The Waiting Game

30 Jun

I’m on a train heading to Brasov, Romania. Its foggy, but the mountain views are spectacular, such lovely little houses with a nearly Alpine look. Yes, the scenery was definitely spectacular…until the train stopped. We’ve been delayed for almost 45 minutes in what appears to be a town, or at least a station, called Comarnic. This delay is not surprising considering my experience with transportation today. I should start by saying that I’m not actually annoyed, it’s too early in the trip for that! I’m content to sit wide-eyed and mute, soaking my surroundings and staring at people.

So after our flight landed an hour late, I had a chance to check out Bucharest’s Banasea airport. Home to various European budget airlines, this facility is ramshackle at best, basically made up of a couple of paint-chipped hangers limply advertising Romair. For a moment, as the lady at the info office attempted to explain the incredibly complicated directions to the bus station, I thought I would never get out of that crowded miniature Flughafen. Knowing that the state of the woman’s bathroom would only deteriorate, I boldly followed her directions while every portly man I passed whispered ‘taxi,’ pimping the taxis in front of airports that every guidebook warns you against taking. Rip-off city.

The bus station was down the street and across a busy highway, in front of what appeared to be a pastry stand. Many people were devouring skinny pretzels soaked in poppy-seeds, I’ll have to remember to try one before I go. Anyway, the bus came and was packed. Completely. A man took my plastic bus pass and scanned it for me. I went with it. I guess that was his job, although I def clutched my pack and wondered how I might be about to get ripped off. Better safe than sorry, I suppose. I then completely missed the stop for the train station, thinking that it was at the end of the line. It’s difficult not speaking Romanian! In the end, the middle-aged people who were left on the bus instructed me to go to the nearby metro. Easy enough. Of course, as my line was just two stops away from the train station, a voice boomed over the speaker system repeating a word I understood ‘accidentsi’, something as such, and everyone looked annoyed as they exited. Flustered, I took a cab, finally figuring out that if I had typed the conversion rate correctly on my master plan info sheet, 10 Romanian Lei was actually just a bit over $3.00, not a bad price to pay for saving some time. The view! Crazy communist bloc buildings interspersed with decaying Parisian style high rises. I’ll be interested to check out Bucharest after a couple of days in the mountains.

Eventually, I arrived at the train station and without hassle got on a train an hour later heading to Brasov. That’s why the fact that we have been stuck at Comarnic for the last hour is no surprise. There’s a large, weathered sign next to a gutted car advertising EU funding. I’m not sure what they are referring to. And we’re off!


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