One of the regrettably few photos I took in Romania
Lonely Planet spoke of a certain village where the people were so keen on music that they would go into a frenzy, carried away by the gypsy violins, whirling away into a state of.... this account was a load of made up crap. I made my way there via Tirgui Mures, and hitched a lift with Martin Balla who happened to live there. He explained that the people of his village most certainly did not whirl or swivel, did not go into musical fenzies, and found it odd that I should think they did. He invited me into his home to stay a night or two.
In the evening, translating through his daughter, he told me that everybody was now going off to church; that I could stay in the house or come with them as I wished. Yeek! Thinking it illegitimate for a stranger to be alone in their nice house, I said I'd join them. But, Martin explained, I did not have a hat! Only hat-wearing worshippers may enter the church. So we go to the hatmaker. All the local men wear a straw hat, rather like a trilby, and I clearly must buy one for church. It is not cheap - I think it cost me twenty five @#£% quid.
We go to church, me in my new hat, them in their old ones. They all sing. I try to look... what adjective descri
bes worshipfulness?... pious perhaps? Angelic? Anyway, I get away with it.
Back home, Martin asks me, through his daighter's language skills, how often I go to church.
B: Oh, not as often as I... haha... jolly well should, Martin. (Expression a bit Bridget-Jonesish.)
M: Right. SO how often is that then, Brent?
B: Oh, you know, christenings and funerals mostly. And, ah, the occasional sunday....
M. Are you a Christian?
B. Oh, haha, you know, ah..... I try to... well you know.......
M. (Looking me straight in the eye) Do you, or do you not, believe that God sent his only son Jesus Christ to Earth in order to save your soul and give you eternal life?
B: (Looking like I've confessed a guilty secret) Er, no, Martin.
M. OK. That's fine. At least I know where we stand.
Martin was no fool.
B: OK Martin, let's suppose that Hungary are to play Romania at football. Who do you shout for? The country you live in or the one over the border?
M: Er, Hungary.
B: OK. That's fine. At least I know where we stand.
Overall, despite some vivid experiences, Romania is just a bit too drab to justify the effort.