Friday, 19 August 2011

Day 24 in Romania: last day

Day 23 in Romania

My mom's aunt called and said she couldn't see me because she was working. Her husband came instead though with a onesie for the baby. It's for 6 months, which is great since I have a lot of smaller things.

It's hard to believe that it's time to leave after nearly a month here.

I had lunch with my lawyer's wife. It was Italian, ok, nothing special. We were in the non-smoking section which was about the size of a closet since everyone seems to smoke here.

My flight leaves in the evening, so I'm going to take the bus in the afternoon to the airport. I have a layover in Qatar.

It'll be nice to finally get home.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Thursday, 18 August 2011

Day 23 in Romania: lazy day in Bucharest

Day 22 in Romania

My mom's aunt called in the morning a couple times, but I didn't get the call because I was listening to the radio and playing solitaire on my phone and when she called, it just shut off.

I bought some chocolates to take back to Korea and I'm going to meet my lawyer's wife for lunch tomorrow.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Day 22 in Romania: relaxing in Bucharest

Day 21 in Romania

Two more days left, my how times flies. I decided to relax today so I got a pedicure and had my eyebrows done. Supposedly the shop where I went was famous. I got the pedicure then they told me to wait. So I waited, and waited, and waited. I finally couldn't stand it anymore when the guy next to me started to smoke, so I finally asked them. They asked me if I had an appointment. I said no, but I had just had a pedicure. So I got taken to get my eyebrows done. They didn't thread or wax them, just plucked them, but they look great. The pedicure didn't really impress me. I asked for a spa one, but I think they just gave me a regular one.

I went to pay and they just charged me for my eyebrows. I had to remind them about my pedicure. There were probably about 7 other clients there and about 15 workers, most of whom were just sitting around and chatting.

For the record, the pedicure cost about 55 lei about $20usd) and the eyebrows were 30 (about $10 usd). In Peru, a pedicure would probably run about $5 and eyebrows would be $2. In Korea a pedicure is about $20. In the US a pedicure would be at least $60 and eyebrows are around $15 for threading.

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Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Day 21 in Romania: how to mail a package in Bucharest

Day 20 in Romania

I was supposed to meet up with two friends today, but they both cancelled and I'm really running out of things to do in Bucharest. I tried to send my mom the Gerovitals. It was a nightmare. For anyone who thinks that Communism fell in Romania, they should try to send a package overseas.

First post office: The smallest box they had could fit a computer monitor, so I left.

Second post office: Got completely lost trying to find it as everyone kept sending me the wrong way. I ended up in a parking lot at one point. Again, no boxes, but they told me to go to the supermarket and get one. Who'd have thought that post offices would actually stock boxes?!

Supermarket: Got a small box.

Back to the second post office: They don't send packages overseas, but gave me the address of a post office that did.

Third post office: Nope, they don't send packages overseas either. They sent me to another one.

Fourth post office: Went to one line, the sent me to another, which sent me to another. Yea! They send packages overseas. It cost $20 usd to send 3 dinky 50ml jars of Gerovital. I hope my mom gets them, because they took away the package to stuff newspaper in it. Once I signed everything I realised that I have absolutely no idea if the jars are in the box or not.

It only took 4 hours to send a package overseas. Must be a record or something. If you ever go to a post office in Romania, don't expect them to have: envelopes, boxes, tape, glue, scissors, or pens.

For those of you who are interested, here's the address of the post office that will send packages overseas. Good luck finding it, that's the extent of the address on the receipt, though if you ask someone, they should know since it's a big post office. The phone number (I think) is 0800806806
Posta Romana
Bucuresti, Dacia 140, sec 2
Retea Postala CRRP Bucuresti
Bucuresti 3 of Jud B

As a reward I went to McDonald's. I asked for ketchup and they wanted me to pay. Needless to say I didn't. Ketchup should be free.

