Sunday, June 30, 2013

Middle-of-Nowheresville, Transylvania

--is actually a really happenin' place!

Okay, so Odorheiu Secuiesc isn't a major city or anything, but it does have a full town (that I will be seeing tomorrow during orientation) with cafes and shops and banks and three hotels and everything!

Also, it's technically in Romania, but the people here consider themselves true Hungarians. They speak Hungarian, have their own flag which is separate from both Hungary and Romania, and strongly dislike being addressed in Romanian in any way. So my Romanian phrase book and culture/travel guide are just a little bit useless, since it's not really properly Romanian here. And I was dumb enough to not buy a Hungarian phrase book at home, something I regretted being in Budapest; I am seriously regretting it now.

Also also, we're now at 7 hours time difference. It is 8.49 pm here as I write this in beautiful Transylvania

Lots has happened since my last post, which was slightly melancholy. I'll try to sum it all up:

  • Dig girl (AJ) and I took a tour around Budapest on one of those hop-on, hop-off buses and it was really wonderful and I need to do everything but I'll only have a few days when I go back and it's so frustrating that you never have enough time to see everything
    • Sidenote: I am so winning at yellow car, parentals and Danes. The sheer amount of yellow cars in Budapest! And I've seen a fair share in Romania too! 
  • But we did manage to make it to a proper Hungarian restaurant (you know, one that gets advertised, but is a very local thing) to have goulash and some chicken dish that was yummy (and also had liver! are you proud of me yet?)
  • Also, we found a bar that served Strongbow!
  • Then headed over to Keleti train station to meet up with our group and get on the train
    • I get nervous when meeting up with people I've never met in a strange country, so I was a little bit stressed, but we managed to find everyone and it was really nice
  • The train! Oh god, the train. Okay, Uncle E, I'm sure it's actually really lovely, but trying to fit 6 girls and all their luggage in a tiny space while tired and needing to pee is a feat. Especially when the original compartment has the two beds high up, and then six seats (three on either side) where the cushion for the back of the seats flips up to settle on a couple little poles to make the middle beds. And especially when everyone packed with huge bags. And when there's no room for your bags, so you manage to fit them both at the foot of your tiny bottom bunk, which should be fine because you like to sleep curled up anyhow, but you forgot the part where everything you will ever need for a 12 hour trip is inside those two bags and it is very very hard to get things out of them. Sigh. 

  • Finally made it (about an hour late; apparently trains are always late in Romania. Apparently, Romania time is much slower and leisurely than American time. Like Italy time or island time, according to some of the girls) to Sighisoara, which is really interesting. I want to explore it. 
  • Took a bus for a very long way for quite a while through the Middle-of-Nowhere township. The colors remind me of home (dark green trees on the mountains, especially), and the shape reminds me of the English/Welsh countryside (rolling hills and fields and farms, etc) though the texture and vegetation are much different and the sky reminds me of London (overcast, with variations of grey playing in the clouds). 
  • The towns are very...cute? It's not quite cute. It's not English villages or French cottages. They are a very serious people and their houses are surprisingly bright-colored, so it's all a bit interesting. Electric blues and bright yellows and red brick tiled roofs. Lots of churches. Lots of feral dogs. Tiny, practically one-laned streets (England flashback!)
    • There was one scene that would have made a particularly good photo, if I had caught it in time: a car parked on the side of the dusty road, with a wagon pulled by horses approaching it
  • The town of Odorheiu is actually fairly cosmopolitan for what we've seen of Romania. There are nice shoe shops and parks with fountains and lots of nice restaurants. I'll be seeing more of it tomorrow and can give you a full run-down, but driving through it was impressive. 
  • However, the hotel for the diggers is on the outskirts of town (probably because the dig is even farther out) and it's very, very nice, but it's a ~40 minute walk into town. It took us ~10? minutes to get to dinner tonight, and that wasn't close to town. 
  • After putting our stuff in our rooms, we went downstairs for Andre's welcome. This was a shot of palinka (local Hungarian/Romanian moonshine, basically) (also, sidenote, my first shot of anything at all) and it was horrible. Oh god, it's SO DISGUSTING. Why do people do this to themselves? And the girls who have been here for a few weeks actually like it. UGH. 
  • After that, he gave us a dessert palinka, which was flavored something vaguely fruity and tasted a bit like cough syrup, but was much easier to get down.
  • After unpacking and bonding with our roommates for a little while, a bunch of us went to find dinner, which consisted of
    • Transylvanian goulash (different in that it's not a soup, but more of a stew? Not at all soupy/watery, and more of a sauce)
    • "pancakes," which is basically the Romanian version of crepes, and which were absolutely delicious, stuffed with vanilla ice cream and bananas and some sort of fruit-based drizzle on top

The two girls I'm rooming with are definitely more like me, in that we all need some down time after being social all afternoon (and, well, for me, I've been social since Friday evening, since AJ and I were together and then I was stuck with people in a train for 12 hours and now I'm here). 

That's one thing I am worried about, the social aspect. Some of these people are very, very extroverted people; always craving new experiences, new stories, new gossip. And that's good! I'm just...not exactly the same. Remember when I was in England? This is the same story. But I'll be forced to be social and AJ's a bit like Bella in that she's definitely a do-er and she'll push me to do things like Bella did; and then I can just say I need some me time and be alone. Write down the day, and type it up, and say hello to you guys and read. And it will be good. I have a feeling I will majorly need some alone type after we actually start digging. It's probably going to be way more exhausting than I think. 


(Hungarian for thank you; pronounced kur-sur-num, with French-esque hidden r's; shortened to kursey which we said a lot at dinner, both to teach one girl the word and to thank our kind waitress. I know that and nem which is no and a bad word to say to aggressive Romanian men, should I need it, but that's about it. I should really remedy this.)

No comments:

Post a Comment