Sadly, this seems to have become the starting point of so many of my travels: free wifi, plugs to charge the phone and cheap coffee at MC Donald’s.
Even more sadly, when jumping out of my friends car at a cross section in the centre of Arad, I dropped my phone on the ground, which created yet another beautiful crack on the surface. That made me feel so numb inside that my only reaction was laughter. What a start to my trip.
It’s me, a bag of stuff and Ahmed, my wooden travel buddy from Dubai. He’s been accompanying me ever since I bought him on my first trip to the Emirates in 2011. And now he’s with me exploring Romania.
While walking to the train station I conveniently bumped into a sort of colleague, who kindly advised the right direction and tram for me. And I somehow managed.
The tram must have been a previous citizen of some Austrian or German city, since the stop button thing still said “Haltewunsch” on them.
There I was, sitting alone, not really being sure I was going to the right place. Observing the changing surroundings through a scratched window. Letting my eyes take in all expressions, the houses with big windows and faded paint. Houses in all different colours. People of all ages and sizes passing, colourfully dressed, older ladies with their flower aprons. The movement of the tram that made everything that’s attached to my skeleton wiggle. Luckily the unattractive ride didn’t take more than 25 minutes. I arrived. The Billa was my sign.
I’m lucky to be blonde and innocent looking. I searched around the whole station of Aradul Nou, and no plug to be found…. Except, in the station guards room. The plug was right by the door, so I just rudely went in and plugged the charger in. Probably thanks to pathetically bad Romanian spoken in a sweet voice and a cute smile he let me stay. Even tried to get into conversation. Showed me his work station with lights and train track control panel thingies. Spoke about Mika Häkkinen. Nice man.
And this is what I love about traveling, all these lovely, helpful people you meet.
But you also meet interesting, weird people. Like the lady sitting in front of me on the train, holding a calculator and every once in a while typing in numbers.
At about 1pm I just wanted to fall asleep. I went for a little walk on the corridors just to get alert again, and when I returned, the lights had been switched off, a bottle of alcohol was lying proudly on one of the seats and I was left alone with three smelly men that attempted to make conversation with me.
I stood on the corridor for the last 30 minutes, enjoyed passive smoking and witnessed corruption in action, hopped off the train in Alba Iulia and got amazed again by Romanian generosity when arriving at my friends place.
But more of that later.
I have some sightseeing to do.