Oradea, Romania: I saw a heartbreaking sight today: there was apparently a stray dog roundup close to Felix, the hot spring spa. There were approximately four dogs in a cage designed for two, atop one-another, yelping and biting for room. What a mess. The dog-catchers would round up more dogs, and throw them in the cage through a hole at the top. The new “inmate” would land on top of the other dogs, and the horrible yelping would continue. We went to the hot springs again. It was nice, but I’m starting to feel a little tired of being the freak around here. Everywhere I go, people stare, and I feel like I’m the attraction at some parade or freak circus.

Furthermore, the women here are totally hot and have awesome bodies, but seem to have icy dispositions. Maybe I’m in the wrong city, or it’s the wrong time of year, but none have evinced the slightest sign of interest in the enigmatic foreigner who just appeared in their parts. I get more looks in Milwaukee than I do here, which is not saying much. What the fuck?
This is definitely Eastern Europe. The vestigial after-effects of Communism are apparent in the crumbling facades, in the generally industrial, sooty conditions here. There are lots of factories – man, it makes me feel sad.

My host Constantin’s family have been generous and hospitable. His wife Cornelia is a slave to the kitchen (by my customs and standards) and seems to live to please her husband. Presumably most women here are totally subservient to men. She is totally religious – Orthodox – and goes as often as she can to church. She sort of reminds me of my mom in some ways.
I miss contact with people. I’ve only really interacted with Constantin, which is fine. He’s talkative, but I long for more people my age. More girls, or different people. I’m in his company from dawn to dusk as we interact with people at the factory. My Romanian is very limited, so I have to refer to the book to speak. I haven’t really tried that much, and I’m dependent on Constantin to communicate with others. Maybe that’s it. I guess I miss the warmth of the people I know in Wisconsin – the familiar faces. Will it ever be possible for me to move away from Milwaukee permanently in search of broader horizons? It feels really difficult being so different from people here. It reminds me of coming to the USA when I was ten.
I also miss playing guitar.

Posted: November 29th, 2003
Categories: blog, culture, travel
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