Thursday, August 15, 2013

Timişoara Morning

In the morning, about 40 minutes before we arrived in Timişoara, Romania, the ticket men came in to make sure we were all legit. I was. The couple I was with had missed their stop. It was a surprise to them, and a frustration, but it bothered the ticket man most. He flipped out.

He then brought in two young men who sat across from me. After a few minutes they started to talk and once they spoke loud enough, I realized I could understand. That was German, yo! Legit Deutsch!

They were from Vienna, Austria.
They were going to a music festival in the woods.
One was called Balloo – like the Jungle Book character!

They made for really pleasant company and I was grateful to end my train trip with them. It also made me feel competent to be able to communicate in a foreign language, again. I couldn't understand everything the first time, but it's coming back.

The man with the headband knew Haines! At one point he asked where I lived in America and I told him Alaska, as that was the last place I lived and that's where I'm going back to in October. We talked a bit about it and he mentioned Haines, at one point. Haines? That's where I live! We both got pretty excited.

I'm always amazed when I can go to a foreign country and someone will know my small town of less than 1,500 in Alaska.

He knew it for heli-skiing. Then he talked about another mountain in Canada that gets ton of snow. “Baker Mountain.”

“Mount Baker?” I said.

“That's not in Canada. That's in the state where I grew up, Washington – just a short drive away. A group of us used to go there every year.” I told him.

He said that was where he wanted to go. We both got excited again.

Then he mentioned Whistler.... where I've hitchhiked to a few times when I spent a season living on an island up in Canada.

We said our good-byes when we got off the train and then my morning in Timişoara got to begin.

It wasn't the most exciting of mornings. Perhaps not one folks would consider “blog-worthy,” but I've finally got my fingers moving at my own free will and I find it liberating. I'm currently sitting on a second-story balcony in Serbia which I keep trying to write out as “Siberia.”

The only thing I had to do, once I got to Timişoara, was to wait for Stephanie to arrive. Stephanie had a couple things to battle upon coming here. An early morning, a time zone change, a border crossing, getting an uncle and a cousin out the door, a car experiencing difficulties, and regular car traffic.

When I arrive at 7:15 AM, it was still 6:15 AM in Serbia.
I wasn't in a hurry and content, and prepared, to wait for a  few hours.

I set up camp on the front steps of the station and a man immediate decided to befriend me. I let him buy me coffee.

We did our best to communicate about our lives. He found out I was a Christian so he got out this calendar he carries in his pocket and has a Bible verse for every day. He would pick one out and I would read it in English and then we would read the Romanian version together. He works as a missionary at the prisons, I think.

We sang Romanian hymns.

I bought a sandwich with my very, very last lei (lions) and bahni. My debit card hasn't been working in Romania so, after that, I was out. I was really hungry but ripped the sandwich in two because it seemed like he might be hungry too. He was.

After that, he started to ask me for money and when I told him, “No,” (without a debit card working and in a foreign country, I need to hang on to my last few Euros – I live by faith, but also try and stay wise). After I told him, “No,” he walked away.

A coloured in my agenda.
I thought.
And thought.
Four hours passed and the man came back.

He sat by me. I tried to nap.

And then Stephanie, Dean, and Vasa came!
Dean is Stephanie's older cousin and Vasa is her uncle.

Oh jubilations and celebrations! It was so wonderful! Things were coming together, coming full circle.

We hopped in the car and headed to... the mall. Clothes here are significantly cheaper here than in Switzerland. I was treated to a fine lunch. We split a vegetarian falafel something (delicious and satisfying) and a giant box of salad (addicting). She bought a leather jacket and some earrings and even got me a headband!

On the way to the car, there were a series of stands and one caught the eye of Stephanie. They were selling a Hungarian food that I had to try.

When travelling, street foods are my favourites.

The man wrapped dough in a spiral cylinder shape around a wooden rod on a metal stick. Then, over hot coals, he roasted the dough to a dark golden crisp. There was a machine that kept the stick spinning but he finished the baking process off by hand. After that, while it was still crazy-hot, he covered it in cinnamon, sugar, and nuts.

It would come apart in spiral strips and was delectable. The outside was crispy and the inside just barely baked, but certainly not what you would consider to be doughy.

We then drove to the city center. Stephanie and I wandered around. We stopped by the church, saw the center garden, amused ourselves with the pigeons, and enjoyed our last hour or so in Romania.

After 20 minutes or so, we reunited with Vasa and Dean and walked to the old city center.

Most of the time was spent staring at the ground, looking for writing on one of the stones. There was a drunk man and his puppies. It was a sweet town. I like Timişoara.

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