Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Romania: Non-Sweeps Week

From Kiev, Ukraine; Bucharest, Romania
Today I write from a cafe called "The Atrium" in Sibiu. Greatest hits of classical music play on the speakers. I sip on a Carlsberg. It's blue skied and sunny, with temperatures warm enough to compel me to finally ditch my tattered leather-esque jacket (stuffed into a garbage can en route to the Old Town). Sunshine reveals that the main church here has alternating colored shingles which resemble the back of some exotic species of snake (a gaboon viper, perhaps). The back of the black statue in front of the church is spotted with snowballs hurled by students who go to the school facing it. It's really beautiful. Temperatures may sail up to 10 degrees Celsius in the coming days, which means I might need to head north again soon. :-D A return to Kiev, or perhaps a visit to Estonia, which has long held my imagination. But first I must visit my friends in Iasi, something I greatly look forward to.

I am currently reading an amusing detective novel called "She Lover of Death," by a Moscow writer named Boris Akunin, which is set in 1900.

I have some interesting article ideas, and I have lined up interviews for as early as Wednesday this week. More will be revealed when I finish those pieces.

Over the past few days Cristina and I took a whirlwind tour through some of the top cities in Romania, beginning with Cluj-Napoca, then Sighisoara, and finally Sibiu. If you go only to Bucharest you have not seen the best of Romania. These three cities I mention, along with Brasov, should be your top priorities if you come out here. You cannot fail to fall in love with them. But I will always love the grimy rough-and-tumble of Bucharest and Iasi as well. What can I say? I love Romania.

As for the telenovela that is the Bank of America saga, Bank of America froze my credit card, but then unfroze it when I called in a panic after a failure to get cash at Raiffeisen Bank today. Anyway, I have my cash now. But the big news is that Bank of America may have successfully sent a replacement debit card to Bucharest, my friend Razvan informed me a few minutes ago via SMS.

I realize this entry is a basically a list of facts and places, and that my Picasa page has not been updated with the latest images either. Consider this something like a TV episode during a non-sweeps week. It's informative, it provides an update, and it allows you to stay in touch with where this character is right now. But sweeps week will be upon us soon. ;-)

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