Back from a quick visit across the Carpathians to Bucharest, but since I didn't get home till about 3am, I'm a bit spaced out today, and not really able to craft the post I want to about one of my experiences there, so instead I'll regale you with some mere trifles
I came a creditable, but distant, second in the AFOE "Best SE Europe weblog" to Dragos's @rgumente which has been around longer and is a lot more "bloggish" and deserving of the award. Felicitarii to Dragos, and gratulalok from Ţara Secuiesc. If you'd like some reading from the region, I'll recommend taking a look as well as at Catherine's Illyrian Gazette which was also nominated. I haven't had the chance to look at the other two, but will do soon. I came nowhere in the best expat weblog one (I have questions about what "expat" actually means, but maybe I'll come back to that later)
The Ice Hockey final is going very badly. Steaua Suki (as they now seem to be called) are 3-1 up in the best of 7 series, and are likely to wrap the thing up in the next game in Bucharest. They don't deserve it (a) because they get only half the number of fans to their games as we do - and that's from a huge city whereas we're in a small town; (b) the decisions have tended to favour them (two disallowed goals in the last two games may have turned both of them in their favour; and last but not least (c) Steaua are owned by the foulest most repulsive man in Romania, that corrupt, racist, bigoted egomaniacal cretin with a Jesus complex, Gigi Becali. The only man in the country who can make Vadim Tudor look like a well-rounded and balanced individual.
In a couple of weeks I'm heading off to Germany to buy a car. I'm not the buyer, I'm just accompanying a friend who is, on some kind of spring road trip. I anticipate lots of crazy hollywood style episodes and adventures, possibly culminating with us driving off a cliff into the Grand Canyon (or Turda Gorge, at least). It's because second hand cars in Germany are reasonably priced, whereas in Romania they are insane - in Bucharest I saw a 20 year old Oltcit driving around with a sign in the window offering it for sale at 1500 Euros. You've probably never seen an Oltcit, unless you've lived in Romania, but trust me, a new one would be barely worth that. There's a 1992 Opel Astra on our street for 4000 Euros. I mean really. It's utterly insane. Even with flying out to Munich, accommodation for a night or two, all the petrol and road taxes involved in driving home, and the tax you have to pay to the Romanian government to import it, you still end up about 1000 Euros up on the deal compared to Romanian second hand prices.