Monday, May 04, 2009

How to stop worrying about the economic crisis and learn to enjoy life.

The weekend passed off peacefully enough. My friend from Hungary, the Ex-banker, arrived off the overnight train on Saturday morning.
He was immediately met with how things work here - and how economics is taking over from dogma.
I had booked him into a hotel and paid for the room a couple of days previously. The hotel had no other guests showing.
We went to check him in to be told that we would have to wait - go and have breakfast. We did, and returned to the desk.
With great regret the clerk told us the hotel was full, that the reservation wasn't in the system, and I could have my money back.He did opine that a room might become available later, but in the meantime he would book my friend into another hotel.
Somewhat miffed, I had little option but to agree, and took the Ex-b up to the office/flat for a shave and teeth clean. I set Alin on the detective trail.
He reported back that the hotel had received a request on Friday for 24 rooms ( that's what it has, one of the biggest in Sighisoara) and we weren't the only people who had been shifted - two other couples had been told they had to leave on the Saturday morning despite being there on Friday night.
Faced with having a full hotel from a continuing potential partner or a few odd residents, the hotel took the correct economic decision. It does show how Economics is, in general, not a moral science...
The Ex-b was here to look over land I had lined up as suitable for a fund he was promoting called (surprisingly) Romanian Land Company, rather along the lines of Black Earth Farming but on a very much smaller scale. He had visited the area before as a tourist but was now looking at it with the cold eye of a banker.
Fortunately, the sparkling weather had held and we were able to see rolling fields in blazing sunshine under a fantastic blue sky. Even he was moved by the baby storks demanding to be fed.
The Mayor had insisted we visit him in his office ( he likes to welcome people there surrounded by his Mayoral accoutrements - and every conceivable type of alcohol). Of course he had a purpose - there was a farm for sale and he wanted to show it to us. Naturally, we took the time to see what could only be described as a wreck. It had been a collective cattle farm, now reduced to some dilapidated buildings and 5 hectares.The asking price of Eur 200,000 dropped to 50,000 when we expressed incredulity ( No no, I get mixed up with the old money) to the owner. Iwould guess there is at least another zero to come off.
But we had done what was required, and repaired to the Mayor's house where the Government accountants were expected for a meal before starting work the next day.
You may recall Elena was looking particularly Russian doll-like, and Alin had said I would understand the attraction when I met the accountant.
He was another overstuffed Russian doll, but male. The two of them together would perfectly match. I of course got the giggles and had to hide in the loo until they wore off.
We had an excellent meal ( the chicken noodle soup was of the very highest order) with many toasts and expressions of undying friendship, even from the accountants.
The Ex-b, who I had warned to drink slowly and with lots of water, hadn't entirely believed me, but I could see his eyes glazing over as more and more food appeared with more and various different bottles of wine, tuica, liqura de padura and so on, and it became obvious we would need to get him home.
I whispered to Alin to say he had had a call from Andrea ( who is pregant) and that we would, sadly, have to leave. Alin played his part perfectly - the only slight difficulty was getting the Ex-b to his feet, but soon enough we were heading home with Ex-b happily babbling away.
I couldn't say I was that much better, but at least I was able to get into bed myself.
And we never did pay for the two breakfasts.......

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