Thursday, June 25, 2009

Romania 2009: Day 2

Woke up at 4:30 a.m. this morning which is 8:30 p.m. in Houston. My first concern was that my body would think it just had a power nap and would want to go to bed in a few hours. After a good breakfast headed out to play soccer. Obviously the imposing presence of Don Owens, Hunter and myself scared the locals away and we didn’t even have our Houston Dynamo shirts on. But I guess when you are an athlete then you don’t have to wear sports clothes to impress people. It was either this or the lack of sleep was playing havoc with my sense of reality.
The drive through Bucharest and then up to Pucioasa and on to Sinaia in the mountains really show the differing cultures and history of Romania. Within the heart of Bucharest there is a lot of business and it is more modern in its architecture. As you get to the outskirts it is definitely more rustic. Along the route there were several small villages like Contesti, Aninoasa, and Doicesti and then another big town called Targoviste. Most of the condition of the housing points to the poverty that exist but at the same time a lot of these houses also have satellite dishes. And then with these towns there is the occasional big house. It points back to the Great Romania where there were a few very wealthy aristocracy and then a lot of poor people.
The most interesting towns were gypsy villages. The first was where the government had stepped and helped build houses. The gypsies moved their horses inside these nice houses and they live outside in tents. I guess with how important horses are to their livelihood it makes sense. All the way on the drive there are horse drawn carts carrying every kind of material. One even had a fridge in the back. Wasn’t sure if they had picked this up or whether they just use it to carry their food back home in it to keep it warm. I’m not sure if they realize it has to be plugged in to keep the .The second village was a town where they basically search the river bed for stones to use for building. This will include smashing bigger stones to get the right size rocks for building. Their houses are surrounded by piles of rocks and the houses are very attractive.
The other humorous sight was a lady who was probably in her 70’s taking a cow (yes a cow) for a walk.
In Pucioasa we picked up the youth from the church to head up to the cabin in Sinaia. Before leaving we managed to fit in a game of volleyball. At first it was the Americans versus the Europeans (I was obviously on the European side) but when we realized that the Americans could score a point we split the sides up. It is amazing how fast these youth can bond. Despite the language barrier the two groups of youth have already bonded. One of the coolest things was on the coach to Sinaia where they sang praise and worship songs in two separate languages. At times simultaneously and it really sounded good. To know that God was being lifted up by groups with the same belief but in a different language was really awesome.
There is probably a lot more I could write but we are limited for time as we are sitting in a hotel lobby borrowing their wireless internet. If I get more time tonight I will share some more thoughts. If we get gas/petrol then tonight I might do my fire eating. So pray that I don’t burn myself or burn the cabin down.

Romania is a dog nation. There are dogs everywhere, mostly stray dogs but they are everywhere. My daughter Savannah would not survive over here or she would have to own a really big house because she would want to take them all in.
"All the earth shall worship You And sing praises to You; They shall sing praises to Your name" – Psalm 66:4

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