We love Romania, but it ain’t for the servic

Trip Start Jan 15, 2010
Trip End Nov 09, 2010

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Flag of Romania  , Transylvania,
Sunday, June 6, 2010

Okay, I’m sure there is some Ann Landers rule about “not blogging while angry”, kind of like “not going to bed angry”, but I’m fired up so I’m going to write about it! We arrived to Brasov, Romania 12 days ago. We stayed in an apartment and prepared our own food almost every day to keep costs down, so we had little experience in restaurants (except one night where we had the best soup of our lives, but more on that later…) We also took several day trips from Brasov, so it made sense to pack our own lunches. By chance, we arrived to Sibiu during the 17th annual International Performing Arts Festival. That seemed pretty exciting! So, as Jeff wrote about previously, we spent our evenings lounging in the cafes around the main square to catch all the action. The service was bad, but we were in a good mood and rested, so it just seemed funny. A typical scenario would be: we sit down at a table. We wait at least 10 minutes. We get up and ask for a menu. The waiter/waitress acts like they have never been so inconvenienced in their whole life (sometimes, we would have to interrupt the wait-staff from their lively conversations while the full bar/restaurant has people waving to get their attention). And there are no smiles. Just “what do you want”. It became our mission to see if we could get a smile--we didn’t succeed very often! But this morning was the straw that broke the camel’s back. We had to wake up at 06:30 (believe me, that is early when you get used to sleeping until 9 or 10!!) to catch our train to Oradea (and, it may look close on the map, but it is a 9 hour journey on a Romanian train with a change at Arad). And I didn’t sleep very well, because I decided to cram in all the Romanian desserts that I hadn’t tried yet into one evening, so my stomach hurt. When we got to the train station, we had about 30 minutes to spare, so I went into the “Rapide Restaurant” (HA!) to get a cup of coffee. There were four ladies behind the counter. And this isn’t like Italy, where all the counters are set up so you just drink your coffee at the bar. This counter was about 5 feet high, so I could only see their heads as they were yakking away inside. I cleared my throat, and with my best “Boon-a Zee-wah” (good day) , tried to get their attention. One lady lazily looked up, stared me right in the eye, and continued with her conversation. This irritated me, but I still wanted, I mean NEEDED, coffee, so I tried to patiently wait it out. Then, two Romanian men walked in, and I haven’t mentioned that Romanian people will shove you aside even if there is a line, if they can get an elbow in, and they never notice that you were there first (well, they don‘t care!). So they order their coffees, and the lady gets on it on with their fancy shiny espresso machine. Romania is the first place we have been where none of my language skills help AT ALL, and most people do not speak English. I say loudly “Cappuccino!” She glares at me, gives a nod, then rips open a Nescafe package and pours it into a cup. Normally, I can go with it, I mean, I drank some crap coffee in S. America, I even think the Nescafe packages are pretty good, but not as good as a machine made cappuccino. So, I decide that I am not going to settle for a packaged cappuccino. By this time, the train has pulled into the station, and I can imagine Jeff outside with our bags wondering where the heck I am… but I’m determined to get a decent cup of coffee. She is still making the men’s coffees. I shake my head and point to the machine and say “cappuccino”. By this time, a fifth lady comes out from the kitchen and goes behind the bar. She takes in the situation in a moments’ glance and it seems like she is telling the rude lady that I want a machine cappuccino. But rude lady holds up the package and says something to the effect of “but she ordered a cappuccino”. This goes back and forth about 3 times. Lady 2: “machine”, Lady 1, holds up package, “she said cappuccino”. At this point, I don’t even care if I miss the train. I’m going to get a coffee!!! So, I finally get a cup of coffee with a drop of hot milk. It is the worst cup of coffee ever, I have to put in 2 packages of sugar to make it drinkable, but I choke it down and slap my 2 lei on the counter. I run to where Jeff is with the bags, and, as expected, he is practically jumping up and down worried about missing the train, so we throw on the backpacks and scurry to the train. I’m writing this from the train, and it feels better to get it off my chest ;)  Otherwise, Sibiu was a great place to visit! :)

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Linda on

Don't get between Tamara and her coffee!!! :-)

Sanj on

Don't worry. Similar thing happened to me in Finland. FINLAND!

CTang on

i can feel your pain! hey starbucks has a new instant coffee out now -- maybe we should send you some!

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