Saturday, August 22, 2009

Nap Time

Day 528
I was up at 4 am and soon had the rest of my stuff together. The nice girl at reception called a cab for me and soon I was at the train station with just enough time to buy a ticket and grab breakfast before my train departed.

The train wasn't comfortable at all. An elderly man with a lot of brooms sat opposite of me and proceeded to stare at me, or my ipod, I'm not sure which. It was highly annoying though. I was happy when he got off. He was replaced by two gypsy kids who were smelly and rather loud. It also turned out that they didn't have tickets. When they were caught the conductors kicked them down the steps and then stood with them at the door until the next stop when they threw them off.

Romania has a huge gypsy population. The government and the EU have been spending loads of money to try and get them to integrate. The Roma just don't want to. Don't ever bring up gypsies to a Romanian unless you want to listen to a long and uncomfortable tirade about them. Even super friendly Monica was irritated with them. I think her irritation mostly stemmed from the government money wasted on them, she felt that if they don't want it that it should be put into a different area, like education. Monica also told me a story that happened about 20 years ago. She was at her grandparents farm picking fruit. A gypsy man came and stood at the edge of their land, her grandfather offered him food in exchange for work. The man refused saying that he would be spending the day with his hands in his pockets. Several months later, during the winter, that same man came begging for food. He was refused and told that if he had worked over the summer it wouldn't have been a problem. Madonna had a concert in Budapest a few days ago during which she made a comment about the Roma's plight. The audience booed her.

As for me, I don't know, the begging and the stealing is bad. I can understand having a desire to preserve one's culture, but they have been in the area for the last 700 years, it might be time to join the party that everyone else is at. I can understand though, how those kids I saw will grow up with the memory of being kicked down the stairs and who knows what else. I sure as hell wouldn't want to grow up to be like the man who did that so why should they?

When I got to Sighsoaura I was feeling sick and hungry. I also hadn't written down my hostel info. Luckily the guy at the tourist office let me use his computer to get it and I was soon there.

Sighsoaura is where Vlad Dracul, or Dracula, was born. It is a very cute little mountain town. There was some sort of festival going on and the streets were packed. My first stop was the History Museum. It wasn't very good and it was extremely crowded. At least there was a good view from the top.

I wandered the streets for a bit longer. I found the house Vlad had lived in as well as where he was born. It was really a cute little town. I also went to the torture museum, but it was a waste of time.

I still felt really ill so I went back to the hostel for a shower and to take a nap. When I woke up I felt a lot better. After some dinner I chatted with the other people at the hostel and played some pool before calling it a night.

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