Romaniacs (Part 1)

*Note: Hans said he would do the blog from Prague to Vienna to Budapest. While we wait with baited breath for the blogs I will carry you into the country of Romania. From The golden hills of Transylvania to the post apocalyptic world of Bucharest and onto the party on the Black Sea.


That is where we are. Driving down a remote country road with nightfall fast approaching. Is this going to be another haunted blog? Will peasants with torches run into the road grasping at our car and shouting “Beware the road ahead!”?

It seems unlikely, by unanimous Gobi consent Trannsylvania and its parent country Romania has been the most picturesque since England. In fact, I imagine it is much like England 60 to 100 years ago. The hay is stacked, not bundled, and wrinkled old Romanian couples sit out on their stoops in the setting sun.

We also happen to be in our first convoy with rally members. Hans thinks convoying makes sense but I’m not so sure. One of the teams rear-ended another rally car on day two and the other crew is chain-drinking red bull energy drinks.

Whether or not the idea to convoy was a good one it has been a fun one. It didn’t keep us from getting lost in Transylvania where we ran low on fuel until we arrived at the B.A.D Transylvania petrol station. The afternoon drifted by with the convoy stopping every so often for pictures or to toss the rugby ball around. By toss, I of course meant it was thrown once and never caught. Despite the fact that Red Bull “Gives you Wings” none of our companions were able to fly up and catch the ball as it sailed up into the sky and over a cliff.

“This is the most amazing countryside I’ve ever seen.” said one of the Brits, perhaps the highest approbation a country can receive coming from men who inhabit the most finely cultivated and manicured island in the world.

Idyllic, tranquil, and out of character for this blog. In fact, if it wasn’t for the cities of Romania I would have nothing to write about. Indeed, I would be waxing poetic about traditionally dressed grandmas tending their goats with wrinkled but glowing smiles.

You on the other head would get lead filled eyelids and start drifting off to sleep. “Why aren’t they suffering?” you would ask, “Where is the adventure?”

I assure you my friends, we found plenty of suffering in the cities of Sibiu and Bucharest. The first is where we stopped at the advice of the Adventurists at a sponsored party place where you could camp and get free beer. Darkness had settled over Romania as we entered Sibiu and I wished to be back out with the Vampires which are much less dangerous than Romanian drivers.

I would tell you the name of the bar we were at but it was blasted out of my memory by the loud music and chatter of prim and wealthy Romanians courting one another. Many of these individuals looked a bit miffed at having dozens upon dozens of stinky, dirty, tired, and raucous ralliers descend upon their dating scene.

I wouldn’t call myself asocial and in fact have a strict social regimen where I attend a party on a biannual basis whether I want to or not. However, I’m not a clown for hire and can’t go to a party every night, it’s just not my job.

Hans on the other hand must find chaotic bars extremely conducive to his blogging. Being a bit behind on his deadline he skedaddled into the bar like a kid into a candy store. Roberta did a great job making the social rounds while carrying a beer mug that was large enough to flip over and use as a stool. But alas, she was tired too and it being quite late in the night we retired to the car rather than spend 70 Euros on a room for a few hours.

Oh yeah, camping. The camping was in the roundabout of a busy road and ralliers had pitched their tents around the non-working fountain (aka developing nation fountain).

Roberta and I weren’t having any of that nonsense. We aren’t crass people. If we are going to fall asleep in a tent in a neighborhood full of street urchins smoking stolen cigarettes in a busy roundabout in a country where drivers are dedicated psychotics and near a bar full of angry Romanians, we definitely expect a working fountain.

Instead, we tried the car but the street cleaners were taking a smoking break and sat on the mossy fountain edge facing us.

I gave them my standard “This is beyond awkward” military salute and smile and pulled away to drive down the road and find a quieter spot between some cargo trucks. I was sure Hans would figure out where we went.

I gave my wife a romantic kiss as befit the scenic location and put a towel over my eyes to block out the glaring street lights.

Waking up the following morning I found that I had stretched my legs so that they crossed over Roberta and lay on the dashboard in front of her. I discovered I had also kicked the car into neutral at some point in the night and was relieved I hadn’t forgot the parking brake.

We found the intern was missing and as team captain I rolled over and went to sleep again. “He’ll come home when he is done roaming with the other little puppies.” I murmured to Roberta.

Unfortunately, he came home before I’d quite woken up. He’d been taken in by the Elephant Gynecologist team and spent the night in the back of their car. “Are they elephants who are gynecologists or are they people who do elephant gynecology?” I asked wiping away sleep drool.

“Does it make a difference?” Hans asked, “They are epic.”

I presume it does make a lot of difference but he was right about his new foster team. They are nice gents and more important have taken a liking to him. Thus when he get antsy and wants to taste the local version of Budweiser all night long we can pawn him off to the Elephants.

Still it didn’t explain why he hadn’t camped by the fountain which he was so stoked about. “We got chased out by the police.”

I’ll let him give you the exact details on how that went but speculation leads me to believe that the Romanian cops were confused as to why privileged members of Western Europe, America, and Australia were sleeping in the middle of a road intersection in a developing nation.

I was wondering the same thing as I stiffly walked around getting the car packed. The long night was over.