the drunken ship: Blog en-us (C) the drunken ship (the drunken ship) Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:12:00 GMT Fri, 19 Jan 2018 16:12:00 GMT the drunken ship: Blog 120 94 Night trains, BUCH-CHIS-KIEV How to spend new year’s

There is always a pressure how to end one year and start another one. New year’s eve’s parties were more celebrated in the communist times since Christmas as a religious party was not encouraged.

This year I made it. The train is going from Bucharest to Chisinau and then Kiev. A detail I missed is nobody cared about my new year since their new year would be starting in 13 days now according to their religious calendar. Music started only the next morning.

In the train is warm from the fireplace that heat the compartments, each car has its own fireplace that need to be filled with coal and the fire to be maintained by the second officer of the wagon. Each wagon has one chief in command, the ticket controller, and another keeper of the wagon responsible with maintaining the fire, and various. There are 18 wagons multiply by two, adding two= 38 people in the train. "Sometimes ago the trains were full of travellers there were parties in the restaurant wagon". Everybody is complaining about the state of the railway and the corruption in their country. By the windows similar winter scenery runs continuously. Just fields and forests with some snow…

So what’s next I would ask: the midnight symphony made by the steel wheels on the metal of the railway, amplified by the dumb hole, and the open window. Metallic décor, the noise, the smell and a moment to remember. Champagne, wood fire, some rail sound, a desirable company and another new year.

Technical stuff :

Bucharest to Chisinau by train : 14 hours, around 50 euro / person / 2 bed cabin

Chisinau to Kiev by train : 18 hours, around 60 euro / person / 4 bed cabin

Kiev to Bucharest by air : 2 hours, around 100 euro / person


]]> (the drunken ship) Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:10:55 GMT
Samothraki (the drunken ship) Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:10:27 GMT Nordkapp

]]> (the drunken ship) Fri, 20 Jan 2017 15:09:58 GMT
The land of fire and ice  


The land of magic I would say, no wonder Iceland is the country with biggest number of writers per population. One of them  Halldór Laxness awarded in 1955 with the Nobel for Literature.

There is also a magic museum compiling traces of rituals and symbols; one of them is nacropants: it was needed the permission from a living man for his skin to be used after his death as a pair of skin pants, according to the belief that wearing narcopants will bring prosperity-in xvii th century, when pirates from several countries raided its coastal settlements and abducted people into slavery.

Christianity was adopted by consensus around 999/1000 in a cave where representatives were locked in for 24 hours to decide. It's considered one of the oldest democracy in the world. Today they don't adhere to the Christianity but the church is considered a place of reflection of spirituality and humanity.

The most sparsely populated country in Europe (300.000 people)  was crowded in June 2016 and still seemed like the end of the world. Tourism took Iceland over from the financial crises in 2008 and  economy is growing ever since till double the population in summer times. All energy Icelanders use is green and soon after June 2016th they started a minister of sustainable tourism.

Society:  is considered one of the most equally gendered countries in the world, women and men working several jobs to cover the needs. It is also considered very safe, people never lock their homes and criminality rate is at a very low level. National football team trainer was also a practicing dentist and a national hero when in 2016 Iceland won against France in Euro 2016th football championship. Camping is free in Iceland offering multiple possibilities for exploring for nomad travellers, abundance of equipped camp sites and friendly owners.

In June eternal daylight make all animals crazy being the most fertile time of the year since the other half of the year is in the dark:  ducks, birds, insects, male hunchback whales arrive after two months of traveling from the Caribbean’s to feed from the Iceland fertile shores, the western shore being home to one million birds nesting. Puffin the national bird that became a cartoon character, mate for life travel the whole winter and come back in spring to its partner and nest.

    When you think the day is over, it starts again, the sun rises even before its dawn, pink beaches, black beaches, cliffs, moonscape volcanic views, endless greenspaces, sheep’s running around, geysers, thermal lagoons, glaciers, violet plains of lavender, fjords and more to be discovered since a lot of areas are still difficult to reach, that's why I called Iceland a magic land. western fjords   Roads: are perfect for bikers and caravans- one ring roads and multiple side roads going to isolated spots. km travelled 3000km. 

Costs- with a tent in the bag, food from the supermarket, liqueur from 2 hour open liqueur shop makes it a memorable travel.

]]> (the drunken ship) Iceland bikers fjors geiser glaciers roads vulcanos Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:57:33 GMT
Cuba What I've seen  in 2016 Cuba has now become a major destination for adventure ride bikers in 2017, when in 2016 one rented bicycle was a major attraction on the streets of Havana. Renting one car in Havana in highly tourist season requires a lot of non-informal ballet through employers of the rental company till the director of the rental company to be assured that tomorrow we will have the car. Even if there are only 2000km from the most western point to the eastern one travelling in Cuba is a challenge when dealing with police authority wich they are always right   

Since I visited last year, Obama has visited Cuba  putting the country on the path of a more relaxed sanctions regime, opening  commercial gates; we don't know what will happen during Trump.  Since the sanctions begun, Cuba is left with a scarcity of the most banal stuff, pens, towels, toilet paper and other like cars, tools, etc. The only thing that is a high performance is the health system which became a research destination for doctors.  The currency is different pesos  for Cubans than for foreigners convertible CUC, like any other mingle between inside and outside, campsites only for Cubans, resorts only for foreign tourists

 Internet has just arrived thanks to some cards at a cost that half of a monthly salary for a half an hour card. Casa particular- apartments, or rooms to rent  make it a better value alternative to the state owed hotels, which are expensive and filthy. 

