Friday, June 20, 2008

Arriving in Bucharest (with maybe one hour of sleep)

This photo of a neighbor's laundry taken from our hotel room conveys the feeling of traveling for 19 hours, and not sleeping more than an hour. I am miffed to say that I mistook, at the last moment, the thyroid meds for sleeping pills, so we made the trip with only homeopathics for jet lag. The sleeping pills traveled in a checked bag. Yet, despite my fatigue, I am sitting here writing rather than sleeping, so I guess I am not doing too badly.

We have no time for anything but showers before we have to go down for the dinner reception, so I am writing this while Bob is trying to rev himself up in a cold shower.

Our trip was uneventful, and was as comfortable as a 9 hour non-stop flight to Paris with cramped leg room, and short layover in the complex, endless security-check-ridden maze of Charles de Gaulle airport, can be. Multi-media was alluring, and we watched bits and pieces of bad movies, but the highlight was this new feature (to me, new) where you can see what the pilots see, and see below (especially fascinating when flying over northern Canada, Baffin Island and Greenland.

We learned soon after we arrived that my mom's trip, organized to be without any discomfort (biz class, non-stop) turned out to be hellacious. The limo driver ran into traffic on the way to JFK (an overturned semi), then got lost and my mom ended up missing her flight. She ended up on a flight that went through Brussels, in coach. Not what a woman celebrating her 90th birthday wanted to be doing. But to her credit, she is a whippersnapper at almost 90, rolling with the punches. She arrived in Bucharest only 4 hours later than planned.

So all I can say about Bucharest is 1)the traffic sucks royally - something I had heard from others before getting here to witness it personally, 2) there are some gorgeous buildings in serious states of decay (and developers from other richer nations are swooping in like vultures, and 3)people seems to be a gorgeous mix of Slavic, Mediterranean, Turkish and Asian blood lines.

Tomorrow we are off to the Carpathian mountains. More soon.

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