Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Another simply beautiful day

As ever, things start very early here and go on until everyone literally HAS to go to bed.
This morning was no exception. Alin arrived at ten past seven yelling that we were late and roared me off all of a couple of hundred yards to the Rustic - I've mentioned it before - where we conduct our lower level discussions in Sighisoara. I've always wanted my own table in a restaurant like the Mafia bosses have, and I have now achieved this in various restaurants in the area. The fact that they are always the one table encased in glass and labelled "non-smoking" is not necessarily to detract from my conceit.
This morning the first meeting was with the accountant who was desperate for us to borrow a whole lot of money from a particular bank. One of the nice things in Romania is that you can keep all your cash in one bank and borrow whatever you want from another - except its almost impossible to borrow anything in Romania. But Carmen the accountant had clearly been bribed by this particular bank to get our business - you don't do anything here unless you are bribed or there is a connection.
To keep her happy I named a figure - it was a figure appoximately 5 times our gross assets here and clearly would never be accepted by any sane bank.
The next meeting was fascinating. The last time I was here I was approached by two people, one from Bucharest and one from Brasov, on a conning mission for some of our land. Not being a complete idiot, we turned them down - but luckily they could not proceed without us.
Suffice to say I spent three hours with them today and was impressed by what they had actually produced. We left saying we would do certain things and they were to do certain other things.
We spent the rest of the day in Nemsa buying land and discussing a couple of projects - I don't think either of them will come to fruition.
So at lunch time ( 6pm) we were in the restaurant behind the petrol station in Medias when the Romanian contact phone rang. This is the one of four that Alin always carries.Interesting statistic - there are 24.5 million Romanians and there are 92million mobile phones registered in the country. In Sighisoara there are 15 banks and 24 mobile phone shops....
It was the B ( Bucharest and Brasov) team - were we free for dinner?
Now in fact we were not. We had told the Mayor we had important information for him - and he didn't want to meet them. So we had a slight keystone cops scenario as we excused ourselves from their company and made our way to the BinderBubi in Medias.
We had an excellent meal with some truly outstanding local wine. For those of a culinary interest the ciorba ( soup) was tarragon and pork,and then steak with pepper sauce. The more important element was the tuica, which neither the Mayor nor I rated very highly, Cuic beer and a bottle of excellent local white wine. The Mayor insisted we would have his own tuica ( complete with bubbles which defines excellence in this deadly stuff - today's had none) tomorrow night after certain formalities are completed. What worries me is how large a bottle he is going to open - they have been working for weeks for this particular event and nothing will do but a serious blow out after it.
The Mayor's wife has a fluey cold and has been in bed for the last few days - but nothing, she insists, is going to prevent her attendance at the ceremony tomorrow - not even death. Unfortunately, she is the one supposed to produce the food for the select post-event party, and in her present state I expect little or no food, but rather more than is strictly neccessary in the drinks department.
As we made our way back to Sighisoara in time for the Steau match, the contact phone rang.
The bank had agreed to our request for the money.
Now the only thing I have to work out is how to refuse it without offending anyone.

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