Coming from Ceausescu’s Romania, many Cubans we meet are curious about life after communist regime

]]> (the drunken ship) Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:56:34 GMT
To the Alps (the drunken ship) Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:55:13 GMT Secuime

A short trip from Bucharest to Székely Land passing though Slanic Prahova salt mine and the muddy volcanos from Buzau county 

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Panaitescu Romania Secuime Vartan Thu, 17 Mar 2016 15:34:44 GMT
India & Sri Lanka

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei India Lanka Panaitescu Sri Vartan Fri, 27 Mar 2015 20:02:56 GMT
5 ferries trip



]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Grecia Greece Istanbul Panaitescu Turkey Vartan Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:54:19 GMT



Anexa lucrarii de cercetare prezentate sub forma de slide.


Final research paper appendix, as a slide.


]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Georgia Panaitescu Tbilisi Vartan Tue, 01 Jul 2014 07:32:00 GMT



In curand ....


Soon ...

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Iran Isfahan Panaitescu Shiraz Vartan Mon, 12 May 2014 00:35:46 GMT
1622 ro/eng (RO)

In mod normal un drum Bucuresti - Deva - Bucuresti se face cu masina si cu bagajul de injuraturi pregatit pentru Valea Oltului… Dar mai e cel putin o varianta, trenul de noapte cu un bonus de 24 de ore in Sibiu !!  

1622 e trenul de noapte din Bucuresti la 23.55 si ajunge la Deva la 8.

Gara de Nord putina lume, condensarea tuturor fast food-urilor din Bucuresti pe o suprafata mai mica decat a orasului, pe aleea de acces, ce duce la metrou, cu vedere la peron, si la panoul de informatii. KFC-ul e deschis non stop, si se fumeaza afara, la terasa, langa peron. Baia publica a garii functioneaza la subsol, si e pazita cu cheie si sarg de o femeie ce detine controlul asupra hartiei igienice, acces 1leu.  La clasa 1, o doamna cfr ghideaza calatorii. Conditiile sunt bune, 3 stele, geamul se deschide putin, iar cuseta e doatata cu lavoar sub masa deasupra careia un dulap si o oglinda. in 6mp incap inca un cuier, o scara si 2 paturi.

8:00 am, Deva:  frig de decembrie, o lucratoare cfr cu o lopata face partie pe peron, Sala de asteptare si gara, scara interioara, travertin, supanta, maret. La iesire, 2 chioscuri adosate garii, unul cu de toate, celalat cu gratar si vin fiert, la prima ora, are succes cu clienti fideli taximetristi, se leaga conversatii. 

Muzeul CFR- acces interzis vizitatorilor intampina un semn, chiar la intrare, cu amabilitatea unui lucrator se poate intra pentru scurt timp, o plimbare printre locomotive vechi "iuteala maxima" 40 km/h.

Sibiu, RESTAURANT RAPID amenajat in spatiu separat dar parte a corpului de gara, are o lume diversa in ciuda fatadei frumos tencuite  in ton cu  centrul vechi. O familie cu 2 copii intr-un fum de il tai cu cutitul, 2 prieteni la catarama sau bere, discuta cu insufletire, un om cu aparat foto trezind suspiciunea de a fi ziarist. langa restaurant, o sageata lipita pe usa indica la stanga pe peron;  ventilata natural, personalizata cu flori de plastic, curat se vede preocuparea celui ce o'ngrijeste , un domn cu o cheie si in control asupra hartiei igienice,

400km Bucuresti Deva- 8 h, Deva Sibiu-3h, Sibiu Bucuresti-6h, cu peronul pe partea dreapta, minunata lume veche, CFR calatori!



Normally, one takes the trip Bucharest-Deva-Bucharest by car and with a luggage full of swearing for the Olt Valley... but there’s another option, the night train which comes with a 24 hours bonus stop in Sibiu.

1622 is the night train which leaves Bucharest at 23:55 and arrives in Deva at 8:00.

In the North Station there are few people and all the fast food eateries in Bucharest are concentrated on a much smaller area that that of the city, all on the access way to the subway, overlooking the train platforms and the information panel. KFC is opened nonstop and you can smoke outside, on the terrace, by the train platform. The public restroom is situated in the basement of the station and is guarded fiercely and locked by a woman who controls sanitary paper; access granted for 1 leu. In the first class a CFR (Căile Ferate Române – Romanian Railways) lady guides the passengers. Conditions are fair, 3 stars, the window can be opened a little and the sleeping compartment has a sink underneath a cabinet and a mirror. The 6 sqm fits also a coat hanger, a stair and 2 beds.

8:00 o’clock, Deva: the cold December air, a female CFR (Căile Ferate Române – Romanian Railways) worker carves a trail in the snow with a shovel on the platform, the waiting hall and the station, the interior stairs, travertine, interior balcony, magnificent. At the exit, 2 stores beside the train station, one selling everything, the other selling barbecue and mulled wine at the dawn is very popular with the taxi drivers, its patrons; conversations are starting.

The CFR (Căile Ferate Române – Romanian Railways) Museum – visitors’ access is prohibited, as a sign announces at the entrance, but a kind worker will let you in for a short time, a stroll through old engines with “maximum haste” 40 km/h.

