We had a St. Patrick's Day party Saturday night and had a few friends over. There was entirely too much whiskey. We had raw veggies, and Mark made a sort of random sauce. When the guests came, a few of the guys exclaimed, “Dracula sauce!” It disappeared quickly. They didn't think much of the honey mustard, though.
All in all, it was a good night.
Today we went to the little park and watched the kids play ball among the old ladies sitting on benches. It was amazing that no one got conked in the head. I'm sure sometimes they do.
I opened the front door to our apartment the other day to find a plastic sack hanging on the handle with something heavy in it, which appeared to be a catalog. Upon closer inspection, I discovered it was an Ikea catalog.
When you've been out of the country for a while, there is nothing quite like getting something as familiar as an Ikea catalog in the mail. Ikea is a furniture company that takes modern living seriously. They know people don't have a lot of space to work with.
There is absolutely nothing interesting happening right now, except that some guy is playing with his power tools in the very next apartment. One day he's going to wind up standing right in my bedroom, I think. (We've just seen “X-Men III,” so I'm very concerned with people coming through walls right now.)
Yesterday, Mark and I stood out on the balcony and watched sea gulls fly around the courtyard. They took turns perching on the building across the way and flying in circles. Pretty graceful birds, those. We're going to turn our balcony into a game room.
There is a dove outside my window this very minute, you know. It's been a few days since I've interacted with them. Maybe I should leave some bread. They could be planning something.
They may like one of the pretzels we bought yesterday at a little walk-by shop in the piata. We weren't thinking of the doves when we bought them, though. We were thinking about the 3-cent street pretzels we saw in the travel books two years ago. They aren't 3 cents anymore. We did the math. They're 10 cents now, and climbing. Anyone who wants to see Old World Bucharest had better hurry.
My mother always told me not to talk to strangers. In fact, there is even a Rick Springfield song about just that sort of thing. It's called, “Don't Talk to Strangers.” Or at least he did. A long time ago. It's a very creepy song in retrospect.
Neither my mother nor Rick Springfield said anything about cooing to strangers, however. They said absolutely nothing about what could possibly happen if you stood on the balcony in the middle of Bucharest, Romania, and imitated the cooing noises of the local doves while leaving breadcrumbs.
As it turns out The Girls were in Taverna Veche even as Mark and I stood outside thinking the place was closed. They were downstairs, in another dimension, where people dance till they drop.
Sometimes negotiating Bucharest is a bit like negotiating J.K. Rowling's wizard world. You just have to know how to get in between places, and into other places that don't seem to even exist. And riding in a taxi is an awful lot like riding the Knight Bus. Actually it's exactly like riding the Knight Bus, but without the talking shrunken head.
We weren't chasing actual geese. We were chasing a small flock of Romanian girls.
That so doesn't look right on the screen.
As you know, Mark and I find ourselves back at Butterfly Villa, the hostel where we lived for several weeks when we first arrived, semi-often. Not nearly often enough, but that's another story. Anyway, when we went to try to catch up with the guy who's won the Longest Butterfly Villa Resident Award, we found him missing, kidnapped by his brother and not due back for a while.
Vlad the Cameraman sat trapped in El Comandante. He wanted to leave, since the music he'd come to hear wasn't going to be played after all. But since, previously unknown to him, his colleages were the reason it wasn't going to be played, he couldn't very well leave without seeming very moody at the very least. So there he sat, turning the thing around in his brain, lamenting the lack of a back door or windows of any kind, while assuming some solution would present itself and that he could perhaps sneak by the table without being noticed.
Sometimes you stumble into things. Sometimes you stumble into things you wouldn't have stepped into on purpose. Sometimes you get trapped there.
Last night, Mark and I were convinced we were on our way to a goth night. We were convinced of this because the bar El Comandante, the owner of which is very attached to the famous image of Chez Guevara, has been in the habit of allowing a handful of rogue DJs provide “goth” music for the handful of us in Bucharest who like to go out and listen to it with other people of like minds. This generally happens on Monday nights, from 7 p.m. onward.
Spring seems to be here. I am, however, very suspicious of spring-like weather because of cold snaps. I don't know if Romania does cold snaps. “Cold snap” doesn't seem to want to jump over the language barrier. The phrase is a bit like a three-legged sheep trying to clear a barbed-wire fence. Conversations in which it makes an appearance tend to get a bit messy and more than a bit off-track.
Regardless, it is nicely sunny today. That means it's partly cloudy and the sun goes away periodically. On top of all of that, the wind doesn't appear to be blowing particularly strongly.