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[26.05.06] America-2005: New Jersey, Amish and museums
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[27.12.04] Herr Klyagin vs. domnul Klyagin
[03.08.04] Danube tales
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22 May 2003 :: The first association to came to my mind when I hear this name is the same called operator in the Perl programming language. It's used to strip the last character in text strings. Of course, the locality and the operator don't have anything in common. A train to Lviv was in a half an hour... [ more.. ]

12 Mar 2002 :: A good friend of mine, Wolfram Schlich from Germany, who coincidentally is also a web master at the centericq.de site, recently got me addicted to another amusing thing in the cyber-culture. It's difficult to be given an exact definition, but I'll try to explain what it is... [ more.. ]

04 Apr 2002 :: Well, there are some news for today. Let's start with centericq. Today is the third day since the IRC protocol support implementation started. And there is a visible progress. The CVS repository contains the changes that can be easily checked out with the cicqsync script... [ more.. ]

[ 3rd Aug 2004 ] Danube tales | 1 comments | leave a comment

For the second time in his life Konst was invited to a very real Romanian wedding party. On Saturday, the 24th July, Mihai "Mishoo" Bazon got married. Must mention here that he is an excellent developer, and the author of well-known things such as the web-calendar and HTML editor written purely in javascript. It might happen you haven't heard his name, but many have used his projects, especially the calendar.

Mishoo has a plan to open the web site of his own company at dynarch.com soon. Judging from the recent news on his personal page, currently Mishoo is working on quite an interesting thingy. According to him, it's going to be "something that noone saw". More precisely, it will be a visual SQL-editor, able to run in a web-browser.

Those are plans for the future, but for the last weekend there was a single, but major plan to have fun and to hang out at the party. In the best traditions, via snail mail in an envelope saying "Onor, d-lui Klyagin Konstantin" (honour, to mister ..) I received the following invitation:

On Thursday I phoned to the Dunarea (Danube) hotel in Galati and made a reservation for a single room. The journey itself gave me a lot of positive emotions and a lot of fun.

Fellow Traveler

As soon as I got on the train called Sageata abastra (Blue arrow) Bucharest-Galati, a friend phoned me. Spontaneously he made a decision to go to the sea and wanted to ask me what buses go to Constanta and where they depart from. We spoke in Russian, and as soon as I finished the talk, a lady of about 35 years old who was sitting opposite to me, asked: "Are you from Russia?". "From Ukraine" -- I answered. Frankly speaking, after the first few phrases I thought my fellow traveler was of a Russian origin, because she was talking very fluently and without any accent. Her appearance (she had blonde hair and blue eyes) also suggested this version. However, she appeared to be Romanian, working in Galati city administration, department of international relations. She was glad to practice her Russian with me and we talked all way long. Again, I was very surprised by her grammar knowledge and accent. It was even more surprising to hear that she learned the language from the grammar books and TV. Sometimes she lacked some words, but with a little practice her Russian could be perfect, with no exaggeration.

While in the train, my fellow traveler kept on telling me interesting things about the projects of European Union to revive the economy of the South-Eastern region of Romania, with investments into the port and shipyards. I also found out the techno-park in Galati, with had been discussed for so long, was already open and populated with offices of major IT companies. In a nutshell, techno-park is such a house built especially for offices of technology companies. Those of them that chose to have offices in the techno-park are given some tax discounts. The project aim is to attract investments into the city's technology sector and offer more jobs. They say the park looks nice and very modern. Unfortunately, Konst still haven't got a chance to visit this miracle. As far as I know it's somewhere in the port area.

The lady on the train told me about another city's place of interest -- a TV-tower. In the top of it there is a restaurant, just like the "7th sky" place they have in Ostankino tower in Moscow. I was strongly advised to visit it, but still, no luck so far.

In the evening I found out that in the same train, exactly behind my back another invited person from Bucharest was sitting. On the party she sat next to me. When I asked her when she came to Galati, she told she had already had a chance to hear me speak Russian all the way. But when one of the invited Romanian guys phoned me and I spoke in Romanian, she got pretty sure I was heading to the same wedding.

Religious Stuff

Konst's plan to see the religious part of the event was carried out only partially. While I was in the hotel room leaving my things and changing clothes, the most of the ceremony passed. I came to the church only 10 minutes before it was over. It had the name of St. Nicolae and from inside it looked like a usual small church. Inside all the invited guys were standing, and the priest was saying various wishes to the newly married couple. Soon it was over and everyone gave them kisses and wished everything nice on their own behalf.

An unpleasant thing happened when everyone was leaving the church. When the guys got into a car, a Gipsy girl came up and started to demand money in a very abusive manner. Someone made an unwise thing and gave her some sum. This made her only demand more saying it was not enough. It was impossible to make her go away, while saying harsh words didn't work. She seemed to be a seasoned one. Probably she is there each time someone is having a wedding. We could get rid of her only by leaving. Well, such things happen rather often, but each time it's rather irritating.