My husband's passport copy and our marriage cert arrived, but it's the wrong marriage cert. It's the one from before Peru entered the Hague Agreement, so has no apostillise. I'll have to show him where the docs are when I get home. Though I'm estatic that he sent the stuff so fast. We also need him to sign a document saying that I can change my name and giving me permission to register our marriage. Why simplify things when you can make them more complicated? I was told that before Romania was giving Moldovians passports easily and the EU told them to stop. So now they're complicating everything.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Monday, 15 August 2011

Day 20 in Romania: shopping in Bucharest

Day 19 in Romania

I thoroughly enjoyed couchsurfing with the Goduns. They were very kind and I got an idea about Romanian families and life that I wouldn't have gotten by just staying in a hostel.

It's St Mary's Day and Monday so nothing's open. I bought some more Gerovital for my mom and I'm going to try to send it from Romania. It's funny because in the shop windows they have L'Oreal and other brands and the Gerovital is hidden inside the store. Yet any woman I talk to from Romania swears by it. I've bought 3 jars for my mom of different creams and one for me.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Sunday, 14 August 2011

Day 19 in Romania: cooking in Iasi

Day 18 in Romania

I was going to go to the flea market, but was talking out of it by his family because I'd have to get up early and they said that there were usually a lot of gypsies, and it was dirty. However, I learnt how to make ciorba, a delicious soup typical of Romania. Though I don't know if I can find the ingredients in Korea. Anyways, here's how you do it.

You need to saute onions in oil until they get brown.
Then add water, carrots, and potatoes.
Next add goulash (water with wheat hull that you can buy in Romanian markets) or if you don't have that, add lemon.
Finally add the leustean (lovage) and salt.

That's it! It's easy to make and delicious.

Edit: My mom says that her mom used to make dumplings using cream of wheat and an egg. She would beat the egg, next add cream of wheat, then just drop them by the spoonful into the simmering soup. You have to get the consistency just right or the dumplings turn out very hard or they just disintegrate into the soup.

The BBC has a recipe as well. My mom adds green beans and cabbage instead of sauerkraut juice.

We started by: boiling some beef (about 1 1/2 hours)
Then add carrots, celery, green beans, cabbage, onions, salt and pepper. Boil until tender
at the end add lemon juice and parsley. Or you can precooked some onion and rice (fry them in a little oil, then add about 3/4 C water and wait for it to evaporate) before putting them into the raw ground beef.

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Saturday, 13 August 2011

Day 18 in Romania: couchsurfing in Iasi

Day 17 in Romania

Last night I took the night train to Iasi and was met at the train station by Mihai Godun from couchsurfing. I'd never done couchsurfing before. I was going to stay with a woman in Timisoara, but she cancelled. Since I booked my tickets at the last minute to Iasi, I called Mihai and cancelled as well. I had initially contacted him a couple months before, but didn't have the train tickets then. He called me back and said it was no problem, he could pick me up despite me arriving at 6am. He also told me that my entire couchsurfing profile had been deleted. I think someone from the hostel hacked into my account since I had problems with my email as well. I decided to try couchsurfing since it was with a family and they had good reviews. I told Mihai to look for the pregnant woman with a backpack and he picked me right out of the crowd.

He took me all over the city. We saw Piata Unirii, City Hall (where there is a status of a mayor who was mayor four different times), the 17th century St. Paraschiva Metropolitan Church, Trei Ierachi Church (which is under renovation), the Palace of Culture (also undergoing renovation), Traian Hotel (not really built by Mr Eiffel), the Synogogue (undergoing renovation), the National Theatre (undergoing renovation), the Golia Monaster, and the Princely St Nicholas Church (which is very small), Copou Park, and the Botanical Gardens. As for all the building we saw, we just saw the outside, with the exception of the University. Nearly everything is undergoing renovation or closed. I was told that they're "undergoing" renovation and that means that the government asks for money and then pockets it. They keep "renovating" and keep lining their pockets. That explains why lots of buildings are undergoing renovation.

The Botanical Gardens were very, very nice. They put the ones to Bucharest to shame. The rose garden was gorgeous. Timisoara had a nice botanical garden, but only the front was nice. In Iasi, the entire place is breathtaking. It would take a couple days to see everything.

