Observations round 2 – 12 July, 2010

I think this is round two of observations. Well, these are a bit of continuation from the ones prior, but having more to do with Romania.   Next post will be all of the pictures.  I am having some trouble with the pictures that are on my hard drive and getting it to work with this Mac.

One of the first things I noticed leaving Australia, the number of hours in the day.  After doing a little investigation on the ole world wide web, from when I was in Oz throughout May, to my current time in Ireland, I’ve gained around seven hours of daylight.  Here’s how it breaks down:

Oz – 10-11hrs
Spain / Romania  – 16hrs
Ireland – 17hrs
It’s taken me a bit to accustom myself to it still being light at 9:30 or 10:00 pm.

While in Romania, we spent one day at the beach, a lake called “Apa” which is Romanian for water.  Clever fellows, they are.  Anyways, in Romania, speedos are quite a bit more common, which is all well and good.  That is until you get a group of about 12 guys, only two of which have actually played American football, running around in an embarrassment of an attempt at a pass route, all in speedos.  Realistically, there was all of 10 minutes of actually gameplay, and a lot of difficult half English, half Romanian attempt at rules explanation.  Then we switched over to a friendly game of rugby, the only sport we could have chosen that was just as difficult and comical to watch.  All in good fun, though, and to be honest, the lake itself was quite pleasant, and the group of us guys all had a good laugh along the way.

One of the cool things I saw quite a few of in the Romanian countryside was the horse drawn plow.  Back home the only time you might get one of those would be in an Amish community.  I’ve read a fair amount about the history of tools, and seen quite a few because of my padre, and his interest as well.  It was great to see firsthand more use of the types of tools that have since passed their time in my piece of the world.  This time of year must have been harvest season.  The fields were often occupied by several people, bearing sythe’s and rakes, cutting and harvesting the grass (some type of plant, I reckon fairly similar to hay) and collecting it into large piles.  I’ll put up a picture, as they ended up quite large, and I could imagine the time it would take to manually cut, collect, and stack the hundreds of different piles along the hillsides.

Many of the older farmers also brewed a plum liquor, called horinca.  Quite potent, somewhere in the neighborhood of 120 proof, it would be the kind of drink said to “put some hair on your chest.”  The plums are left to ferment in large wooden casks, then taken to the local still (there would commonly be one still per village, that was for public use), where it was then distilled into horinca. Honestly it tasted quite good at a bit lower proof, with some sugar solution added for flavor, which is then called sweet horinca.

I spent a large amount of time with the Romanian swimming team, training every morning.  Technically, I worked out in the weight room and had a leisurely dip after, whereas they were seriously training for the Nationals.  One this is for sure, these guys were some serious athletes.

That’ll be all for now.  Off to run around a bit more of the day.