Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Romania, land of Dracula

I'm in Bucharest now, after a brilliant but speedy trip through the Czech republic, Vienna and Budapest.
We have met up with Hyrum now, our friend from Hawaii who is living in Naples. So we have a group of 4 for the next week until we meet Hyrum's mate Rustin in Istanbul. Ken, my mate from Newcastle met us in Budapest.
Was stressing out a bit today when I realised that it is actually quite far from Istanbul to Greece... we are trying to sort that out now so I can figure out where I will be doing my interview from!.
We had a really nice sleeper train from Budapest to Bucharest... 1st class I believe, with even a sink in the room. Played monopoly last night, very fun. Met a social anthropologist from Cambridge, so very random...
We had a great time in Budapest. It was nice hanging with our gang of friends that we had made. They have all moved onto Croatia now. Most sad. There is a pic of some of them - when we were in the train and then our last dinner in Budapest before the farewell.
The snail pic refers to our 4 hour mission to find a park in Budapest where they put all the communist propaganda statues after regime ended. We never found it that day, despite following a guy in khaki and flip flops blindly and asking loads of people for directions. the next day we caught the direct bus there. much, much easier!
Bucharest is an interesting place. Certainly a lot poorer than the other cities we have visited so far. I was wondering today whether the prevalence of sex shops, casinos, currency changers, dodgy Internet places and fancy clothes stores are a consequence of the relatively recent move from a hard core socialist government to a democratic society. Things are cheap here though, or they might be, if I can ever manage to sort out the currency conversions (they have new and old Lei, one has 4 extra zeros, and the other doesn't.... I'm so very confused!!!).

Had a massage yesterday at the baths in budapest. Was sooooo awesome. Perhaps I\'m feeling too relaxed/scattered right now or something.

Must get to sleep, as it is almost 2am, and everyone else has bunked down for the night.

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