In Copou Park there is bust of the Romanian poet, Mihai Eminescu (1850-1889), near a tree where he supposedly wrote many of his poems. The tree had metal bands around it to hold it together because it was damaged in a storm. Years later, they discovered the tree was still alive, so they took the bands off. It's still growing and flourishing to this day.

We also drove past the first firestation which had a little firetruck. There was a dinky pump and two people would stand, one on each side, and pump water. I'm not sure how well it worked.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Friday, 12 August 2011

Day 17 in Romania: sightseeing in Bucharest

Day 16 in Romania

I went to the contemporary Art Museum in the People's House / Parliment Palace. For a palace, it's pretty run down. The parking lots is all decayed and there are weeds all over the place. Of course, no signs telling you where to go in. Anyways, I got in free thanks to my ISIC card. Though I've worked it out, I've saved just as much as the card cost, so I'm not sure I've really saved anything then.

The art museum is at entrance 4 if you ever want to go. You'll have to put your bags and such through a metal detector, probably because it's the palace, though there were probably about a dozen people, if that many, that I saw in the whole museum. They also have free cubby holes you can lock stuff up in.

There are 5 floors total, again, no signs telling you how to get to the next floor. You have to walk back towards the entrance to get to the elevator. The museum was nice, but I think I'm all museum-ed out. The good news is that they had info in Romanian and English. The first floor had black and white photos from the 1910s-1980s. The second had works by one woman, not a Romanian. Some of her videos were more than odd. In one of her videos she put paint all over her hands, face, and neck. Modern Art, I don't get some of it. The third floor had work by a Romanian artist. I liked it. It was very colourful. most of the paintings had one part that was right-side up and one part that was upside-down. The paintings were very recent, from the last 10 years. The fourth floor had videos and the fifth floor had Romanian comics and a cafe. The first museum cafe! The view was strange, because you can see the whole city, but you can also see how badly the palace needs to be repaired. I had hot choco with whipped cream and a salad. I think it was the highlight of my day.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Thursday, 11 August 2011

Day 16 in Romania: visiting friends in Bucharest

Day 15 in Romania

I went to my friend's house for dinner. She's from Romania, but lived in Belgium for a bit and married a man from there. She was studying a PhD, but never finished. Her husband works on oil rigs or something like that where they have to travel and move a lot. I met her in Peru and she's living in Spain now.

She bought an apartment and fixed it up very nicely. I saw some before pictures and it looked like it should have been condemned. The woman who lived there before got into black magic or something like that. It was a complete disaster. It's fantastic now.

I met her husband for the first time. They just celebrated 10 years of marriage.

There was a weird Russian guy in the dorm at night. They ended up kicking him out the next day.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Day 15 in Romania: more paperwork in Bucharest

Day 14 in Romania

Our old marriage cert is no longer valid since Romania can't understand how we got married in Peru, but have a US apostillisation. So now that Peru's, finally, in the Hague Agreement, I'm going to have to get a new marriage cert. I don't know why they make things so difficult. So I told my husband to send a new one along with a copy of his passport. Though he couldn't find the new ones and sent an old one. I guess I'll have to do it when I get home. He's says it's absurb that I need paperwork and documentation from him. I'm not one to argue with that, but it's what they're asking for.

I also had to go to a notary to give my lawyer a new power of attorney specifically to change my name and register my marriage. It cost about $60. The same thing would have cost a lot less in Peru. I guess now that Romania's in the EU they can charge higher prices, though I think that they probably make about the same as people in Peru.

I was going to go to the train station to reserve my ticket for Iasi, but it's raining, so I'll go another day.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Day 14 in Romania: visiting Brasov

Day 13 in Romania

Brasov was very nice. They have one of the narrowest streets in Europe. Though I hardly think it can be called a street. It's more like an alley or a passageway. It's like that one street in the UK where people in opposite houses can stick their arms out the window and grasp hands. I couldn't even stretch my arms out completely. It was about as wide as my elbow to my other hand. It's called Str. Sforii, the rope street. Nearby was the Synogogue that was supposed to be opened, but wasn't as well as Schei Gate.

