Posted Nov 28, 2010 in Arts | 0 Comments

Fleur de Bucarest

Dragoş had always wanted a Seat Leon. It must have been around 11 in the evening when he called me, excited, with a voice like there was a hundred dwarves dancing in his throat. I jumped into my angry Mickey Mouse hoodie, grabbed a bottle of home made fire water from the kitchen and ran out into the street. Out there, on Camil Ressu boulevard, the blue FR 150 TDI gleamed like a stallion in the moonlight. I jumped in and just smiled stupidly for a while. I hadn’t seen Dragoş in weeks; he’d disappeared at some point in July. More than anything, I was happy to see him. I congratulated him on the new car like it was a new baby girl.

“Baaaaai nene! E frumoasa rau, ce sa mai zic? Felicitari!”

“Thanks man! You need to hear the story though”

“Unde mergem?”

“Let’s go down by the sea! You down?”

What he meant by “the sea” was actually Constanta, one of the largest cities in my native Romania and a major port on the Black Sea Coast. Constanta is about 220 km east of Bucharest, so, at night with the roads clear, we were looking at more or less a two-hour drive. We’d get back in the morning or something.

“Let’s go!”

A sip of fire water for good luck, and we took off. Somewhere past Policolor and that whole industrial area, Camil Ressu turns into the newly built highway that’s supposed to link Bucharest with Constanta, but that only goes to Cernavoda. Like everything else in my country, “Autostrada Soarelui” is a work in progress. We were soon gliding across the giant concrete slabs of the ridiculously named “Highway of the Sun,” trading stories as the blue baby girl ate up the summer night with her bright angel eyes. Dragoş was talking my ear off, which was unusual – the Seat had gotten into his blood.

“I took the train to Baia-Mare and then found a trucker at a Peco, a nice bloke who was going to Austria. He took me with him and dropped me off near Salzburg. I wanted to buy him a carton of cigarettes to say thanks, but he wouldn’t have it. Really fine guys, these truckers. All they need is some company. You tell some stories, tell some jokes, put on a little performance. If you just sleep all the way, it sucks for them, you see what I’m saying?

“Then I found these other two guys in a truck, who took me to Holland. We played cards all the way (the driver was using his peripheral vision to keep an eight of an eye on the road), and I kept losing to the point where I started thinking ‘damn, they’re really good at this!’ Then I noticed the fuckers had all these mirrors, and they’d been looking at my cards the whole time!”

An eye-o-metric estimation reassured me that the fire water level in the bottle was descending at an acceptable rate. The last thing you want to do is run dry. We stopped for a quick pee & cigarette break on the side of the highway. As we set off again for Constanta, the hitch-hiking story had just crossed over into Germany and was headed for Berlin, where Dragoş’s unsuspecting sister was waiting. An explanation pertaining to the origins of the Seat followed, presented here in a much abbreviated form:

“I bought the car over there. My folks wired me the money. Drove back in it. I dunno man, I’m kinda disappointed in a way. Now that I have it, it’s kinda like ‘bleh,’ you know? I’ve been wanting this forever, and, now, I have it. To be honest, I feel a bit empty.”

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