Sibiu, Restaurant Rapid is accommodated in a separate area, but part of the station building and offers its services to a diverse clientele despite its nicely plastered facade which is in tone with the old city. A family with two kids is sitting in a dense cigarette smoke, 2 best or just drinking buddies are lively discussing, a guy with a camera is raising suspicions that he might be a journalist. Next to the restaurant an arrow glued to the door guides you to the left on the platform; naturally ventilated, personalised with plastic flowers, clean, it’s visible the care taker’s work, a bold gentleman with a key and in control of the sanitary paper. 400 km trip Bucharest – Deva takes 8 hours, Deva – Sibiu 3 hours, Sibiu – Bucharest 6 hours, platform on the right hand, wonderful old world, CFR (Căile Ferate Române – Romanian Railways)!

]]> (the drunken ship) 1622 Adina Andrei Panaitescu Sibiu Vartan Sun, 08 Dec 2013 12:04:39 GMT
Are you happy? ro/eng


Why are you not happy? Just relax, enjoy.  

Ganduri din Iordania:

In desert exista oameni stresati?  Doar daca au e-mail, o tabara de condus, tabara de beduini si turisti, aceleasi stele, sau altele, dupa ce-si schimba pozitia. Doar steaua polara e fixa fiind de ceva vreme punct de orientare pentru caravane.

Corporatia beduinilor: se cresc de mici in tabara, depun munci repartizate ierahic in general pe varsta, cresc, pleaca la scoala, se mai intorc sau nu. In afara corporatiei: nu se duc la munca in fiecare zi, se plimba de colo colo, fumeaza tigari de foi la apus, se uita la stele, au o baie cu priveliste, cresc animale, traiesc fara curent electric, sau apa curenta.

Desi vorbesc aceeasi limba, beduinii au un dialect separat, ei pot sa-i inteleaga pe cei de la oras in timp ce viceversa nu e valabila. Beduinii sunt o populatie aparte, traiesc in triburi in desert, egipteni, sauditi, etc. Linistea de acolo, stelele,  cand desertul e loc de joaca de la inceput, beduinii se intorc. Fac o facultate, Isi iau o nevasta, doar una pentru mai putine probleme, dar se intorc. Sunt altii care odata ajunsi acolo, nu mai pleaca. Desertul are viata lui iar oamenii de-acolo s-au invatat sa-l respecte - la Bucuresti natura e un standard al aerului de respirat,  numarului de copaci taiati, deseurilor reciclate- desertul e desert: nu se stie cum o sa fie maine, temperatura cel mai probabil calda, uscata, cu vant, sau mai putin. Dar poate fi si furtuna, tot timpul a fost vant, a zburat nisip peste tot,  in mancare, papuci, in ceai, si-n farfurii. Apa calda nu e, doar de la soare, noaptea frig, nu ploua niciodata, iar cand ninge e sarbatoare. Rar, in ianuarie, o zi, zapada de peste noapte, ziua dispare in 5 minute.

 Masa in desert e un picnic permanent. 

 Nomazii de pe drum, triburi sau comunitati mici, cateva familii, dar nu in desert, ci mai degraba cultivatori: rosiile de vanzare la marginea drumului si agricultura cu irigatii, tehnologie germana.  Comunitatile sunt la o distanta considerabila, Lawerence' house si magazinul de suveniruri, cu ceai in mijlocul nimicului, masina care cara apa, si beduinii moderni cu pick-up truck aglomerate cu turisti. Poti sa faci dune board, sau hiking, in limbaj cunoscut, aici e pur functional. Pantalonii scurti ar fi de evitat, unde moda e rochie lunga, material de calitate, nimic contrafacut sau plastic, desi femeile beduin lipsesc, niste  rochii agatate arata ca la un moment dat au fost acolo. Altfel traiesc in sat, lucreaza la visitor’s center, conduc din umbra o afacere moderna a turismului, sau promoveaza arta locala. Aceleasi rochii, de data asta acopera si fata, impecabil croite din materiale scumpe sau doar de calitate, l-ar face pe Tom Ford invidios. Cojocul de camila, lung, esarfa(وشاح) pe cap, ochelarii de soare, sandale, sa circule nisipul, adaptat la tehnologie, beduinul de azi e cool. Mirosuri dulci, ambra, musk, intepatoare anesteziaza si imbata. Turistele blonde apreciaza. In desert cel mai bine e ca nu te gandesti la nimic: absolut nimic, toate gandurile se evapora, dispar in infinit. Doar pentru asta merita. In rest totul e desert.


Beduinii au un cod moral probabil valabil si in armata, aici varianta pasnica, desi sculatul devreme culcatul la fel, face parte din rigoare.N-ai voie sa nu fii happy, e-n fisa postului. 

Identitatea beduinilor se pastreaza in ceaiul beduinilor- cu menta si cuisoare, iar cultura comertului se vede in khan’ul din desert construit pe la anul 800.

O poveste cu primarul regiunii Karak: Pentru primar castelul era singura atractie, drept care isi facuse un hotel in care tinea mortis sa ne cazeze.Dupa un ceai si multe tigari in benzinaria in care am oprit pentru indicatii, ospitalitatea devine forta majora in cazul oaspetelui strain. De unde atata condescendanta? strainul? comertul?ospitalitate? Asa cum il percep ca strain si vice versa e valabila, cu o limita foarte subtire o data ce ne imprietenim. Un ceai cateva tigari si conversatii neinteligibile, limbajul ne spunea s-o tulim cat mai repede, cu putin teatru si false promisiuni, in spiritul jocului.