I went to the Black Church, which wasn't as ornate as all the other ones I had been too, though I suppose that was good since it meant they used money for other things, like helping poor people. At least I hope they did. The Black Church got its name from a fire. You weren't allowed to take photos and it was very large. It's famous for all its Turkish carpets which are on the walls and pews. It's also got a wooden floor, which probably wasn't helpful during the fire.

On one of the hills around Brasov is a "Brasov" sign similar to the Hollywood sign in California and the Chorrillos sign in Lima. I took a picture of it.

I also climbed to the top of the Black Tower. It wasn't that bad of a climb, maybe 5 minutes. It was great because you had a view of the whole city. I had some French students take my photo. There was also a White Tower, but I couldn't find it. The Black Tower was reached by going along a small road close to a canal, it was nice because there was a cool breeze. It was almost like being in AC, but outside.

Brasov also had free bikes, but they were locked and the shop that gave them out was closed. Yet another ironic thing about Romania.

I ate at a nice restuarant and had pasta. I'm still amazed that being visibly pregnant people ask if I want smoking or non and if I want to have a drink. Though the non smoking sections are few and far between. They had one at Pizza Hut, but other than that, it seems like you can smoke wherever you want.

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Monday, 8 August 2011

Day 13 in Romania: doing nothing in Bucharest

Day 12 in Romania

I took the train back to Bucharest last night and again shared the car with a woman. I also bought my ticket to Brasov. I'm just going to take a day trip there. I know that many people also go to Bram Castle and Sibiu from there, but the trains are just too slow for me to do that.

Since it's Monday and I had just gotten back from a long train journey, I did absolutely nothing other than buy groceries, write in my journal, and read.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Sunday, 7 August 2011

Day 12 in Romania: visiting museums in Timisoara

Day 11 in Romania

We decided to go to the Revolutionary Museum. Supposedly the Revolution started in Timisoara with a priest called Laslo, but I've also heard it started in Iasi. I'm sure every city claims they had something to do with it.

It was a private musuem run by a man who had been shot in the leg during the Revolution. It was small, but had some good photos, drawings by children who had seen the Revolution and some videos. They also had typical museum things, such as flags, medals, and military outfits.

We went back to the hostel and talked about the museum and were told that after the Revolution many people claimed to have been injured in order to get money from the government, so you can never tell if someone had been really injured or not.

The Revolution started on December 16 1989 and lasted until the 21st of December. Ceausescu and his wife were put to death by a firing squad on Christmas Day. Although many people agreed that he should die, they also agree that the trial was unfair and only lasted a couple hours. In 1989 communism was falling all over Europe and people wanted it to happen in Romania as well, but they wanted a good income, like Germany, not like Tiananmen in China.

I went to a small flea market in Union Square and bought a yellow bracelet. The art museum was also there, so I decided to go in. My favourite part was the Baroque Room which took 30 years to complete. It was blue and purple. The walls looked like they had wallpaper, but it was really a painting. It must have taken a lot of patience to do it. They have information in English and women sitting in many of the rooms, who tried to talk to me, but I really didn't understand.

Timisoara is famous for other things besides the Revolution. They were the first city in Europe to use electric street lights and the second in the world after New York. They also had the first horse drawn trolleys. Their buses are nice as well. The bus stops have seats, timetables, route, and information about when the next bus is. Bucharest doesn't have any of that. It's a lot cleaner than Bucharest, but you can still find posters and graffiti on building walls. People also smoke a lot here. Cigarettes aren't that cheap either, about 2 euro.

I leave tonight to go back to Bucharest and promised to keep in touch with Raul and Claudia from the hostel. Maybe someday we'll end up back in Timisoara. If I had a choice, I'd like to open a business and Timisoara and Iasi are the two cities I'm looking at.

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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Day 11 in Romania: glad to be in Timisoara

Day 10 in Romania

The sleeping car was nice. The other person in the car was a woman. The cars are neat becuase they have little sinks that are hidden below the table. They also provide you with a toothbrush, toothpast, shoe shin clothes, and hand wipes. The ticket was a lot more than I had anticipated. People had told me that train travel was cheap in Romania, but I guess it depends on which train you take.

