Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bucharest, Day 1.

As expected, the first thing I did this morning was change hotels. The Gara de Nord area is not particularly interesting and it is rather far from city center. Lonely Planet recommends a certain "Hostel Helga", promising free internet and laundry, but as you know the guide is several years out of date and the hostel now is actually called "Central Hostel". It is actually in a nice, quiet residential area about 3 kms from the actual city center, near the Belgian embassy, so it wasn't too bad.

Today I didn't do much. Strolled a bit about the center, getting used to where things were relative to the hostel, rested a bit, not much else.

I'm mostly very tired from the things of yesterday. The incredulity, the wonder, mostly, at having narrowly escaped things: the dogs, the collapsing off the bike out of hypoglycemia, the...motel. The whole transaction-based human interactions, too (I'm going to generalize a lot here, so please don't get offended if you think this does not apply), which I had never really gotten quite used to in the U.S., where they seem to be a common, matter of course occurrence, and thus not a thing to even notice, rather took me by surprise here. I guess I was used to the poverty in the "Latin-American" variety: people don't have much but they will offer you everything. Here, people don't have much, but they will try to get everything from you instead, it seems: you have to constantly be on your guard here. In the U.S. (I'm generalizing, of course), you know people only seek you if they're getting some sort of even mild selfish benefit as a side-effect. But here, it almost seems like you have to be on your guard not to have something torn off you, like you have to defend everything you have tooth and nail; relax a bit, and they will furiously clutch at you, no pretenses, even, to preserve some semblance of politeness, no effort, even, at deceit, at charm, at fooling or seducing you into giving up what they want, but blatantly grabbing as if it were for the taking.

Thinking like this put me, unsurprisingly, in a very bad and melancholy mood.

No comments: