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Published: June 23rd 2013
I am on the train to Sibiu, Romania. I left the apartment in Brasov, Romania giving myself 40 minutes to make a 6:00 am train. A taxi came by within 60 seconds--travel karma.
Me: Train Station please.
Taxi: Gara, gara? Blah, blah, blah, gara?
Me: Hmmmm. Chug-a, chug, chug, ... chug-a, chug, chug .... woow a woow.
Taxi: Ah. Gara! Gara!
He drove straight to the train station. Some sounds are international. He knew exactly what I meant and drove with confidence. I suspect there are many more languages than countries. If my memory serves me, India has 16 spoken languages? The USA has English and many languages spoken by the original people of America, like the Navajo, Cherokee, etc. So my guess is probably right. I have noticed some common sounds and motions across regions. But everyone knows the sound that a coal-burning steam locomotive makes.
If I had to go to the airport, I probably would have put my arms out and made the sounds and motions of an airplane, rather than a jet. Ruuurrrrr. Ruuurrrr. The sound a jet sound makes, would probably make the driver think I wanted steamed milk in
my coffee. Cuuuuuuuu.
Sibiu is the final place in Romania that 2 or more Romanians insisted I visit while here. I read online that the train station has a place to check my luggage, so I can walk around Sibiu for 5 hours hours before catching a train to Timisoara. Timisoara is where I catch the bus west to Serbia. Trains only run north and south from Timisoara.
My intent is to make it to Belgrade, Serbia by Sunday evening. Wish me luck. It is Saturday moning at 6:30 am.
Later that day ... (Do you remember when they used to say that on TV shows? Was it Batman?)
So I arrive back at the train station at about 3:10 pm, pick up my checked luggage, buy my ticket to my 3:50 pm train to Timisoara, and it is still only 13:18 pm. 32 minutes is forever in my world. So I stroll down the train station and I see a room full of about 40 men and one woman drinking "Ciuc" beer. It is so hot by Romanian standards, maybe 90F, that half the guys in this bar have their shirts off. It
was ugly, sweaty, and hot. At first, I thought there may be trouble in this bar. They are drinking 16 ounce beers that cost 86 cents and they are all working class guys, unshaved, sweaty from a day of work, drinking cheap beer, with their shirts off.
Then I remember ... these are my people. I grew up in a farm town, in the center of California, where it rarely got down to 90F in June. And everybody I knew then walked around with a 25 cent beer in their hand and no shirt on. It was like coming home. If these guys were like the guys at home, the only way you could get you ass kicked in here was by stealing one of their girls, by looking at someone too long, by taking someone's picture without asking, or by stealing someone's seat.
So I put my camera away, took off my shirt, ordered a cold drink, and started typing. These are my people. If my train to Timisoara wasn't leaving in 19 minutes, I would probably find my best friend for life in here.
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