Iordanianul retras din armata regasit in parcare, pe king’s highway zona barajului, sus, cu privelijte prilejuind un spectacol tuturor celor care se opresc la o cafea, dar si un supliciu fiului cu care salasluia, in parcare, extrasezon - un fel de iarna lor nici pe de parte irana pe care o stiu, cu 4 anotimpuri, _un cort cu toate cele, bucatarie, living, cort separat pentru baie si altul pentru dormitor. Petul, Max zace vis-a-vis de drum, legat cu un lantz chiar de stanca, perete de antrenament zilnic pentru khaledul generic. Altfel ne-a oferit magie si joc in 15 minute, demonstratii si veselie. Isi vindea sufletul. Cu plata la nivelul sufletuluii fiecaruia. I-as fi dat mult pentru performance, in Iordania preturile nu sunt mici.

KING'S HIGHWAYKING'S HIGHWAY La marea moarta, senzatia de mort din nume razbate si e greu de dus. Bazait de muste, multe muste sunt singurul lucru viu de-acolo, care as fi preferat sa fie mort. O data pe an, inainte sa vina frigu, se aduna la -400m toate mustele din lume.

Nu se’nghesuie nimeni la baie, cand e un plutit caraghios, cu grija sa nu ajungi pe burta, altfel ustura ca dracu, toate ranile, nu  stiu daca se vindeca. Peisajul beige, monoton si invecinarea apropiata cu Israelul nu e semn bun. Politia, armata, supravegheaza. Camere, binocluri, poltia supravegheaza tot. What do you want?

Rimeaza cu why are you not happy? Intreaba poltistul pentru turisti de la petra.  Pai sa vezi c-am fost luat cu japca cu un cal si un ghid, desi eu am platit, am ajuns in varf si era frumos am vazut de sus, desi nu asta vroiam neaparat. Dar ce vroiai in 2h sa vezi, nu tot? uite tot deodata, nu asta ai vrut? What do you want? I want my money back. Cam simplu pentru asa o poveste frumoasa. It’s a missunderstanding, au repetat constant. All of the money back? mai negociem putin ca parca a fost frumos, si caii s-au chinuit, si oamenii sa ne faca happy, fie 25, din 100. Plecat su senzatia de invins, desi oarecum castigasem, sau nu neaparat.- castigul era sa fi fost happy dupa cum repeta copilul ghid vorbitor de engleza si nu prea.

Cum sa vizitezi un sit (PETRA) care necesita cateva zile in cateva ore ? Bonus : oboseala si un cost astronomic. Pana la urma s-a transformat intr-o noua experinta calare … Situl merita efortul si banii, am ramas cu o senzatie de neterminat … totul pe fuga.. inchis deja peste tot… la iesire intampinat de micii teparii… urlete si politie, totul trebuia sa fie bine dar na uneori sunt si neintelegi, versiunea politiei.. negociat paguba si fiecare cu drumul sau … pacat. Cu toate astea gustul ramane bun.

Calaritul camilei ... cand cineva propune asta ar fi de verificat care va fi timpul petrecut in sa si ... saua, altfel ajungi cu rosaturi si bataturi in cele mai neasteptate si neplacute locuri...



Subiect: Serviciu clienti


Departamentul unde a avut loc situatia de rezolvat: relatii cu clienti



Buna ziua, va scriu in speranta unui ajutor. Datorita ofertei companiei dumneavoastra 100E catre diverse destinatii, am achizitionat doua bilete 27.11, 23:55.

De ce va dau toate detaliile? pentru ca e ziua lui Andrei, si mergem la Amman. Zborul trebuia sa fie cu o zi inainte dar a fost devansat cu o zi. Astfel ziua de nastere la multi ani si toate cele, se va desfasura pe aeroport, in avion..etc. Rugamintea era  daca personalul poate fi instruit sa-i ureze la multi ani, eventual o sticla de sampanie la bord, pe care mi-o asum s-o achit. 


On Monday, 25 November 2013, 8:48, Customer Service <> wrote:

Buna ziua,

Va rog trimiteti-mi codul de rezervare si numele sarbatoritului

O zi buna

Customer Relations Office


pahare  de sticla, sampanie alb, sec, invelita in servet, si La multi ani! 

 TAROM -omul sfinteste locul- zbor spre Amman 23:55, 28 nov.2013


PS. Iordania in cifre :

Bucuresti - Amman / Amman - Bucuresti = TAROM 99 € / pers

Viza obtinuta pe loc de la ambasada din Bucuresti = 38 € / pers

2 nopti dormite in avion / masina / parcare / intersectie

2 nopti in desert la WADI RUM

1 noapte la Marea Moarta

Masina inchiriata : 125 € = Hyundai I20 1.1 / Benzina 1 € / litru

Cca 1200 km. 3 controale ale politiei, o data interactiune cu armata.



Why are you not happy? Just relax, enjoy.

Thoughts from Jordan:

Are there stressed out people in the desert? Only if they have e-mail, a camp to manage, a Bedouin and tourist camp, same stars, or different ones, after changing position. Just the North Star is fixed and a guide for the caravans for some time now.

The Bedouin corporation: they grow up in the camp, doing chores hierarchically distributed generally based on the age, they grow up, go away to school and come back or not. Outside the corporation: they don’t go to work every day, they walk around, smoke cigars at dusk, watch the stars, they have bathrooms with a view, grow animals, live without electricity or running water.

Although they speak the same language, Bedouins have different dialects, those who live in the desert can understand the city folk, but not the other way around. Bedouins are a special kind of people, they live in tribes in the desert, Egyptians, Saudis etc. The silence out there, the stars, the desert as their playground from the beginning is bringing them back. They go to college, find a wife, just one for less trouble, but they come back. Others who get there never leave. The desert has its own life and people there learned to respect it – in Bucharest nature is a standard of the air you breathe, of the number of trees cut, of the recycled waste – the desert is the desert: you don’t know how tomorrow’s gone be, temperature most probably high, dry, windy or not. But there can also be a storm, wind has blown all the time, the sand flies everywhere, in the food, in the tea, in the slippers and in the plates. There’s no hot water, only sun heated, at night it gets cold, it never rains and it’s party time when it snows. Seldom, in January, it snows overnight and the snow is gone in 5 minutes in the morning.

