I just had to mention this about the hotel. They play American dance music in the restaurant all the time…VERY LOUD!!!! I’m down in the lobby right now at 6:30 am waiting for breakfast that starts at 7. It is so cranked up I can barely hear myself think. Did I mention I’m in the lobby and not actually in the restaurant? It must be deafening in there right now.
It’s kind of strange. We haven’t seen another guest in the hotel the whole time. Neither John or I have seen anyone in the restaurant for breakfast or dinner. No one in the lobby, and no one in the hall. But plenty of workers to take care of us. Right now there are four guys getting the restaurant ready for breakfast. Seems a bit much!
This morning we walked to church. On the way we stopped into an Orthodox church. It was visually overwhelming with every surface painted with iconography and incense in the air and everything was sung or chanted. There were no seats except for a couple of benches for the infirm. Everyone just picked a place and knelt. We stayed for about 5 min and then went on to our church. The church building was fairly nondescript and inside were just white walls and a tile floor and a balcony where we sat at the back so that we wouldn’t distract everyone with the translation. The song melodies were familiar hymns and contemporary choruses and I was starting to understand how to pronounce Romanian a bit better by the end and what the different marks on the vowels and under T and S mean.
It was a huge contrast with the Orthodox church. From the format of the service to the visual look of the building and probably to the hearts of the congregants as well. Christina is a roommate of our translator Cami and she grew up in an orthodox church. John noticed at one point while we were walking between churches how much everyone was gesticulating and I was asking what the flowers were for that one boy who looked to be about ten was taking to the front. She said they were singing prayers for dead relatives and for the heroes of Romania. Then she said something that took us back a bit. “They have now idea what they are doing or why. If you ask them they will tell you ‘because we have always done so. We are preserving the faith’. She said the priest would most likely tell you the same answer, ‘Because it is so.'”
She said she did the same things, going through the same motions and singing the same chants for years and never had any idea what it was about.
After the 2 hour service we went to lunch at a restaurant that serves more typical Romanian food. John ordered pig tongue and he let me have a bite. We both agreed that it was very tasty and unbelievably tender.
We made it and so did all of our gear! After meeting our translator and her friend at the airport we stuffed the four of us and all our gear into her little Dacia (we had to sit on some of the luggage the car is so small!) and headed to our hotel. We checked in and then went out to dinner. I had Romanian trout (the whole thing, head included) and John had some tasty cabbage rolls. We were in bed at 10:00, which was 3 pm Orlando time but we both went to sleep right away. I woke up this morning at 6:30 so it looks like I’m already adjusted and won’t have any jet lag.
We are going to go to the office this morning to check it out and then we’re going to our translators church.
Bucharest is very crowded and grey. All the buildings are the same unpainted concrete. I don’t dare walk out of the hotel and make a turn on any street since they all meander around and look totally identical. The good thing is that if I take a left out of our hotel it’s a ten minute walk to the People’s House without making any turns. So if I go out for a run I can go that way and make a loop around the second largest building in the world! (photo from Wikipedia)