The P is the Personal train and the worst. Next comes A which is Accelerate. Then R which is Rapid and better. IC is for intercity and finally comes EU which is Eurocity. I didn't see any Eurocity ones.

Anyways, mine was a rapid train and a round trip ticket cost about 100 euro, which is a far cry from the 30 that people had told me it would cost. Though you're paying for three things: the ticket, the reservation, and the bed.

I had a map of Timisoara and directions to the hostel. Since I got in around 6am and it was light outside, I decided to walk. I don't really trust taxis. It was a bit hard to find. Getting there was easy, but there were no signs or anything outside. It was a new hostel, they'd only been open a couple months. Luckily, I had the address, so could actually get there.

It's called Freeborn Hostel and it's an apartment. They have 3 rooms, one with a queen bed, one with 6 bunks, and the other with 8 bunks. All nice and clean, huge closets to put your stuff in and you can lock the door. Very bright and airy with lots of happy colours like green and yellow.

It's owned by two brothers. I met one of them, Raul. The other one was on vacation with his wife. Another girl worked there, her name was Claudia and she spoke English very well even though she was still at university. Raul also spoke English very well.

My first impression of Timisoara was that it's much nicer than Bucharest. I took a bit of a nap since I didn't sleep well on the train. Usually I sleep pretty well on trains, but this time I didn't. It's probably because the train jerked around and starts and stops and makes horrible screeching noises when they put on the breaks. Afterwards I went to Victory Square, Liberty Square, and Union Square.

I also saw the Metropolitan Cathedral, which kind of reminds me of a cross between a candy house and a Russian Cathedral. The inside is amazing. I tried to take photos, but they didn't turn out at all. There's gold and ornate details all over the place. They have a gold altar with paintings on the walls and ceilings, statues, but no pews. I guess there were so many people that it was standing room only. They did have some straightback very uncomfortable wooden chairs along the walls though. One thing that I didn't like was how commercial it was. There were candles that you could buy and lots of religious knicknacks from rosaries, to pictures, to postcards and a lot more. They had a priest there for confession too. Lots of people were constantly coming and going and crossing themselves and kissing statues. They're very religious, but it's a bit hypocritical since they don't really take care of their country, at least in Bucharest they don't. You'll see someone passing a church and crossing themselves a dozen times, but then they'll go and litter or pee on the street.

There were two other churches that I saw: The Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church. My mother says her family used to go to Orthodox services and the only thing she remembers is the hard wooden pews, incense, and the 3 hour sermons. At that time you couldn't pray to God, you had to go through the priest during confessions. You also couldn't eat meat on Friday, now you can. It's amazing how much the church has changed when they realised they were losing people. The Orthodox church was closed and the other one had a gate near the back, so I could only go in so far.

There was an older Danish guy who played the stock market and a young Chilean woman who worked in tourism and was travelling for 6 months. The Danish guy was trying to go everywhere in Europe over time. He had about a month of travel time. The Chilean woman said that she didn't need a visa for Europe. Lucky here, Peruvians do.

We decided to all go out to dinner together. We went to a place called Acquarium, which was far away and on the 6th floor. I had pasta and they gave us free pizza, but made us each pay about 1 euro for bread. Still, we couldn't complain, the food was great and the restuarant was fantastic. We were underdressed in jeans and travelling clothes. We went kind of late and it was dark when we walked back. I don't think it was in the best of neighbourhoods, at least it wasn't nice at night. We saw gypsies and a man who was very drugged on glue. Had I been alone, there was no way I would have gone to dinner at that time. Though we were with the Danish guy who was over 6 feet tall, which really helped.

On the way back we stopped at Union Square where there was a free concert. We got approached a couple of times by gypsies, but that was it. We finally headed back home at 11pm.

