Tuesday, November 04, 2008

A beautiful day

Back in Romania and ready for anything despite not getting much sleep on the train last night. For some reason I couldn't turn the lights off in my compartment. That and the ticket inspector chasing miscreants up and down the corridor.
Anyway, I arrived in Sighisoara about 9:30 in that gorgeous glow of autumn when the mist envelops and caresses the scenery whilst the sun turns everything to gold. It was the most wonderful morning, rudely shattered when Alin said I only had 10 minutes to shave and wash and get down to meet the accountant, then to get to Alma Vii and then to get to a LAG meeting.
We somehow made it, as the sun melted the mist and the countryside displayed it's full autumnal magnificence.
We finally gifted what remained in the house at Alma Vii to the old folk's home. It largely consisted of clothes which were warmly received. The wrecking crew had already been at work for 2 days removing all the old bits of concrete, wood and general detruitus from around the house, and the decision was taken to remove most of the vine which was so enormous it blocked the view. Most of the wood was being taken by one of the workers to make arks for his pigs. He and his younger brother had been in Spain working for the last 7 years but had been forced home by the economy there. Fortunately their eldest brother was a local councillor and had been able to get them jobs...
The LAG meeting mostly consisted of a diatribe against the government which STILL hasn't put in place the requirements and funding for LAGs, but we soldier on.
Much of the evening was - as ever- taken up with lunch. The Unglerus in Biertan serves the best cabbage salad and beetroot salad with horseraddish. All the men eat the horseraddish because they believe it is good for their - ehem - manhood. Mind you, there is lots of stuff they eat for the same reason but personally I have seen no evidence that any of it works. Being a macho society however, has it's required rituals.
The Mayor is much vexed by the world economic crisis. Not, as you might expect, because it is having an impact on him. Rather he is wondering how best to profit from it. Romanian banks don't really have the problems others do. Getting a loan is more difficult than a camel passing through the eye of a needle. But the Romanians keep much of their money literally under the bed ( encased in some yellow powder that stops the mice eating it) so there is in general a shortage of credit. The Mayor's latest idea is that he should go to London with the Council's cash and offer it to the highest bidder. He had heard of fabulous wealth being offered for overnight money and felt it would do his health good to spend a few weeks in London getting several thousand percent overnight for his elector's cash. I pointed out that the reason some banks were prepared to pay so much was that they might go bust, in which case he would lose the lot. He decided it would be better to leave the money under his bed until he needed to spend it.
He decided some of it needed spending this evening on a rather splendid local wine which would put most French cru classes to shame.
It was the equivalent of GBP3 .50 in the restaurant.
I helped him drink it - purely as fact finding of course.


Winchester whisperer said...

He could short sterling?

Brian Boru said...

Horseradish, eh?

I knew a bloke in Trinidad who was able to 'keep going', as it were, until well into his eighties. His secret - he swore he had never worn underpants and always ate orange peel.

There's a thought.

kinglear said...

bb- now there's an interesting point. The Mayor of Mosna never wears underspants and definitely has an eye for the ladies - one who knows him recently referred to him as the old goat. Not too sure about about the orange peel, but certainly encased in dark chocolate has a certain je ne sais quoi.
WW - the rate for the GBP is now about Ron 4.45 to 1 GBP. When I first came it was well over 5 Ron. Interestingly, the Euro remains as near as makes no odds at 3.60 Ron per Euro. What this tells us is that the Lei is relatively a stable currency.... Astonishing, but not quite such a shock when you relaise there are over 10 million Romanians overseas sending home literally billions of Euros, dollars, pounds, Canadian dollars etc etc.And you can't get a loan....

Brian Boru said...

A propos Romania, I see that The Economist this week reports that Standard and Poor have cut the country's credit rating to 'junk' status, blamimg politicians' irresponsibility about public sector wage increases.

But very intersting to read about the extent of the remiitance business; and about the Mayor of Mosna..

kinglear said...

BB- I wouldn't bet the public sector gets the cash.....