will begin putting some more photos online. I also know this blog now has a photo page feature and I will try and get that working as well. Just be patient a little bit more and we’ll be "cooking with gas" once again.

Here’s a little tip for any American tourist in Romania: if you’re desperately homesick for the same kind of weak, burned, coffee you’re used to, then buy your coffees in the American fastfood chains like KFC or McDonald’s. That is my recommendation if you can’t handle the superbly brewed espressos made from real Arabica beans that they sell for half the price in delightful sidewalk terraces and cafes here ;)

I almost feel like a local as yesterday I saw a poor, dazed Australian tourist walking around with a Lonely Planet guidebook open and was having serious trouble finding a pensiune (small inn/hotel) in town. There’s nothing better than both helping out a fellow traveler as well as being able to give directions.

For some reason (and I’ve got my theories), most Romanians are genetically incapable of giving even the most simple of directions even to a place they know well that’s in a city they’ve lived in all their lives. It always used to frustrate me greatly that I would ask people where something was and get vague, incomplete directions, replete with Communist-era street names (which haven’t been used for 18 years now) and references to local nicknames for buildings. Therefore there’s some kind of inner righteousness that gets satisfied whenever I’m able to give someone directions somewhere, with double brownie points for when I do it in Romanian language for a Romanian ;)

If you’re planning on coming to Brasov or anywhere else in Romania, I recommend you look for maps online before you come. I don ‘t have the link with me at the moment but I do know there are several good city maps online including with searchable addresses (for Cluj I’m sure this is true).

If paper maps are your thing, the best place to find them is in the nicest bookstore in town. The word for bookstore is libraria (library is biblioteca) and there’s always one somewhere in the heart of downtown. You’ll be out of luck if you’re trying to find one of a city different from where you are (i.e. a Cluj map in Brasov) but you generally can find one of the town where you are.

If you’re a true techno geek, there are GPS maps online for Bucharest so you can both see where you are and find out where you want to go . Considering the insanity that is Bucharest, the GPS thing is probably a good idea. I haven’t tried it yet but I do know it is available. I don’t really get into the whole GPS thing since I’ve got a fairly good inborn navigational system but I haven’t tried getting around Bucharest on my own either ;)

After this weekend, I’m not sure what my plans are. I’ve got some work to take care of while I’m here (even with wi-fi in the house where I’m staying) and then I’ll probably head back to Cluj for a while because I’ve got some local stuff to take care of, primarily getting my long-term visa and for that I will need some help.

So that’s it for now but I will be updating a lot more frequently now that I’ve come down from the mountains (literally). I loved the peace and quiet and natural setting up there but sometimes it’s nice to be in the city where there are stores, phone cards and high-speed internet available.


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