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Ode to my suitcase

On the 1 of June I left Budapest. What a strange feeling: this part of my life is over! And soon my experience in Romania will be over too. I really liked Budapest and somehow I feel that I will go back there one day. It really is the city of my dreams. Big but not crowded. The perfect place to relax and to party. The city offers something for everyone: no matter if you are old, young, sick or healthy. The only problem: people tend to speak Hungarian. If I should ever go back there I will definately have to learn the language. I am afraid that I might spend years trying to learn it and in the end I will still not able to order a coffee....

While I was cleaning my room I was really sorry to leave. Such a nice room, not too expensive and a nice flat mate..... In the middle of the city center but yet very quiet. In Budapest you can find all the luxuries of modern life and even buy german black bread but yet you are so close to my beloved country Romania.

I paid my last visit to Margrit Island: I jumped on the trampolin for the last time and did my work out in the park. Margrit Island really is the greatest place on earth for open air excersise.

The day I left I spent quite some time waiting at a bus station. While I was waiting I was looking at my suitcase and petted it like a close friend. It has been with me for a very long time and been my companion wherever I went: USA, Japan, inter-railing, Italy, Romania, Georgia, Hungary. Lately it has served me well transporting my books back and forth because it has hand luaggage size and is not subject to any weight restrictions in planes.
If it could talk it would be the only witness of all the experiences I made in foreign countries, the good ones and the bad ones. I really love this suitcase. Even though it is in pretty bad shape I don't think I will through it away. It will travel with me until it is so broken that it cannot be fixed anymore. Hopefully I can keep it for many more years.

While thinking about my suitcase a black Mercedes passed the bus station. It had a German liscence plate from Cologne, a dark haired driver in a dress suit, talking on his cell phone while driving, and a Roma flag in the back window. I had never seen anything like that before and started to make up stories about who the driver might be. Maybe a German Roma activist visiting projects in Eastern Europe?
To me that car really was a sign. A sign that thing will be ok and that I am doing the right thing.

I am back in Cluj at the moment. I will leave Romania for good on the 5 of July. That is the deadline I gave myself and my plane ticket back to Germany is already booked.
I have no plans for the summer yet. Maybe I will work to earn some money. I applied for an internship, beginning in September or October, at the Roma and Travellers Division of the Council of Europe in Strassbourg/ France. It looks like they are going to take me which would be cool. Strassbourg is right at the boarder to southern Germany. Hopefully Avtandil will find a job there.
6.6.06 21:41

The hitchhikers guide through Romania

For all of you who have heard only frightening stories about hitchhiking: It is nothing but rumors!

I never hitchedhiked in Germany but we have something quite like it: www.mitfahrgelegenheit.de. It is a web site where everyone owning a car can leave their personal data and announce when they are going from a to b. You have to pay a small amount of money but it is much cheaper than the train. This way I was able to go home to Hamburg quite often when I was studying in Muenster.

When I came to Romania I would have never thought that I would do the "real" hitchhiking thing because of all the stories you hear about it. It took me a year to realize that hitchhiking is the only convenient way of travelling in Romania. Forget about trains and busses. They leave at horrible hours or arrive late or you have to wait a lot while changing trains. It happened to me at least five times that I was planning to go back by bus, train, or taxi and none of it was available. So the only way not to get stuck in the middle of the wilderniss is"ocasie". The hitchhiking system is probably the best developed system of public transport in Romania. I never have to wait long. AND: I tend to get sick (especially respiratory problems) in Romanian trains because the heating is to high. That is my number one reason for hitchhiking.
8.6.06 10:50

They finally gave their first concert in Romania

Do you guys remember that I went to the village of Zece Prajini last November? That is the village where the Fanfara Ciocarlia and 5 other Brass bands are from.

When I showed the pictures of the trip to my friend Oliver who is a journalist at a Hungarian speaking newspaper in Cluj he remarked: "Where did you go?! I would have entered that village with police protection only!!!" When I started to show him Ciocarlia's homepage his chin started to hang lower and lower. He could not really understand how this band is known all over the world, even in Japan, and he had never heard about it.
The answer is easy: It is very hard to organize concerts in Romania. Oprica a musician of the Ciocarlia told me: "There are only two countries in the world where we do not perform: Turkey and Romania. You get ripped of by the concert hall owners and they are very unreliable!"

I just realized last week that Ciocarlia had appeared in the German movie "Gegen die Wand-Against the wall" an just a few days later, namely this morning, I opened the newspaper "Quotidianul" and was really surprized to find a big article about the award ceremony of the Transylvanian Film Festival. Vanessa Redgrave had been there, Corneliu Porumboiu, a Romanian director who had already been awarded the "Camera d'Or" in Cannes also AND the Fanfara Ciocarlia had given their first concert ever in Romania!!!

I called Oliver and asked him if he had at least been there to see it and he replied that he had free tickets but he did not go because he was busy having sex....... That's his kind of humor
12.6.06 14:39


I finally got the confirmation from the Council of Europe!!! I will be a trainee in the Roma and Travellers Division starting from 25 September to 15 of December!
13.6.06 14:30

Beeing sick without a tv

Last Thursday my tonsils strated to hurt. I hoped not to get a tonsilitis and somehow the pain disappeared within a day.... On Saturday my throught started to ache, on Sunday I got hay fever, on Monday I had 38 degrees of fever and my lungs started to hurt. In the middle of the summer....... luckily I am not the only one. Everyone I meet theses days is sick too!

Tuesday morning I woke up soaking wet from my own sweat. All I wanted was to take a shower. I went into the bathroom, turned on the water, and... no water came out of the tab! I checked in the hallway if there was some anouncement but nothing. I decided to go back to bed. Two hours later I had water for ten minutes and managed to take a shower.

Being sick I spent most of my time in bed. As most of you might know lying in bed all day long tends to be quite boring. Even more so when all of your flat mates have left to Germany. I started to read all kind of books but none of them were really interesting. At one point I really wanted to watch a movie but I do not have a TV. I checked my computer and watched White Chicks for the tenth time. Not really my favorite movie but Elena and Florica love it and I had to promise not to delete it from the hard drive...
The next day I asked my neighbour if he had any dvds. He had only one containing Sin City and Oblio. Well, Sin City is a very violent comic-like movie. Fortunately the movie suddenly ended at the point were the Japanese hooker cuts five guys into pieces and puts them into the trunk of a car which the heroe of this episode wants to through into a lake....... does anyone know how the story ends?

Next I watched Oblio. A cartoon which is probably older than me. It is about a boy named Oblio who is born with a round had into a world where everyone has pointed heads. He is banished from the pointed village into the pointeless forrest where he realizes that things do not have to be pointless just because they do not have a point.....
Well, that movie looks like human rights education from the seventies to me. The music was made by Rinog Star who at some point sings a song about a decomposing wale.... If you ever wondered what happend after you die.....
The only thing that was missing in the movie was Yoko Ono and John Lennon producing a mixture of a round headed and a pointed headed baby. Please try to imagine how such a baby would look like.....

I do not have any more movies so I decided to get well, and here I am back in the internet cafe writing blog articles....
21.6.06 17:31

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