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Friday, 5 August 2011

Day 10 in Romania: visiting the Village Museum in Bucharest

Day 9 in Romania

My train leaves at night to go to Timisoara so I had the whole day to kill in Bucharest. After more than a week here, I'd had basically seen everything I wanted to see and stuff I didn't want to see just to kill time. Lots of museums and churches are undergoing renovation, so there's some things that I couldn't see even if I wanted to.

I decided to go to the Village Museum and it was by far the best museum I had been to. They had toilets, with hot water, soap, and toilet paper. I couldn't believe it. Anyways, besides that, it was a neat outdoor museum. They had taken typical houses from all over Romania and stuck them in one place. Most of the houses were taken around 1936. All of them were very folksy and some of them were only one room, but they use the space very well. I really liked the museum. They had a decent sized gift shop as well as people selling typical treats and sweets that weren't that expensive. Another thing that was neat was there were lots of school kids there doing crafts and such. They also had artisians selling what they had made. And a small place to eat. I highly recommend this museum to anyone going to Bucharest.

After wandering around for a couple hours, I decided to go to Herastru Park. It was large and safe; they had police on horses. It started to rain a bit, but the trees kept out most of it. They had a Japanese Garden, which was a bit sad. Most of the pond had evaporated, there were no fish or really anything to make it look Japanese.

I had to eat dinner and though I'm against eating at chain stores, it couldn't be helped. I had only seen cafes and the one restuarant I had eaten at before was so smokey I couldn't breath. So I broke down and went to Pizza Hut. I still don't understand how places like McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, and Pizza Hut are considered nice places to eat and are somewhat of a status symbol, but that's the way it is, whether you're in Asia or Europe. In fact, at Piati Romana McDonald's Burger King, and KFC are all right next door to eat other.

I had lasagna and it was very nice, though smokey. I was outside and smoking is allowed just about everywhere. It wouldn't surprise me if it was allowed at hospitals. The person at the table behind me decided to smoke, but at least it was only one person.

I took the cable car to the train station a bit early since I wanted to arrive there before dark. Luckily it gets dark around 9pm. They had a waiting area with a security guard outside. Inside about half the lights were out and the AC didn't really work. Chairs were broken as well. Though I have a ticket on a sleeper, in first class, so it should be nice. There's going to be one more person in the car. I hope it's a woman.

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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Day 9 in Romania: paperwork in Bucharest

Day 8 in Romania

Today I went to the Social Security Registry with my lawyer's wife. Things didn't go well from the start. On the door there was a sign that said they only attend to the public one day a week, and for 2 hours. You just look at these signs and think, this must be a joke. How can government offices only have 2 office hours a week? Yet they do.

So they told us to go back to Sector 1, where we were the other day, and try to register my marriage there. But Sector 1 had sent us here. We were clearly being given the run around. I'm not sure if that's because no one wanted to do any work or they had no idea what to do with me.

Anyways, we found out that my husband has to sign papers to give me permission to register my marriage and change my name. A bit chauvanistic if you ask me.

The good news is that it takes 4 months to do all that. The bad news is that first they have to accept your documents and so far no one has done that.

Sector 1 told us that we had to come on Tuesday at 4pm to put our names on the waiting list and then go on Wednesday to actually talk to someone. Yet when we went on Tuesday at 4pm, they were closed and the security guard said the time to put your name on the waiting list had changed and was now 9am on Sunday. The only thing I can do is shake my head in disbelief and wonder how the heck they got into the EU.

I went to their house for dinner. She's a great cook. I'm jealous. I can't cook worth beans. She told me to buy Jamie Oliver and Harry Eastman's books. Maybe, but if I found the ingredients in Korea, they'd probably be way out of my price range.

I'm off to Timisoara tomorrow. My first of two big trips.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Day 8 in Romania: celebrating my birthday in Bucharest

Day 7 in Romania

Happy Birthday to me! I never imagined that I'd spend my birthday in Romania. It kind of stinks to be alone though. I'm 29 now and the baby is 28 weeks along. I didn't exactly have the best birthday though since I had to deal with Romanian bureaucracy.

