November 11th, 2010

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Nov 11 Veterans Day in Bucharest

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

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Yesterday, with Camelia’s help and translations, we came to a very reasonable agreement on the storage conditions at Zim Tub. “Fleetwood” will be brought inside a large hangar and be protected from the weather. They will also let me work on the boat in the hangar, on my retrun next spring. There is no Ace Hardware or West Marine nearby so I will need bring all with me from Holland and the USA. I need to repaint the bottom and hull and replace the rub rails. And I will probably take advantage of the ideal inside storage to remove the leaking teak deck and replace it with plywood and also refinish the interior and the house and cockpit. So, as has happened to me before, there is often a silver lining to a dark cloud moving across my horizon.

The bus to Bucharest left at 6 a.m. and I checked my heavy back pack in at the Gara du Nord and walked to the center of Bucharest. I found a Starbucks and that meant I needed to buy a Bucharest Starbucks coffe mug for Lisa’s enormous collection. The tall Late costs about $ 4.00, four times the price elsewhere in Romania for a similar Cafee Lunga. The same Yuppee type of clientele as in the US. Camelia, my travel agent, translator,hostess, promoter, cook and friend made all the arrangements to be sure I would make all my connections and not come back for another shipwreck period in Zimnicea. She is storing the valuable gear from the boat and the Klapfiets till I return.

Bucharest is not a particularly attractive city. The picture is taken on the main square. Victoria square. The banner on the taxi is part of many of the protest that are staged here. The Romanians are not very happy with the way their elected rulers run the economy here.

I stand corrected. My friend Howard Richardson, who is older and more travelled than I am, liked Bucharest. It turns out that Victory Square is not the real center of Bucharest. By coincidence I asked directions to the bus stop for the airport, after I had collected my heavy back pack from the North Station baggage check in. A fast talking Bucharesto convinced me into taking a ride in his pseudo taxi after we came to 25 Lei from his initial 50 Lei. This is around 11 a.m., then 5 minutes later he gets a call for another ride. He asks me when my flight is. We have time. He picks up his two college professors near the parliament building. Photo below taken through the windshield. But this part of the city around Republic Square was more like Budapest. Nice 19th and early 20th century architecture. Churches, parks. Five star Raddison, etc. So, I stand corrected. I’d like to see it again on a Spring day.

The Parliament building is only second in size to the Pentagon in Washington D.C.  It was one of Ceausescu’s follies. Over the dead bodies of his enslaved during the Communist era.