Joe Mabel > Travel writing > Letters from Romania 2001-2002 > Chickens Nest and So Do I

Chickens Nest and So Do I

28 Feb 2002

Not as much to report as usual, because I've been "nesting" in my new apartment. Four successive nights I've had dinner at home (and anyone who knows me well is aware I rarely do that even in Seattle).

I can see I am going to love the terrace. I've been sitting out there a bit even now, while the weather is relatively cold, (nights still getting down close to freezing): it's a big terrace (bigger than my living room in Seattle - or here, for that matter), high enough up to be basically past any streetlamp glare so I can see stars. It's on the 8th floor, which is to say 10th by US usage: there's a "Parter" (ground floor) and a "Mezanin" (don't imagine I have to translate that) below floor 1. I have a few chairs for the terrace, and a built-in bench. About 90 degrees of the view is into a good hunk of the city; the rest is nearby buildings of about the same height as mine.

Inside, it consists of two roughly equally sized rooms, with simple but decent modern furniture, (a bedroom and a living/dining/kitchen room) plus a large bathroom. The people I'm renting it from are working on getting me a washing machine (to go in the bathroom), which would be welcome. Total is probably about 650 square feet. Please don't be the next to ask what I am paying for it: the short answer is, "too much by local standards, but it's still a lot cheaper (and nicer) than a hotel." The short-term rental market here is not the most efficient market, but the people I'm renting from seem to have their act together.

On one side, the building opens directly onto Park Cismigiu (but I do not have a park view). On the other side, a series of staircases lead through a number of breezeways to a city street (Strada Brezoianu). New Yorkers: think Upper West Side. The rest of you: think New York.

So far it seems relatively hassle-free, as things here go, which is to say:

Meanwhile I've gotten myself some basics like:

So I've been sitting home reading, playing the guitar, stuff like that.

Monday I'm supposed to have my first systematic lesson in the Romanian language from a young woman named Andreea Golofca (a very Romanian spelling of a not-very-Romanian name). She is a language student at one of the local universities, and has taught English to a lot of Romanians, but this is her first attempt at this way around (much less demand). Her father is a friend of Sasha's and he hooked us up.

OK, so it's not the most exciting things I've had to write about, but at least I haven't forgotten you all.

Before I close out, maybe I can be more exotic for you. Yesterday, I was back to the market at Obor to buy the abovementioned basics. Even the first time I'd been there I'd noticed live chickens for sale, but I'd missed the ducks, geese and turkeys. I also hadn't thought too much about how a city-dweller gets a live chicken home. Would you believe in a barely-large-enough purse? And would you believe that the chicken seemed rather calm about it?

I couldn't help wondering whether it was dinner or a source of eggs.

And I still don't know how they get a goose or a good sized turkey gobbler home.

Pe curind,
Joe


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Originally written: February 28, 2002
Last modified: November 9, 2003

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