We went to the Registry Office for Sector 1. It was supposed to open at 9am. So around 9am they opened the door and quickly closed it. Then opened it again and closed it. No one had been in or out yet. They did that about 4 more times before they actually opening the door and let the avalanche of people in.

Once you got in you had to tell the guy who was blocking the stairs where you wanted to go. So he sent us up to the 5th floor. No elevators either. We get there and the office is empty. We wait and some woman finally shows up. She looks like she's about to go clubbing with fake eyelashes and long, fake nails. We talk to her and she tells us to go back to the other registry office that Yolanda went to on Monday (that registry office sent us here). We tell her that and she offers to call them. She picks up her phone and it doesn't work. It's probably not even connected.

My lawyer's wife says it's typical of Romania. That people don't want to really do anything, so they just send you to someone else or to another office. It probably has something to do with the fact that government salaries were just cut by 25% and taxes went up to 25% from 19%.

So this woman tells us to go down to the basement and push our way to the front of the line. So we do and the security guard won't let us in. Since they won't see us at this registry office, we're going to have to go to the passport office, where they know her and they're nice to her. She says there is a special place for foreigners and that's where she goes with my applicaton. We lug my huge 5 inch file folder out and arrange to meet later.

Of all the countries I've lived and worked in, I've never seen anything like the mess at the registry office. Government offices in Peru are even better than that. And I'm not one to speak highly of Peru.

Since I still had most of the day ahead of me, I decided to visit the 3rd St Nicolas Church near Lipscani, but it was closed. Ironically, it had a government office nearby with tons of people. Nearby Doamnei Church was a Peruvian store. I couldn't believe it. I went in to talk to the owner. He was Peruvian. he says there are only about 40 Peruvians in Romania. He's studying to be a doctor. He's rather old, about middle age, and imports things such as Peruvian chess sets and alpaca clothing to Romania. He complained about the tax hike as well. His shop is called Inca Land. He started off small, selling earrings on the street near Bucharest University and now has his own shop and has to pay 1000 euro a month just for rent.

After talking to him I went to the Romanian History Museum which was nearby, but again, hot, with no AC, and closed windows. It's like they don't want people to actually visit the museums.

I tried to find a good book to read since I had already finished mine on the trip over. Anthony Frost Bookstore was way too expensive and the one next door had cheaper books, but they were all in Romanian.

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Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Day 7 in Romania: churches and museums in Bucharest

Day 6 in Romania

I tried to go to the Natural History Museum, but it was closed for renovation, so I went to the Peasant Museum. It was neat, but not as nice as I thought it would be. It was also very hot and had no places to sit down. There were no toilets either. They had some postcards that I got though.

I also visited the George Enescu Museum, which was very small with only a couple rooms. It's hard to find since it's number 141, but the numbers opposite it are around 200.

I saw another St Nicolas Church, it seems to be a popular name. However, this one is known as the Biserica Alba, since it's white.

My lawyer's wife says that the Romanian authorities want to re-issue all my documents, including my Romanian birth cert since it doesn't have a CNP. They even want to re-issue my husband's Peruvian birth cert in Romania. I don't get the logic behind any of this.

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Monday, 1 August 2011

Day 6 in Romania: walking around Bucharest

Day 5 in Romania

Since it's Monday, most museums and tourist attractions are closed. I went to see Bucharest University near Piata Universitatii, which is the only place that has clean, free toilets. Very nice toilets. And a tourist information centre with maps and people who speak English. Both places are at the underground.

Bucharest University has lots of graffiti on the walls and outside are tons of booksellers as well as lots of construction. I also saw someone very drugged on glue. Never seen that before.

I saw the History Museum, it was closed though. The Coltea Hospital is close by. It's a nice red and white building, but you have to look carefully to see the sign that says "Coltea Hospital". I also found St Nicolas' Russian Church which is supposed to be similar to the Arkangelsk Cathedral in Moscow.

My lawyer's wife went to the registry today, but they closed at 1pm, even though the info on their website says they're open until 5pm. We're going to try again on Wednesday.

Be sure to read about what has happened so far. You can find everything in the quick summary of dates.

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