Thursday, June 28, 2007

Back in the USA

After my short Hungarian interlude I had to get back to the US. Still many decision and problems ahead needed my presence there no matter how much would I have stayed in my home country and enjoy a vacation there.
The trip back started badly with a numb self struggling with three pieces of luggage in the old 1977 Budapest M3 metro line which goes between two extremes of the Hungarian capital. Unfortunately I chose the wrong direction and didn’t bother to double check it so I ended up at the wrong side of the city (Ujpest) instead of Kobanya-kispest (sounds similar kispest-ujpest). No excuse indeed and I was getting increasingly mad going back to Kobanya. This whole thing has cost me about an hour so instead of getting to the airport around 10:30 I got there at 11:35 am. My plane was scheduled for take off around 11:55 so I virtually had little/no hope that I will catch it. But someone up there really loves me and when I saw a free (off duty) operator of Malev (Hungarian company) I just went straight for it. Got my check in done in the next 10 minutes and slided through the security check in with the help of the same kind desk lady. Moreover, the flight was FULL (aren’t they always??) so I had to spend some time at the boarding gate as well.
Awful flight though. Got the worse seating ever right in the first coach class seats about 30cm from the projection wall and no room whatsoever for tired legs during a 9hr flight to NYC. Finally got ahead the whole pack in the Big Apple and flew through customs etc but got stuck waiting for my luggage for about 20minutes. I was hoping to catch a 5pm bus to New Carrolton, MD. However, there was another one at 7pm. Got a salad and a paper and waited. However, forgot that lines are a common thing for buses leaving Port Authority and seats are scarce commodity there, so I didn’t get one on the 7pm one. Stayed in line for two hours and around 9 I finally got into a Washington DC express bus after some serious explaining to do with the driver. Funny guy, but not in my sense.

Finally, I arrive there around 1:15 in the morning. Naturally, my girl was not there so I reached my boiling point. My phone was showing Cingular roaming but I couldn’t call her; I managed however to call her from the bus by borrowing a phone and now I was stuck there thinking what should be my final deadline and if I shouldn’t have came here perhaps. Quite understandable, after so many hours of travel with all this luggage and frustrations all over the place. After about an hour of reflection and deep human behavior observation, she finally appeared and I was relief that finally I am getting somewhere. That proved to be harder in the end (I mean get out of Washington) but we made it around 4am to Southern Maryland and the dawn was beautiful. I was finally “home”!:)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Budapest- a concise and simplistic view

Budapest is a great European city at the limit between Western and Eastern clashes of civilizations. Personally I was expecting a more Western society and style of living than my native Romania but, however, in many ways I discover things that were more outdated and twisted in Hungary than anywhere in Romania. Which is funny; I guess we (Eastern Europeans, overall) are more alike than we would care to recognize.:).

Getting back to the descriptive:
1. Lovely city. Been there before, probably will go again. plenty of touristic sites and off-tourist things to enjoy. Among the former: Turkish baths, Danube cruises and bridges, Buda Castle, The Parliament building, etc. Among the latter: Old buildings everywhere, less famous cathedrals like the Ferencvaros one (beautiful and gothic, as I like them)

2. Typical Eastern European people: worm, party, outgoing ones. 2 things that stroke me about the girls here: a. the current fashion trend with skirts with a side split revealing most of one the tights (seems to be also widely used in business suits; have seen plenty of young women girls dressed this way); b. the huge amount of young girls smoking on the street even at ridiculous high temperatures such this season -36, 37 C-. Before this I was thinking of Romania as a country full of smoking youngsters, now, I have to revise this. Budapest beats it by far. Moreover, it is kind of un-natural to see especially girls smoking on the street. Bars, yes, ok. But not like that in the hot dusty streets of Budapest.

The conclusion: it is a worthwhile going place if you haven’t done it by now. Not too pricey, but quite nice. A mixture of Prague and Vienna, Budapest is definitely one Central European city you don’t want to miss. Enjoy.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A word and a glass of good beer...

