scared thrilled scared thrill scared thrilled

I find most things in life both scary and thrilling. I suppose I should hope it's always this way, but sometimes it feels like an awful lot of work.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

East is East

Howdy doody to all of you! Here's a brief synopsis of the last week or so since my last post. As Andrea calls it, here is the play by play:
-Budapest is great! I spent two days there walking around with my backpack and the guitar from Linnea and Alicia, which made the most wonderful of gifts for my dad. Thanks girls. He almost cried when I gave it to him. Guitars, apparently, are a bit hard to come by in Moldova. Actually, you could say that about a lot of things. Beautiful city though. I climbed the giant hill carrying all my gear at 6 in the morning, which was a good thing because another couple of hours later and it would have been too hot. I explored the catacombs with Harco, my travelmate, discovering an underground wine fountain (a very bad and smelly idea if you ask me) and a post-modern art exhibit that we didn't think was very funny at all. Fake fossils of computers and coca-cola bottles. Hungarians must have a weird sense of humour. I decided to treat myself to a nice dinner and ended up the only person in a huge restaurant listening to a guy sing "My Way" by Frank Sinatra in Hungarian, playing along on a little casio keyboard. A couple glasses later we were singing together and good pals.
-Took an overnight train to Bucharest. I had a whole sleeping couchette (usually sleeps 6) to myself, and enjoyed the privacy. Passing through the Carpathian mountains early in the morning, wrapped in a blanket against the cold and staring out the window as mountains and forests and sleepy villages rolled by was a proper holiday.
-Got stuck in Bucharest because I wasn't able to get a visa to Moldova. It was impossible to find a room for less than 80 Euro so I ended up staying with this guy Dani who I met while I was playing guitar on the street for two wee gypsy girls. Dani was the nicest Romanian I met, but that didn't make sleeping on the bare floor of his apartment any more comfortable. We spent the evening watching France/Italy, which was fun, but not fun too. Poor guys.
-Finally got a train to Moldova, another overnighter. Spent the evening with two Slovenian guys who had hopped the train and managed not to get thrown off simply by virtue of their charm and good humour, and the mayonnaise and tuna sandwiches they offered to everyone who was hungry. We visited other sleeping rooms, chatting it up with everyone on the train. The train was pretty remarkable, like stepping into a time machine. The windows wouldn't open, which made for a very hot night, but it was clean enough and the company was very pleasant.
-Arrived in Moldova expecting... not much I guess. Turns out it's an absolutely beautiful country, with green, rolling hills and beautiful, noble people. It's very hard for people to make a living in Moldova, so many of them end up leaving the country to find work. This means that Moldova is understood as a place to leave, not a place to go to. The border officials couldn't believe that my parents had actually moved there. In fact, during their move, the border guards told them "big mistake, big mistake"! But as I was thrilled to learn, the place is absolutely wonderful. As the family scout, I feel so much better to be able to tell my brothers and sister that they are enjoying life there, living comfortably, and that there are many people there who love them and are helping them through the difficulties of new country, new language(s), etc.
-Spent the better part of the week hanging out with mum and dad at the English camp they were running outside the city. Good and important times.
-It was also great to run into old-time-friend Debbie Mitchell, who was helping them at the camp, after spending a couple of months in the Middle East. Debbie decided to travel back with me, as she's heading to Prague anyway. So we're back in Bucharest now, being proper tourists until our train leaves tonight. We'll be in Budapest tomorrow morning, play tourist once more then I fly out for Copenhagen.

Enough is enough. Sorry for the play by play. Next entry will be sooner and shorter. I promise.
While traveling, thoughts of friends and family become even more important. Just wanted to thank you all for your place in my thoughts and heart. Take care of each other!



At 7:32 AM, Blogger Hélène said...

hey marty... seems like a nice trip.. I like how you always end up finding a place to stay, even if it´s by playing guitar in the street with gypsies... my trip´s not that crazy but still alot of fun! Enjoy your last times inn Europe!!


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