Lunch and dinner in the desert are always a picnic.

Nomads on their way, tribes or small communities, a few families, not in the desert but rather farmers: tomatoes for sale on the side of the road and agriculture with irrigation systems thanks to the German technology. Communities are at considerable distances from one another, Lawrence’s house and souvenir shops where tea is sold in the middle of nowhere, the water carrying car and the modern Bedouins with their pickup trucks loaded with tourists. Dune boarding and hiking have here pure functional roles. Shorts should be avoided as here the new black are long dresses made out of quality fabrics, nothing cheap or plastic, although the women are nowhere to be found, some hanged dresses are proof they were at some point in time here. Otherwise, they live in the village, they work at the visitor’s centre, they run incognito a modern tourism business or they just promote local art. Same dresses, this time also face covering, perfectly tailored out of expensive or just very good fabric would make Tom Ford jealous. The long camel fur coat, the head covering scarf (وشاح), sun glasses on, sandals so that the sand flows out, adapted to technology today’s Bedouin is cool. Sweet, powerful smells of amber and musk make you dizzy and sleepy. The blonde female tourists appreciate this. The best thing about the desert is that you think of nothing, absolutely nothing, all thoughts evaporate, they disappear in the infinity. It is worth if only for that. Other than this there’s just desert.

The Bedouins have a moral code which is probably the same also in the military, here just the peaceful version, although waking up and going to bed early are part of everyday life. You’re not allowed to be unhappy, it’s in the job description. The Bedouins identity is kept in their tea – mint and pimento and their culture of commerce is seen in the desert khan, built around 800 AD.

A story about the mayor of Karak region: for him the castle was the sole touristic attraction, so he built a hotel where he insisted to accommodate us. After a tea and lots of cigarettes smoked in the petrol station where we stopped for guidance hospitality becomes force majeure when a foreign tourist is concerned. From where does so much condescendence come from? The stranger? The commerce? The hospitality? As much as I see him as a stranger as he does me with a very thin limit once we befriend. A tea and some cigarettes smoked during unintelligible conversations, the situation was telling us we should get on our way as soon as possible, using a bit of acting and false promises for the game’s sake.

The army retired Jordan man found in the parking lot high on king’s highway near the dam, where the view is spectacular for all those who stop for coffee but a torment for his son who lives with him in the parking lot during off season – some kind of winter, but nothing compared to the winter I know, the one that comes with a four seasons climate –in a tent fully equipped with kitchen, living room, separate tent for bathroom and another one for bedroom. Their pet, Max, lays across the road, chained directly to the cliff which is everyday training wall for the generic Khaled. Other than that he offered us magic, playful demonstrations and joyfulness during 15 minutes. He’s selling his soul. Paid as rich as the audience’s souls. I would have paid a lot for his performance and Jordan is not a cheap country.

At the Dead Sea, the feeling the name creates is real and hard to ignore. Flies buzz, lots of flies which are the only living thing there, although I would have preferred they were dead. Once per year, before cold weather comes, all the flies in the world gather at 400 meters below sea level.

Nobody is eager to take a bath since this means just floating ridiculously on your back, being careful not to roll over on your belly ‘cause every scratch you have on your body stings like hell and I don’t know if they really heal. The flat, beige view and the vicinity of Israel are not good signs. The police and the army are watching. Surveillance cameras, binoculars, the police watches everything. What do you want?

It rimes with why are you not happy? Ask the tourist policeman in Petra. Well, you see, the guide dragged me by horse, although I’ve paid, we got to the top and it was nice, but this was not really what I wanted. Didn’t you want to see everything in 2 hours? Look, it’s everything all at once, isn’t this what you wanted? What do you want? I want my money back. A bit simple for such a lovely story. It’s a misunderstanding, they kept repeating. All of the money back? Let’s negotiate a bit more, ‘cause it wasn’t so bad after all and the horses worked hard and the guys too to make you happy, ok, 25 out of 100. I left with the feeling that I have lost, although I had won in a way, or maybe not. The winning was being happy, as the under aged, English sort of speaking guide kept telling us.

How to visit a site (Petra) in a few hours instead of a few days? Bonus: exhaustion and sky-high costs. All in all it became a new camel riding experience... the site is worth the effort and the money, but all I got is a feeling of undone... everything on the run... everything closed already... the exit crowded by the small swindlers... shouting and police, everything should have been fine, but, well, as the police put it, sometimes there are misunderstandings... the loss was negotiated and we all got on our separate ways... it’s a shame. And despite that the taste of it is pleasant.

When someone proposes you to ride a camel, check how long will you be in the saddle and the saddle itself, otherwise you’ll get soar skin and blisters in the most unexpected and unpleasant places.



Subject: Customer care


The department where the story happened: Customer Relations Office


Hello, I am writing to you hoping for your help. According to your offer of 100 Euro for any destination I purchased two tickets for November 27, 23:55.

Why do I provide these details? Because it’s Andrei’s birthday and we’re flying to Amman. The flight should have been one day prior to his birthday but it got delayed one day. So the birthday, the congratulation and everything will take place on the airport, in the plane and so on. I would like to ask you to instruct the personnel to wish him happy birthday, maybe have a bottle of champagne on board, which I will pay.

