We won! When I say "we" of course, I mean Sport Club Miercurea Ciuc, who finally triumphed in the Romanian ice hockey championship last Friday, winning the final best-of-seven-game playoffs against perennial rivals Steaua Bucharest 4-1. The town is buzzing with excitement, or to be more accurate, there is a faint barely detectable low grade hum, which those attuned to the usual lack of excitement in Csikszereda can just about pick up. It's been a very good season for the team - they also won the Romanian cup, and finished third in their first season in the Hungarian league (I don't know if that makes them the third best team in Hungary - since they're obviously not in Hungary - but that's by-the-by)
Apologies for my lack of posts of late - I have been extremely busy seemingly juggling about 5 balls, and it doesn't promise to get any less busy any time soon. Last week, I was supposed to be in Tashkent, for example, but it got called off at the last minute for unspecified political reasons (quite possibly related to the very recent publication of this book in paperback), and instead I was whisked off to London. A city which I imagine looks much like Tashkent. It was a sunny week and I (as I do when it's sunny in London) was thinking how much I like the city. Of course, it's normally grey and miserable and that's the problem with the place. Still, maybe global warming will solve all that and it will become the Rome de nos jours. Except it would be a Rome in which every other building housed a sandwich shop.
One thing I did find myself moved to comment upon while there was shopping. Now it has come to my attention that shopping has become a leisure pursuit of sorts, a hobby, if you will. Why? What possible pleasure is there to be had in wandering through crowded shops desperately trying to find the one or two things you know you want, with thousands of other harried people, getting in each others way, surrounded by unhelpful shop assistants, people who stop at the moment they get off the escalator, bright neon lighting, and general rampant materialism? It's baffling to me. I mean truly baffling. There are few things I really can't get a handle on, and the enjoyment of shopping is one of them. And I was doing it in the cathedral of English shopping, Oxford Street. Browsing in a small out of the way second hand book shop or record shop, I can understand. Looking for specific items in the heart of London, I cannot.
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