The Hotel and the City

The intersection where the two hotels, "Dunarea" and "Galati" are situated is considered the very downtown. The price I paid per night for a room at "Dunarea" was 1.014.000 lei (~$30). It's a two-stars hotel. The room was a small one, with a TV-set, a fridge, minibar and a bathroom. Anyway, it was ok to sleep in after the party.

There were several hours between the ceremony and the party that Konst decided to devote to the exploration of the city. With me there was Bogdan, an ex-colleague from Iasi and his girl-friend. The embankment of Danube is traditionally considered the city's main place of interest. So we couldn't help paying it a visit. There are at least two words in Romanian for "embankment": faleza and splai. For some misterious reason, in Iasi and Bucharest they call it splai, while in Galati everyone says faleza, the two words being synonyms though. Anyway, on faleza there was a monument of Bratianu, a famous politician, a crowd of people walking up and down the street and a lot of cafes. We chose to have a beer on a drifting terrace. Chairs and tables were made of plastic, and the type of the service was that of quite Soviet-times kind. The platform the place was based on was connected to the big land by a small brigde. Having our beer, we were looking at the opposite shore of Danube. There were some fields and woodlands.

The main street of Galati is called strada Domneasca. It's a really long one, passing through the whole city, from the railway-station to the embankment. Galati is quite a clean city, and compared to Bucharest looks quiet and relaxed. It reminded me of Iasi. Just like the look (and style) of the two cities, the accent of the people from them is also pretty similar. I spent a year of my life in Iasi, which left me a lot of nice memories. Must also mention that at most I liked Romanians from the Eastern region called Moldova. That's why just after I took a cab from the railway-station I was very pleased to hear the driver speaking with the specific Eastern accent. He was very emotional and told me a bunch of stories about his clients. Another thing that makes difference between the capital and smaller cities here is that taxi services have better cars and polite drivers.

The Party

Wedding parties usually take place in the nighttime here. This one started at about 9pm. We came after 10 o'clock. The place was called clubul CFR (former railway workers' house of culture). It was a hall with a scene, where also were tables decorated with balloons and a bit later -- with food. In pauses between dances and drinks people went out to have some fresh air. In one of such moments I talked with the father of the bridegroom. Mr. Vlad Bazon is an informatics teacher at a lyceum in Vaslui. He authored several books in the domain and was very proud for his son who chose the same way and had already had some achievements.

I also found out that besides programming, Mishoo's father was fond of playing chess. So I remembered a good friend of mine from Iasi whose father is a chess teacher at a former pioneers' house. He also wrote a couple of quite popular books on the subject. Mr. Marian Dominte always gave me nice receptions at his house when I came in a visit. It appeared that Mr. Bazon knew him and they even played one against another. When I found out that I thought I would say hi on his behalf, and the next day I did it. It's a small world, even when you are a Russian living in Romania.

Besides Mishoo's father, I got a chance to meet some more interesting fellows at the party. Among them there even were fans of what yours sincerelly writes here, like Bobby (childhood friend of Mishoo's) and his girl-friend. In addition, sometimes Bobby writes on his own. His own blog (site, portal?) is called centruldecazare.ro (don't ask me why). It's in Romanian only. There also was a very charismatic policeman guy and the "nash" constantly saying various jokes.

According to the tradition, there is a guy on the Romanian wedding called "nash". He's a rude or a friend who pays for everything. That's why each 2nd song was dedicated to the "nash". This time I also extended my knowledge of the wedding terminology. I knew it before that there was the same word for his and her parents (socri), quite similar to the one from Russian (svyokry). However, in Russian we have two different words for the two families. The thing I didn't know was that there could be big and small parents-in-law. The big ones come from his side, while small come from the opposite.

Compared to Russian or Ukrainian wedding, the Romanian one is more money-oriented. Here you won't be able to get along giving an original gift of a dinner set or a statuette. Money is usually given instead. I was worried to find an envelope, but my Romanian colleague said he hadn't yet seen a wedding where envelopes were not put on the tables. Indeed, envelopes with names of invited persons written on them were there from the beginning of the party.

Must mention that on some weddings envelopes are not considered enough. In addition, they practice an unpleasant tradition when given sums of money are announced by someone in a microphone. Probably they do it to stimulate the guests to give more, I don't know. However, coming to the wedding of a guy I respect, I won't feel good giving a little money. Something tells me that the tradition with opening envelopes and crying out something like "mister Popescu gave $200!" was borrowed from the Gypsies. Rarely you'll see such things on intelligent people's weddings. Obviously, those who organized the party ignored this tradition.

At the end of the party there was a cake. The bride's veil was put on the head of a young lady from the guests, and also the bouquet was thrown. At about 5am the people started to leave. So did I, went to the hotel to catch some sleep. The next day, after the traditional anti-hangover soup and a walk along the city Konst took a train that brought him back to Bucharest.

Now the newly-weds are enjoying their honeymoon. Taking the opportunity the whole staff of thekonst.net consisting of myself and everything I consist of, wants to wish Mihai and Irina a great family life. "Casa de piatra" like they say here. House of stone.



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