On Monday, 25 November 2013, 8:48, Customer Service <> wrote:


Please send me the reservation code and the name of the birthday boy.

Have a nice day

Customer Relations Office


The outcome: champagne glasses, white, dry champagne wrapped in a napkin and “Happy birthday!”

TAROM– people make the place worthwhile – Amman flight 23:55, 28 November 2013


P.S. Some figures about the trip to Jordan:


Bucharest – Amman / Amman – Bucharest = TAROM 99 Euro/pax

Visa for Jordan granted on the spot by the embassy in Bucharest = 38 Euro/pax

2 nights we slept in the plane/car/parking lot/intersection of roads

2 nights in the desert at Wadi Rum

1 night at the Dead Sea

Car rental: 125 Euro for a Hyundai I20 1.1/Petrol 1 Euro/litre

Cca 1200 km, 3 police checks, one interaction with the army.

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Jordan Panaitescu Vartan Mon, 02 Dec 2013 18:34:25 GMT
Bicaz 2013 ro/eng (RO)


Nu stiu ce inseamna vacanta, un tur de forta, sau doar am trecut pe’acolo...





I don't know what's a vacantion, running around or just passing by...

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Bicaz Panaitescu Vartan Sun, 17 Nov 2013 00:35:34 GMT
Istanbul V.04 ro/eng (RO)

Deja indragostit, intr-un Babilon actual, Zamfir ne-a dus mai departe de Fatih, acolo unde se grupeza expatriatii Istanbului, dornici de integrare, desi mai mult traditionalisti in restarantul segregat. Rafinament gastronomic si un regal al papilelor gustative !

A patra oara la Istanbulul, trezeste aceleasi simturi amortite prin toti porii. Taksim.

Zgomotul, vine de la comertul stradal foarte vocal in Istanbul, de la muzicantii de pe Isticklal sau vreun spectacol organizat ad-hoc cu muzici, cantat si dansuri, forfota vietii, sau imamii coordonati la cateva secunde, din toate partile orasului.

Separarea mirosurilor devine sarcina grea: intre peste proaspat si canalizare deschisa, narghilea dulce si carne de oaie, e nevoie de un stomac batatorit; mestec sendvicuri cu mate prajite si condimentate langa ligheanul cu peste pe gheata, ceaunul in care se prajesc scoici, sau scoici cu orez cu 1 lira bucata intr-o servire plina de emfaza in mijlocul strazii.

Ca si cum pana atunci am trait doar alb-negru, un batran umfla baloane colorate. unul cate unul tacticos, de placere sau cu vreun folos, le agata de o sfoara si le da drumul in apa. Soarele puternic le face si mai colorate fata de albastrul cerului si al apei, e rost de impuscaturi.

NATO, crucisatoare pe Bosfor, mai aproape sunt pusti si baloane.

In aceeasi zi pe malul marii,  in cautarea unei beri, e un soare cald, si valuri care se zbat de faleza. Baruri incognito si terase improvizate cu sanse mari de bere in butoaie ascunse. Un arheolog roman, stie tot sau mai mult decat am fi putut intreba.


Already in love, in a modern day Babylon, Zamfir took us further then Fatih, where the expats of Istanbul gather wishing for integration, although there are more traditionalist people in the segregated restaurant. Exquisite gastronomy and a celebration of the taste!

Fourth time in Istanbul and still the same sleeping senses are being stirred through all your pores. Taksim. The noise comes from the street merchants, who are very loud in Istanbul, the musicians from Isticklal or some ad-hoc show with music, singing and dancing, the city life or the seconds coordinated imams in every corner of the city.

The distinction between smells is hard work: fresh fish and sewers, sweet hookah and raw sheep meat requires a strong stomach. I chew a spicy fried tripe sandwich next to the bowl of fish on ice or the cauldron where the clams are being fried or I eat clams with rice that cost 1 Turkish Lira a dish, served gracefully in the middle of the street.

As if by now I have lived in a black and white world, an old man is pumping air into coloured balloons, for his own fun or with another purpose, he ties them with a string and throws them into the water. The noon day sun makes them even more colorful in the blue water and sky and there goes some shooting.

NATO, battlecruisers in the Bosporus and even closer there are rifles and balloons.

Same day, on the beach, searching for a beer, warm sun and waves crushing on the embankment. Incognito bars and improvised terraces with a high chance of hidden beer kegs. A Romanian archaeologist knows everything or even more then we could ask.

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Istanbul Panaitescu Vartan Tue, 01 Oct 2013 00:05:00 GMT
Krapets ro/eng (RO)
In 2011 nu era nimic. Doar plaja, si cativa localnici veniti sa se bronzeze cu peturile si sandwichurile in bagaj. Anu trecut au aparut gherete 2 la numar, aduna majoritatea oamenilor in jur. Sandwichul aici l-am gasit, la prima rulota, cu cei doi frati cu care deja ne-am imprietenit prin intermediul bauturii verzi. 
Sandwich cu condimentul bulgaresc ce apare in toate mancarurile, pare specific;  dupa 3 km de mers pana la plaja, fie pe bicicleta sau cu masina, deja cald, mic dejunul l’am ratat, ghereta e singura salvare, si sandwichul cu condimentul specific.
Cei doi frati detasati pe plaja,  pentru un sezon, 3 luni pe plaja intr-o rulota, intr-un fel de concediu lucrativ din Germania, de la job. Dureaza destul de mult cat sa atate simturile, miroase intre timp, si condimentul, neregasindu-se in tot spatiul balcanic, aici e unic, deci specific, si nu neaparat bun, pentru un neobisnuit. 
Sand-wich, o plaja lunga ce uneste puncte si mai continua, pana'n Romania, un camping legat de un sat pescaresc Krapetz:  leaga unde cu care. Liqeurul verde din razboiul stelelor direct pe plaja, la 30 de grade, e si mai verde. 

