Trip Start Oct 2007
15Trip End Jan 2008
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Tomorrow morning I leave by boat for Sfantu Gheorghe. The public boat I had hoped to used may or may not be running tomorrow. The hotel staff that speaks fluent English and Romanian could only say that it may run tomorrow - it depends still. On what, no one seems to know. I did find the public boat today - but my Romanian sucks and the ticket office opens a few hours before the "maybe" departure. So I arranged private transport today - more expensive, but will get me there reliably, earlier in the day, and the boat will stay to make sure that I can find the banding camp
The person arranging the boat understood what I said in English quite well. However, he admitted that he while he understood the words, he could not understand WHY I wanted to go out, and why I was traveling alone. The idea of anyone going way out there to camp, and look at birds was not in the Romanian mentality he said. He will provide the name and number of people that I can stay with in Sf Gheorghe just in case I decide not to camp. Seems like a good idea to me. I hope Sf Gheorghe has a Bancomat (ATM). Being me, I don't tend to keep that much cash on hand - just pay on my debit card.
I've been walking around Tulcea. Most of it is the block "soviet" era building. I asked my boat guide as we walked thru town about the buildings. He said that about 90% of the original buildings had been bulldozed and rebuilt in the "soviet" style. I see what pics I can get in the morning before I leave. Trust me, I will be the only person around taking pictures (I hate sticking out like a tourist)
Tulcea has a potentially lovely waterfront with promenade. It's those soviet style buildings. Unfortunately, many of those buildings remind of what I see in the newer mid to lower income parts of many American cities. Of course I am biased by Miami - a relatively new city (1950's). I did start out in that part of Miami. Many parts of Romania look like lower to mid-income Miami to me - just without the palm trees.
Having lived in those parts of Miami, it is easy for me to walk around here. I don't speak the language, just like in Miami. But unlike Miami, people here help if they can. In Miami, I was practically assaulted in grocery stores when I first moved there at 21 years of age for not speaking Spanish. And I did try. I was practically assaulted for not speaking it well enough. My excuse for still not being fluent in Spanish. Kinda of bassakwards excuse, but it is mine.
The odd thing is, that when someone speaks to me in non-english here, I'm answering in mix of (poor) spanish and romanian, which is really making me sound like an idiot. In Romanian, yes = da, in spanish yes = si, in Romanian si = and. So I end up saying a spainsh si instead of da, which sounds like "and" to them, which makes no sense whatsoever to the question asked
One last language comment. Sitting for 1.5+ hours in London Heathrow for an airline connection, I felt at home listening only to english. They did speak with an accent. Yet there was no follow up in Spanish. Not trying to Spanish bash here. Getting out of Miami really makes me realize that I've spent half my life in a culture I never adapted to. So what I am doing in another culture I don't understand? I'll figure that out at some point. My hope is that I figure out where I do belong.
And for all of you traveller's that gave advice. Most of it has been good. But couldn't someone have recommended I travel with the really important stuff: my own corkscrew and beer opener???????
Thanks to Bob and Shirley for taking care of the homefront. The even washed my field truck. I forgot to tell Bob that I thought it was the mud that kept it together. If it falls apart, just take it to Scott at Tyre Auto (left you the number).
And finally, the dogs gave me a card when I left (see picture of Ruger). Actually it was an agreement that they wanted me to sign - saying that I guaranteed that I would come back. I did not sign, but gave my word that I would always come back for them to take them with me. After Bob and Shirley, they may decide that I am not so great.