Day 4 – The Hills Are Alive
After getting back to the hotel last night I was able once again to show my mastery of language skills. We had just found out that our new hotel could give us 4 rooms a night earlier. When I got to the hotel/dance club I needed to go and let the four groups in the main hotel to pack so we could check out in the morning. I asked the first employee if he could let me know which rooms they were in but he had no clue what I was saying and then one after one the employees came out to talk to me. I first found out there were no Americans in the hotel. I assumed they didn’t understand versus they had kicked them out. Then I was told I couldn’t have a room because they were full. I now have a greater appreciation of Holly’s game of charades with them the night before. Well I think the end result was that I am the new DJ for the hotel and I start tomorrow. They were also impressed with my hand movements (i.e. charades) and want me to perform my break dance for the club as well. I think the worst part was actually going up to tell the team. I knocked on the Cannon’s door and they refused to answer the door (not hearing them clearly I later found out it was because they were not decent). While I stood at their door the Hedners, hearing the commotion outside and seeing the silhouette of a large man (glass in doors must distort the view and like a camera put 20 pounds on a person), got scared and Sue threw Lindsey to the floor to hide her. Finally order was restored when Stuart came out to check on things having mopped up his bathroom after another incident with the shower.
Last night was a more typical Romanian night. At about midnight the dog fight began. It only went for about 30 mins. Then at 4:30 a.m. the rooster started up. This was followed up by a train passing through and for whatever reason wanting to blow his whistle every 10 seconds. Needless to say my 4 hours of sleep set me up well for a long drive to Bran and Sinai. I think my sleep deprivation also affected my family. At 7:50 a.m. I ran into their bedrooms and told them they needed to be ready in 10 minutes for us to leave for breakfast. They all looked rather surprised but did a great job of being ready. I then checked my watch and realized it was only 6:50 a.m.
Today was a day to take the Romanian youth to two castles. The first in Bran which was the castle belonging to Count Dracula. The second was the royal palace in Sinaia. Russ prepped us for the trip by cooking pancakes which I don’t think the Romanians fully understand but do like. We then all jumped in the vans for the three-hour drive. About an hour into the drive one of the Romanian girls decided eating pancakes before a long drive wasn’t such a good idea and left them on the side of the road. Then about an hour later the internal bladder pressure had reached breaking point and we had to stop at a petrol station (gas station for the American readers). It was kind of interesting to see a quiet gas station suddenly get stormed by 33 people trampling over each other to get to the toilets. My wife won the race which I think was relative to the amount of internal pressure.
We finally made it to Bran castle which was fairly interesting but we didn’t see any dead bodies or heads or anything. Similar to a lot of us who may have lived in New York but never been to the Statue of Liberty or London and not visited the Tower of London or Houston and not visited … um … that famous place you would go to in Houston, several of the Romanians had never been to Bran Castle.
From there it was on to Sinaia. Half way back to Sinaia we pulled off the road to have sandwiches which Chrissie and Tiff had prepared for us. In the field next to us were a flock of sheep and a few dogs, supposedly sheep dogs. Well being the animal loving people we are, everyone started throwing their leftovers to the dogs. Suddenly pandemonium reigned as the shepherd tried to move the sheep along but now his dogs were more interested in free food and the sheep lost formation and were spreading out. No matter what he did he had lost control of his dogs. I think what brought back a sense of order was when Tiffany started throwing orange peel to the dogs. They were not interested and gave us that look that said “You’ve got to be kidding me”
Last year we had seen the outside of the castle in Sinaia but this year we had a tour inside. As we entered the castle we asked to put slippers over our shoes. When you have size 12 feet and are wearing hiking boots there aren’t many slippers that would fit. So I careful positioned a slipper over the tips of my boots making me look kind of like an elf but it had to be done. Then our tour guide took us around. I think there should be a rule that a tour guide needs to be over 5 foot tall. With a large group of people all I could make out was a voice coming from the midst of the crowd. I am not sure what he looked like.
Immediately after the castle visit we went down into Sinaia. On the way down we came across a Black Bear that Russ managed to wrestle to the ground and Katie stabbed to death with a pen. We took the bear to the restaurant where we had it hung on the wall and then decided to eat (see photos for proof). That's our story and we are sticking to it.
After a relaxing dinner we headed back to Puciosa and Stuart finally let Russ and I know that he had been racing us all day and that was why he was always in the lead following Alex who was in his car. Russ and I had just thought he really wanted to be first and so had let him go. Now if you are in a race it is usually good to let the other people know and now armed with the actual knowledge there was a race the gauntlet was down. On the way back home Stuart drove like a maniac to make sure he was in the lead. I then had to drop a Romanian youth off in Fieni and so fell to the back. Then Stuart had to drop someone off and both Russ and I passed him and he was in last place by a long way. Of course his van started making up rules as to why Russ and I were disqualified but again it usually is better to share rules with the other teams before the contest starts.
Well tonight most people have turned in for the night except for the bloggers and Damien who is getting some blogging tips for next year. Coffee and Papernosi (donuts covered with cream and a fruit sauce i.e. a sugar rush) are the key essentials for late night blogging. The tiredness is setting in even with our fearless leader. Russ is now falling up stairs in restaurants and has changed my family’s name to the Brittoners. Tomorrow is Church day – a long day in which you spend a lot of time having no clue what Niku is saying.
Philippians 2:4-7 - Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant.
I am constantly reminded here that my life is not for me but for Christ and if Jesus can come and take on the form of a servant how much more I should be able to serve others.
Until tomorrow night.
P.S. We received a message from Nate to post more pictures. I can only give you 5 per blog but my real answer is "next year buy a ticket" :-)