By Dean Edgar
Hard to imagine that just over two months ago, we were climbing mountains of snow, slip sliding our way to work, then came May the 1st and summer hit us slap bang in the chops! Being an Englishman I carry the burden of being obsessed with the weather, making observations about the rain, (I am Manchester born, so somewhat of an expert on precipitation) complaining when it’s too cold, then complaining when it is too hot, and here in Bucharest I am in my element!
I don’t mind the cold so much, you can layer up and down accordingly, but being a Manchester boy, 25C is a heat wave, so Bucharest summers are hard to handle with temperatures well into the 30’s and early 40’s and this year it has come early. Yes, I can find respite in the mountains or by the coast, but my work’s in Bucharest, so here I must be most of the time. The aircon going full blast, along with several electric fans, makes life a little more bearable in my office. However when it comes to getting around town I generally use public transport even though I have a car, I find it much easier to get from A to B without having to worry about parking. And here is where the heat gets smelly. There is the Romanian phenomenon called the ‘Curent’, this is the fear, and I mean a genuine fear, of a draught. When travelling on a non air conditioned bus or trolley bus, and there are several older people on you, I can guarantee that the windows will be closed, therefore ensuring that said OAP’s will not die of the plague, ebola virus, lose a limb or other such terrible ways to go. I have had several arguments with pensioners when sitting next to a window and have attempted to open it, almost causing a riot.
The lack of moving air brings with it another social problem, body odour. Not to be too stereotypical, if you are travelling on a bus, you probably don’t own a car, and so are lower down on the Romanian socio-economic scale (the car is the ultimate status symbol) so sometimes personal hygiene is not a priority. Arms raised up to grab onto the straps gives the passengers in the vicinity a special treat as they make there way to their destination. Surely a shower and some deodorant doesn’t cost that much?
So arriving at a meeting in an office, looking up at the air conditioning unit and praying that it is switched on, you will notice several different ways of making sure that the ‘current’ does not hit anyone directly. Bits of cardboard, plastic or whatever is at hand, are stuck under the unit diverting the flow upwards. A window maybe open, but only one, never two, so preventing a soothing, cooling breeze.
So as my electric fan is blasting at me directly, I throw caution to the wind and hope to survive to write next month’s sign off.
Until next time, enjoy the weather.
Dean Edgar has been living the expat dream here in Romania for 11 years. He is General Manager of Moorcroft Services, a company dedicated to assisting foreigners to settle in Romania. They can help with visas, permits, company set-ups, car registration, house hunting, insurance, orientation tours and basically anything that a newcomer to Romania might need see www.moorcroft.ro for further details.