Friday July 1st. The usual snags when working on a date line.

Written by Jack van Ommen on July 2nd, 2011

Friday:

It started raining early in the morning and continued through most of the day. The flexible coupling arrived yesterday and I was able to pick it up this afternoon. But I have no clue as to how it atttaches to the shaft. I have sent messages to the supplier, no luck yet. The other item in the package was a replacement part for the gear shift. It had broken when I tried to take it apart for the cockpit painting job. Combination of two dissimilar metals in saltwater conditions. They sent the wrong part. So, I may have to work with ropes and pulleys till this is resolved.

It takes 11 hours by train to travel the about 5 hour car drive from Zimnicea to Calafat. So, I have abondened that plan.

Housing in Romania: You have seen some of my pictures of the typical 4 to 5 story apartment blocks. In Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, etc. These were all built prior to 1989 under the communist rule. The regime moved people from the farms and individual private homes into these identical ugly apartment blocks, to have better control over them and since they provided the housing they figured they’d be happy to work for the state for peanuts.  When the communist regimes in Romania and neighboring countries crumbled in 1989 the occupants were given the opportunity to purchase their units. Cheap. Camelia tells me that she paid for their flat with 5 monthly pay checks.  But there does not seem to be any system to provide any kind of service to the common areas of the structures. This might already have been the case in the pre 1989 period. Every owner is on their own for their units. You call your own plumber, electrician. There is no one else who cares about the roof, the stairs, the lighting, the cleaning, maintenance, painting. In the case of my friend’s Camelia’s apartment you enter the building through a beaten up steel door, step over the pigeon poop and since there is no light on the stairs you are spared some of the distractions. Thank God, the Graffiti craze has not touched the youth here yet. Because there are plenty of abandoned, parts of or entire, apartment blocks, rust belt factories, etc. Many of these blocks were built here prior to 1982 and after the big 1977 earthquake, that destroyed many of these, then, poorly built structures.

But once you are inside the individual flats it is a different world. The heating is a large ceramic tiled wood stove that also is used for cooking when the heat is on. Everyone cooks on propane gas bottles. But there is city gas coming here soon. A friend of hers moved away but kept her apartment in town. The roof leaked and the entire interior is ruined. There is no one for redress of her problems. In some more urban centers, like Bucarest, the individual owners have formed owner associations for the individual apartment blocks.

Saturday: I put the first coat of anti-fouling paint on the bottom. Then I spent the rest of the day trying to fit the new flex coupling. With the new cutlass bearing the shaft does not give a millimeter, like it did in the worn bearing, and it does not line up very well with the engine coupling. Most likely the cause of the drive shaft coming loose last October. So, I’ll have my work cut out to try and re-align the engine. The problem with the wrong part for the engine controls in under control, but will probably delay my departure till the  week of the 10th. The company in Holland is sending me an entire new control system at their cost but still over $ 300. This is the third VETUS system in the 30 years of her life. I replaced the first one in Durban for similar reasons, dissimilar metals. This time it is just a small tube of cast aluminum that attaches to the stainless steel shift handle….

 

 

 

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