Friday 13 May. Bad News, but wait, now the Good News

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 13th, 2011

I saved this for Friday the 13th. 3 days ago, after being here a week, I found out that my Hotel rate has gone up by 550%. From $ 9 to $ 50.

Granted that the $ 9.00 was a steal. This was arranged by the manager of Zim Tub, where I am hauled out. The Hotel also belonged to Zim Tub. But things move fast in Romania. The director of Zim Tub has been replaced and the hotel was sold. There was a rate schedule posted when I checked in but for me to read it I would have needed to jump over the desk or have my binoculars around my neck. The hotel called my friend and interpreter Camelia to bring me the bad news.

My daily Social Security check leaves me $ 5.00 after paying the $ 50.00 hotel rate. Camelia has been trying to find me a rental room, but no luck yet. So, I just told the desk that I am moving out tomorrow. I can sleep, cook on the boat. Showers, internet, etc., might be a bit of a compromise. But the view from “Fleetwood” on the Danube is a whole lot better, judging by the below picture and the picture earlier in the week. When I was paying $9 here in November, I did not mind that I had to make my own bed and have the sheets and towels changed once a week, short showers in almost cold water. But now I have hot water in the evening only and I take my revenge instead of worrying that I’d bankrupt the place.

Today was a a gorgeous day, in the mid seventies. It is supposed to get into the eighties this weekend. Wednesday thunderstorms, yesterday clear blue skies and then black clouds and heavy showers. I had sanded parts of the clear finished transom and I had to quickly cover it with plastic. The dirt roads became a mud bath. The stray junk yard dogs on my heels trying to outpeddal them had the wheels spray cover me with the Danube clay.

Every evening Camelia cooks me dinner. She is a fabulous cook, I am particularly fond of her mixed salads. Romania has the best fresh vegetables assortment.

Progress is slow. My favorite disc sander, Porter Cable orbital, broke down and there are just no parts/repairs available here. I spent the morning on making up a new part and then it turned out that the motor had shorted out. Monday my grinder burnt out, Toma, the boat builder here, took it to fix and I have not seen him since. I bought two packs of 80 grit open face sandpaper in Sneek. Do not ever buy Brazilian sandpaper from Nestor! The backing is one step up from toilet paper. It lasts 1 minute in the orbital sander. And I am up the creek here trying to find replacements. When I tried to disassemble the Vetus engine cockpit controls, in order to refinish the cockpit, a cast aluminum part busted. I do not understand how a brand like VETUS sells me an expensive contraption that is used in the cockpit exposed to the elements with dissimilar metals like steel and aluminum.

What a difference an evening makes. I just came back from dinner at Camelia. She came to the rescue again. She has made arrangements for me at the summer camp, half way between the port and Zimnicea. I can stay there for $ 7.00 a day. It is very basic with a bed and shower. I will give more details after tomorrow. A friend of her, Stefan, will come at 9 in the morning with a car and help me move my gear from the hotel. In 3 weeks the childrens summer camps start and I may need to find other arrangements again. But by then I should be close to launching again.

The warm weather has brought the whole town out in the streets and the park. Men having a beer. Children playing. Teenagers parading. The moon is getting close to full.

View from hotel Danubia

 

 

 

 

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