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.

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


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