Great Expectations

See what I did there? It’s called a vague theme. This is going to be the conclusion story to last week’s shenanigans. Neah, Daniel and I ate breakfast at the hostel in the morning, right before Neah had to leave to catch a bus out of town. I packed up my belongings and left them in storage while I spent most of the day downtown. At 1900 I was to meet a new friend, a local by the name of Diana. Joben, the cafe where we were to meet, was booked for a private function for the evening, so we went to Livada, one of the most popular restaurants in town. After a few beers we took number 30 bus back to Grigorescu, the part of town northwest of the city where she lives and also close to where my hostel is located. I picked up my bags and headed even farther west, on foot, to Anca’s apartment.

Anca is a couchsurfer that agreed to let me stay at her place for a few nights. I arrived fairly late in the evening, so we spent about an hour getting to know each other before she went to sleep (the following day was Friday – she had to be up early for work). The next morning I went to Plan Bistro for lunch (and again the following day). They have delicious meals for affordable prices. I would recommend the place, but it’s a bit out of the way for most travelers. That evening we met up with a friend/coworker of hers and had dinner at an Italian Restaurant. I believe it was Restaurant Camino. Afterwards we headed to a club called The Shelter to watch a local Romanian band play.

The main attraction at the club that evening was Partizan, a band from Bucharest. Can’t say I really enjoyed their performance. The least singer was obviously intoxicated. The first proof was when he took off his shirt. Now this is an older guy – probably at least 50 – that was in excess of 40kg overweight. I understand it’s hot on the stage, but that isn’t necessary. After another song or two he attempted to eat the microphone. When he couldn’t he just threw it forcefully on the ground. They were unable to play their last song because the microphone didn’t work anymore. In addition to this guy’s childish antics, the four high-intensity spotlights on the stage were constantly moving. They actually spent the majority of their time pointed into the audience. These lights were as blinding at the sun, so you couldn’t dare to look at the stage for fear of losing the function of your retinas.

We finally left around 0200 and shared a cab back to her place. The next day I met up with Diana at a nearby bus station and we toured the Cluj Botanical Gardens for an hour or so before eating dinner at Klausen Burger. The restaurant itself is on the fourth floor of the small shopping center downtown. On the weekends, the only way to reach it is by elevator. Seems like a bit of a fire hazard. Anyway, the weather was nice enough to sit on the rooftop patio section. I had to leave at 1930 to meet Anca and her friend at the cinemas a short distance away. We had tickets to the movie Câini – Romanian for Dogs. Apparently it won several awards at a film festival recently. Even with the subtitles, some of the translation was lost. Regardless, I enjoyed the film. It wasn’t at all what I’m used to when watching movies, but it had it’s own Romanian charm to be sure.

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After the movie the three of us went to a local bar near the center, the name of which eludes me at the moment. While there we met about eight more of her friends. After only one drink they decided to head to a club…The Shelter, of course. This time, though, my experience was much better. Aside from the blinding lights, the band was better and the club was less crowded. We were there until 0300, at which point they wanted to switch venues. We caught a cab up to the top of the Cetatuia Park, to a small hidden club called Gazette. It apparently used to be an arms bunker of some sort. It was a stone room built into the ground. I may have liked the club at any other time, but by 0400 in the morning I was getting tired. In the United States, everything closes at 0200, at which point it is time for the after party. The after party is at a house where you can relax and not have to pay 15 Lei for a drink or 10 Lei just to get in. Partying at a club until 0500 or 0600 just seems a bit excessive to me. I think mostly people go to clubs to try and find someone with whom to hookup. If that hasn’t happened by 0300 it’s probably not going to.

Anyway, I got tired and walked the hour back to the apartment. Anca, who left later but took a cab, beat me there by about ten minutes. She woke me up early because she was leaving for Turda to see her parents for a few days. Back to the Cosy Hostel I went! I arrived back to the hostel at about noon. I was still incredibly tired from barely sleeping the night before, but I couldn’t seem to be able to rest. I met up with Diana again several hours later, and after she cooked us a delicious pasta dinner we toured the nearby Ethnographic Compound. Even though it is literally just outside her backyard, she had never seen it before. Unfortunately, we misread the hours of operation (winter now, not summer) and only had an hour to see the sights. Worse, the security guard followed us around the whole time, rushing us. Apparently he couldn’t leave until we did. Jerk.

 

On the way back to her house we stopped for a few minutes to collect some kind of nuts that were falling off a nearby tree. I used a big stick to knock down as many as I could while she collected them. Back at her house she peeled a few for us to munch on while we watched Guardians of the Galaxy. I left late in the evening so that she could walk her vicious dog that she oddly named after a wireless router.

Last night was the best sleep I’ve had in quite some time. I woke up at 0900 for the complimentary breakfast, then actually rested a bit more while I watched a documentary on my computer. Around noon I caught the number 28B bus all the way to the Polus Shopping Center. I had a few items I needed to pick up, as well as groceries. The plan was to head over to Diana’s house at 1900 and make dinner, but she messaged me to say she had to work late – which I choose to believe – and that dinner would have to wait until tomorrow. I returned to the hostel to get some errands done, including getting caught up on my blog.

My roommates the previous evening were a couple from Brasov. I told them that the city is next on my list, once I’ve departed from Cluj. They gave me their contact information and told me to look them up once I arrived so they can give me some pointers for the city. Today my new roommate is a German guy in town for university. His apartment won’t be ready for a few days, so he is staying at the hostel until then. He is studying history and archaeology. I feel like some good conversation may arise from that.

I still have no future plans. Eventually I am going to leave Cluj, as much as I would like to stay here forever. I desperately need to pick up some winter clothing. I can probably manage with just one or two warm shirts, but I will need to get a winter coat sooner rather than later.

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