La 2 km distanta risti sa ramai intepenit, in nisip, desi pare incredibil, se poate ! Asta daca nu apare un  Patrick Swayze, inconjurat de nimfe, salvator. S-a imbracat, s-a scuzat de la masa, de la terasa rulotei, maxim de opulenta in zona, rulota, scaune pliante, etc. Scaunele pliante ar necesita un studiu mai profund, in cultura comunista erau produse de nisa.
Ce vorbisem pana atunci fusese in van, o poliloghie in engleza destul de convingatoare prin ton si limbaj, mai putin prin inteles, Patrick Swayze vorbea germana, sau bulgara, dar deajuns incat sa  tracteze cu un jeep direct in panta, o Skoda impotmolita in nisip, pretul, un scut lipsa, sursa de scantei pe drum. Patrick Swayze de Bulgaria - inger pentru Romania ! 
Back in 2011 there was nothing here. Just the beach and a few local people looking for a sun bath with the bottles of beer and sandwiches in the bag. Last year there were 2 new small shops where everybody gathered. It’s here where I found my sandwich, at the first shop in a caravan, owned by two brothers with whom we befriended by means of the green liquor.

The sandwich with the Bulgarian spice that’s in every dish seems locally specific. After a 3 kilometres trip to the beach, by bike and by car, it’s already hot outside, we missed our breakfast and the shop is our last hope, with its sandwich with the specific Bulgarian spice.

The two brothers are here, on the beach, for one season, three months in the caravan, in some sort of a lucrative vacation from their jobs in Germany. It takes long enough to arouse the senses, the smell is already in the air and the spice, unique in the whole Balcanic area is at home here and not necessary tasty for someone not used to it.

Sandwich, a long beach that continues to Romania, a camping next to a fishing village, Krapets. The green liquor that seems to be coming out of Star Wars directly on the beach, at 300C I s even greener.

At 2 kilometres distance you risk to get stuck in the sand even if it is incredible. Only if a Patrick Swayze surrounded by nymphs doesn’t appear as a savior. He got dressed, excused himself from the caravan’s terrace, the top of the opulence in the area, the caravan, folding chairs etc. The folding chairs need a deeper analysis as they were niche products in the communist culture. 

All the discussion up to that moment was in vain, a long talk in English, convincing enough by tone and words, less by meaning, Patrick Swayze was speaking German or Bulgarian, but enough to tow a Skoda stuck in the sand, with an SUV, straight up the hill, with the price of a damaged engine shield which became the source of sparks on the road. The Bulgarian Patrick Swayze – an angel for Romania!

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Krapets Panaitescu Vartan Sun, 01 Sep 2013 19:15:00 GMT
Balkans ro/eng


Ganduri amestecate :
Bucuresti, Vidin, Novi Pasar, Durmitor, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Budva, Tirana, Berat, Qeparo plaja, Ohrid in Muntenegru, Ohrid in Albania, Skopje, Sofia, Veliko Tirnovo, Bucuresti = 3600km = 13 granite = 2 saptamani de transpiratie si naduf, praf si halucinatie, ce ramane de povestit fara atmosfera si nici in ordine cronologica.

Peisaje in Muntenegru, familiaritate in Albania, femei frumoase in Bulgaria, multe tatuaje, nationalism in Macedonia, tulburari politico-etnice ce rabufnesc pe placile de marcaj ale oraselor sau statelor, venind dinspre Grecia, urmatorul e FYRM, placi de marcaj razuite sau impuscate, emana conflicte mocnite si mandrie locala; mancaruri specifice, se repeta intr-un periplu balcanic.

SKOPJE: Dar am ajuns devreme, ce bine ca mai putem vedea ceva din oras: ora 12:00 bulevard larg, intrarea in oras e clasica cu multe semafoare: nimeni pe strada, nici pe trotuare. ce’i drept e duminica, dar sarbatoare crestina si musulmana in acelasi timp ce sanse sunt? am gasit hotelul in centru, langa 2 pietonale, o piata centrala si raul Vardar. Hotelul, o cladire de birouri din 1960 dezafecatata, ultimele doua etaje transformate in hotel, ofera o perspectiva neclara catre afara, dar cat mai repede: receptionerul ne asigura ca nu avem ce face si am  gresit destiantia: muzeul inchis, statuia Maica Theresa poate fi admirata si de la exterior, altfel inchis, inchis, orice figureaza pe harta turistica e pur si simplu : INCHIS! Vizitam orasul duminica ora 3, la 35 de grade, uscat,fara costume si casca negre, cu un avanpost pentru adapare: bere, nimeni, bere, 3 muste urbane  in aceste zile de sarbatoare: deznadejde. o luam la pas, trecem podul si ne minunam de  minunile simbolistice ale Macedoniei reunite la skopje in 500 m, toate! Un vanzator de suveniruri, ne vinde si un pont pe langa pandantivul cu numele de alint. dupa 8 se incinge peterecere! mai e o speranta! trebuie doar sa rezistam pana atunci: dormit pe banca la umbra lui Chiril si Methodiu, mancat pizza, singura deschisa inainte de Ramadam unde am baut si vin daca tot era cu muzica live la ora 3 la pizzerie; e deja noapte, oameni multi, apar de nicaieri imbracati de sarbatoare, fac poze cu simbolurile, dupa care se intorc la petrecerea lor, unii cu ceai si manele(traditional) sau electronice, da, exista, altii cu whiskey si jazz..