Today was a good day. I managed to do a lot of work and still take some time off from the small desk and take a walk into the sunned city. Summer is here, is hot and is great. But unfortunately I cannot enjoy it at all. Too many things to do, to many worries to take care of. Sounds bad, probably worse than it is, after all I am not an optimist; perhaps a pusher cause I like to push things to the edge,but definitely not an optimist. Got a chance to see/talk with some family. It is amazing how fast things go by; whatever was great a couple of years ago, now it's obsolete; kids grow, cell phones change; bikes become scooters; scooters become cars; just as fast as babies become children and then youngsters. Visas, airplanes, logistics, logic and sentiments all mixed up in a brain that's just too small sometimes to encompass all this strange mixture that is life. A well stirred one but quite turbulent,but, after all one cannot have them both.
All these while having a cool Tuborg; the real stuff (0.5l and 7.2%) not like most of them US beers. And thinking of tomorrow..

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Personal Strange Stuff

I guess that I am too tired and I am starting to feel and see things that are hard to cope with. Just as strange to see Chris Rock smiling at me in JFK's 9th Terminal while buttoning my old piece of...a laptop, in search for some inexistent virus that was signaled to me by one of our university's network engineers which again, was something unheard before to me. Moreover, the thoughts seem to become real in these days. If I dream crazy stuff like my teeth are going to fall from my mouth through a bloody and creepy process, the next day they do hurt but in a silent mode. Bumps appear on my head and I don't remeber banging my head to anything:)). Well...what can I say/? Shhh...happens, we just need to get over it. It is a pity that I am home right now visiting for just a short week but still cannot recover or get some rest. We are all slaves to our lifes?? Pehaps, But NOW really, I need a VACATION!'

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Apropos TV

One awesome show on the ROmanian PROTV station. Actually one of the few good ones worthwhile to watch on Romanian (many) station. A satiric look at the politicians, actors and singers through the pesimist lens of rationality. Dahh, with so much corruption and mioritic dumbness around you get plenty of subjects for a show like this.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Back home in Sighet

A beautiful day to (re)experience the historical Maramures.
And go back in time for an hour....

Thursday, June 07, 2007

TIFF 2007

The Transylvanian International Film festival is taken place this week in Cluj Napoca with some good movies showing at the local theaters. This year (as a bonus) there are some TIFF projections also in Sibiu which has the status of European cultural capital this year.
Check out the details here or in the line of the title.

Hello motherland

Just got back to my native Romania and Transylvania for a few days and a chance to visit my family. The summer is a lot better for a visit around here and the fact that I managed to skip my usual bus ride from Budapest was a big plus although the awful 5 hr layover was just as worse. But I guess you cannot have it all.:(
In Cluj Napoca I was amazed by how small the airport is (but still you have to ride the bus to the "terminal" for about 25 meters, which seems ridiculous; secondly the luggage belt is about 6 meters in total in its circular size) and how crowded and chaotic circulation is both on the streets and on the sidewalks. I guess I got it out of my system:)) but I also got back into it real quick.
Three quick impressions (good & bad):
1. a new (bad) habit among the people listening to bad music ("manele")on their cell phones on the street (-)
2. a lot of ATVs and scooters for youngsters under 18 riding them without proper equipment and often knowledge about the traffic rules (- and +)
3. big amount of music festivals and bands coming to Romania in June and August (from Rolling Stones to Marilyn Manson, Pink or Prodigy). Hungary has a lot as well. (+)

more impressions on my next posts

Saturday, June 02, 2007

World's best violonist here in Albany

Thursday night I had the priviledge of watching one of the greatest musicians alive. Itzhak Perlman is world-wide recognized as the best in the business and I had my chance to experience it that night with the Albany Symphony Orchestra directed by the charismatic David Allen Miller.
In the program:
1. A world premier - quite common with maestro Miller. This time was "Moments from Yosemite and the Range of Light" by Carolyn Yarnell
followed by a tumoultous
2. Stravinsky - The Firebird Suite (1919 version)
and after the break,
3. Beethoven's "Violin Concerto in D Major" Op.61 where Itzhak Perlman was the solist.
Trully great, especially since for me it has been a couple of months since I went to a concert. Thank you.