May 25. A visit to Alexandria

Written by Jack van Ommen on May 25th, 2011

Yesterday’s visit to Alexandria whetted my appetite further to see more of this country. So far I have only seen the southern edge of the country, 1075 k.m. (650 miles), a third of the total length of the Danube forms the southern border of Romania. The whole country can fit into the state of Oregon. Alexandria is 28 miles north of Zimnicea. The car ride with Camelia and Alex took us through rich farm land. Wheat, corn, soya beans, vineyards, water melon fields. From the air, when I flew in from Amsterdam, you notice it even more. There are no farms in the farmland. The farmers have to travel from the villages to tend the fields. This is a left over from Ceausescu time. He made all the farmers move into towns and villages and tore the farms down. Similar to the cooperate farms in Russia under the Communist regime. Much of the farm land has been bought up, after the 1989 fall of Ceausescu, by large operators, like Inter-Agro, which is the principal employer for this town.

Transylvania, Count Dracula’s country, in the North is quite different, more mountainous and more industrial the standard of living is slightly better than this southern part of Romania.

Camelia and Alex spent less time in Alexandria than expected and I had just enough time to see the interior of the Orthodox cathedral of Saint Alexander. An impressive monument. Then they took me to see the Gypsie town of Buzescu.

This is where the Romanian Roma show off their acquired wealth. It is hard to describe but the pictures will tell. It is one long street, with wall to wall palaces, with lots of glitter and marble. But there is hardly an occupant in any of them. The owners are still busy accumulating wealth on the piazzas of Italy, the Champs Elysee, etc. They have truly taken full advantage of the open European borders and the Euro economy.

For those of you who have ever been in British Columbia, it reminds me of some of the large ornate Punjab Palaces in the Fraser Valley. Similar wrought  iron work, bright red roofs. And they tell me here that is the part of Asia the Roma came from.

 

 

 

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