Saturday, May 19, 2012

Saturday Adventure

I can't remember the last time I had a Saturday that could be just a bit of down time. I didn't have to set an alarm for any reason, for I was sure I could make it to breakfast by 10 AM! Did so, and then decided to take a walk. My first stop was the grocery story across the street. I went there primarily to take a look at products to learn some Romanian words and see if there would be anything puzzling in English for the same item. So many products are already labeled in English here that one can learn both words at the same time.

I am to begin to work with some teachers who want to travel and wish to extend their English skills before doing so. That is why I'm started to look at the foods. Well, I found some more things from the U.S. We often say that California is the land of nuts and berries, and here's the proof:

What I purchased was hazelnuts. I have some Central European cookbooks and the desserts often call for hazelnuts. These are incredibly difficult to find in a store where I live. I turned the package over and discovered it has product information in 19 different languages, and thankfully one is English. The hazelnuts I bought come from Turkey.

I think what I may have to explain to the teachers with whom I'll work next week and that these are called chips in the United States.

And these are called French Fries in the United States.

And these are called cinnamon rolls.

I was surprised, actually, to see these for cinnamon rolls, in my experience, are uncommon, in Central Europe. The only other place I've seen them is northern Slovakia.

And then I found the product that delights Americans.

Who wouldn't like a jar of crap? Actually just change the letters around a bit and one gets the English word, carp. Crap is the Romanian word for that fish.

From the grocery store, I wandered down the street.

Shops here are one store at a time, no malls -- at least I've not found one, and the parking is diagonal along the streets where it is allowed. This is like old time Midwest America.

There are some new buildings with architecture that intrigues me.

The round shape seems to be popular here. If one looks about, it is seen in smaller details on buildings, too.

We have been admiring the doors one finds here. Here is one I noticed on the street in front of shop that sells door and windows.

And then one finds buildings like  this every once in awhile.

A building such as this probably dates from the Communist days. The city now is waiting for funds to re-purpose the building for another use. For example, the school where I am teaching is new building, built in 2006. It is surrounded on both sides by buildings in the condition such as above. The site was formerly a coal-fired power plant designed to provide power and heat for a collection of building flats. Because it was coal-fired, it brought pollution to the city. Now it is shut down. The two buildings will eventually become a swimming pool and a sports gymnasium.

At this point in my Saturday, rain showers emerged, so I ducked in the first cafe I could find. Here's what coffee is like in Barlad.

They are all espresso, but it kept me warm and dry until the showers stopped. When I left this cafe I noticed a building across the street that said the equivalent of coffee and pastry shop, so I decided to see what I would find there.

Oh good, there is Coke Zero in the cooler. And I chose a strudel. Surprises both ways.

I wasn't expecting to get ice with the Coke, but alas the cooler wasn't even on, so it was only slightly cooler than room temperature. Strudel to us usually means a fruit filling. But this one instead had the wonderful sweet cheese one finds in Central Europe. In Hungary, this is called turos. I was very happy to find this surprise.

On the way back to the hotel I spotted a church tower that I had seen while driving in car. I went down the side street to take a photo of it.

After taking this photo I noticed a small SUV type vehicle decorated with flowers. It looked more to me like a funeral than a wedding. Just then the bells began to toll. I walked across the street from the church to watch. The funeral had ended  and the casket was being brought from the church for movement to the cemetery. The priests were in special robes and said some prayers at the street edge. Then three young men moved to the front of vehicle. One was carrying a cross and the other two carried icons painted on flags. They walked in front of the decorated vehicle and the mourners all followed on foot. I would have very much liked to have some photos of this, but that did not seem respectful.

A few minutes later I found a floral shop that had funeral wreaths on display, so you can see how the funeral wreaths are done here. 

My last stop was at a home decor shop. This shop had many, many beautiful things. I had stopped there earlier in the day and began to center on the clocks as a purchase choice. The shop had many interesting and beautiful clocks. I didn't want to carry a purchase for several hours, and I also had to make a hard choice of just one.

Here's what I chose. Not only did the clerk get the clock in a box for me, she put in a battery and then set it for the correct time and date. The clock has many features, and thankfully one set of directions is in English. And of course, it's made in China! But it will be a lovely memory of s Saturday in Barlad.

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