Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Half-told Tales

Maramures was great. But come and have your own experiences. I will post a few more photos for you, then continue my journal, for a daily memory dump and a good night's sleep thereafter are the psychological purposes of this quasi-literary exercise.

Today's class was fun. I teased a student for missing the marking pen I tossed for him to use in printing his name card, saying that Romanians could best catch things with their feet, whereas American kids all knew baseball or softball, and catching was second nature for them. When he threw it back, I caught it in mid-air as I launched myself off the desk on which I had been sitting, and landed on my feet, some five feet below, for the desk is on a low stage. The crowd greeted my circus stunt with a round of applause.

Thereafter, the students really got into the case study, and we had the most intense and focused discussion yet, and the students applauded again at the end of the class.

Wow. That doesn't happen every day.

I really like my students. They are bright, and most seemed prepared for the case, and willing to take a risk and state their personal views in class. I hope they hang in there, because this is not easy material we are studying.

After school, TA Melinda came to pick up some assignments for the next class, so we went to the mall for lunch, then picked up my car at the GIAROM Parbrize (windshield) Centru. I then returned to the office for my Wednesday office hours, and to prepare my course syllabus for Labor Management. I then drove the car to its weekday lot, and walked to the apartment to get some rest.

I washed some beans, started to make a pinto bean soup, then went into the bedroom and changed into sweatpants and a t-shirt.

Finally comfortable and relaxed, I was catching up on e-mails as the soup simmered when Mircea called. He was back in town after a weekend conference in Budapest, and available for our long-awaited chance to have dinner, and get to know each other better. We agreed to meet in 15 minutes at the Club Roland Garros, a riverfront basement bar and grill directly across from our apartment. I pulled on jeans and a leather jacket, and went down to the restaurant. The food was quite good, and the company was better. Mircea is a revered professor of economics at UBB, and deservedly so. He told me a great deal about the history of Romania, Hungary and Austria, not to mention Italy, Russia and Azerbaijan. I hope to spend many more hours in his company, perhaps on a shared trip to Northern Greece, which we would both like to visit while I am here.

Maremuresh Sunday, 12 October 2008

So, here are some more pictures taken at The Happy Cemetery in Sapanta, and at the Carpathian mountain restaurant where I ate dinner between Oradea and Cluj late Sunday evening.

The grave markers tell quite a bit about the people buried there, and the Trumpet Violin is a Gypsy instrument apparently indigenous to that region of Transylvania between Oradea and Cluj. The man playing it is from the Basque community in Spain's Pyrenees Mountains. He was not the actual player that I had heard, but rather had been coaching a woman musician (his wife, perhaps) inside the restaurant, as she learned the instrument. The sound was remarkable. Hard to ignore, that is for sure. With them was a young British woman with a 9-month old baby girl. This latter woman told me that they were on a three-day "whistle-stop" in Romania, and had come specifically to find the village where the trumpet-violins were made, and buy one. I asked whether the term "whistle-stop" was a British railroad expression, as I had heard it before from my father, the son of an American railroad man. She then said she didn't know for sure, but maybe she had learned it from her American mother, who was from the Northwest (Oregon or Washington). I should remember these folks' names, but the shock of discovering my computer missing later that evening seems to have driven them from my memory.


The Happy Cemetery in Sapanta, Maramures, 12 October, 2008

Traditional Sunday Dress

The Unusual Grave Markers

A modern miner.

She was only three years old!

The Trumpet Violin

1 comment:

SKM said...

Congrats on your class' performance.
Great pictures. Looks like a very interesting region. Looking forward to more tales from your weekend there.
And your subsequent return there.

BTW, the Citgo sign in Boston caught fire today. Mostly blackened, not destroyed. But not a good omen for the Red Sox tomorrow night.