Skopje inainte si dupa Ramadam  musulmani si crestini ca doua specii care uneori interfereaza intr-una singura, jazz pe strada tot la Skopje intr-o atmosfera de bairam generalizat, zgomotul  tobelor specifice manelelor atat de hulite, la origini suna foarte bine, tot pe strada. asa trebuie sa fi fost si in perioda califatului, pentru ca si acum apartenenta religioasa e separata geografic de raul Vardar, pe de o parte casele, strazile, old bazar, pe cealalta parte zona reprezentativa reconstruita dupa un cutremur, intr-un exces de lumina, culoare, fantani, o identitate reinventata, fundal pentru fotografii de ocazie pentru cei de pe partea celalta a raului, conservanti ai  traditiilor....

Murici - la limita intre Muntenegru si Albania, venind dinspre Muntenegru e lacul Skoder si  alpii albanezi:  drum accidentat la inaltime, arid, cald, pe jos pietris, cateva case sunt raspandite pe munte fiecare cu aleea de acces de aceeasi categorie cu drumul principal,  astfel ca pentru a ajunge la lac e nevoie de intuitie si mult fler, ca intr-un labirint. fara parapeti, pe o rampa in care siguranta nu e esentiala, ajungi la lac, dar pare mai degraba o mare daca nu s-ar vedea muntii albanezi, de la inceputul sau sfarsitul lumii. o plaja, un camping, si oamenii care lucreaza acolo. Un chelner sarb vorbeste romaneste pentru ca femeia lui e de la Slatina si vrea sa vina in tara sa-si vada copilul, ca are si un copil cu ea, si a facut 3 ani deja, dar nu l-a mai vazut, iarna e la Innsbruck la un bar, iar cu drumurile proaste in Romania.... nici Murici nu mai e asa indepartat.


Qeparo - sat neatacat de turismul de masa, cu case pe plaja, sau cocotate pe munte, intretin  forma fizica a localnicilor, zglobii indiferent de varsta. un golf populat de un hotel mai scapatat, de 5 stele, in care proprietarul asigura un rol de amfitrion inlocuind stelele lipsa cu o ospitalitate debordanta. pe serpentine de sus o plaja unde 2 albanezi batrani joaca sah pe la pranz cu o sticla in preajma, iar jocul se incheie cu o baie in marea inrosita de soare.


Gazda prietenoasa ca o ruda indepartata pe care nu am vazut-o de mult, fiica ei care odata cu micul dejun, vine cu zambetul larg si o  dantura perfecta trezeste dorinte ascunse, sau cealalta fiica cu engleza impecabila participa la afacerea familiei. Mai sunt turisti, un grup de studenti cehi cazati cu cortul chiar in parcare, familia de albanezi cu mama tata ca parte a sistemului, politie si justitie, cu fiul lor care fumeaza tigari de contrabanda la care a participat, a facut arhitectura in germania si actoria la Tirana- motiv suficient pentru a-si practica talentul cu oricine e disponibil.

Albania. Localitatea Orikum ar putea fi o destinatie. Chiar exista !!

Muntenegru - inconjurati de atatia munti si verde, tuneluri, drumuri serpuite, raul care ne insoteste si canionul, pare un taram fermecat, intrusi intr-o alta lume. daca pana acum am mers cu rasuflarea stransa aici s-a taiat, la canionul Tara, si pana la Durmitor care ne e si dormitor,  tot asa taiata a ramas. Prin natura evenimentelor am refacut drumul inca de 2 ori, de data asta la apus, la care a contribuit   noaptea si frigul.


Mai sti cand ti-ai “pierdut” telefonul pe marginea apei, de fapt asa am cezut odata ajunsi la dormitor, ne-am intors pe acelasi drum sinuos de data asta si mai in viteza-aici se vede  talentul -fiecare serpentina ar putea fi ultima, adrenalina pura.

Sau cand am plecat o fuga pana la Dubrovnik, in slapi, si costum de baie, dar am ajuns in Bosnia, scenografie naturala si pustiu…


Pe drumul spre golful Kotor, prin spatele muntelui, pe 2 roti, neavand vreo asteptare de uimire, cu retina plina de imagini si locuri de pe drumul de la Tara ,urmatoarea serpentina izbeste cu aer cald, munti care ies din mare, pete colorate pe care le banuiesc a fi localitatile de pe mal, vapoare mici ca-ntr-o macheta, marea, incerc sa'nregistrez momentul.

Pe locul intai in topul celor mai mici bugete, concurand doar cu statul acasa.

Politia e cu noi!

Cu riscul de a nu fi inteles nimic, tot timpul pe fuga, cu repere, preconceptii, am ajuns intr-un final. ALBANIA.  “nu te duce !!” , “e periculos !”, “dar de ce ?”... isi gasesc explicatia foarte repede, prima intalnire la apus, soselele nu par prea sigure terminandu-se brusc…

Ca strain, dupa ce compari cu ce sti si ce te asteptai sa fie,  judecata e si mai aspra, tine de frig, foame, oboseala si necunoscut. totul pare amenintator pe cat pare de sigur. Suntem aceeasi specie: depasiri am mai vazut, carute pe autostrada,..caini sigur, tarabe dezafectate dupa comertul din timpul zilei, benzinarii inchise, bezna, duhoare…

La granita ne-au  invitat calduros, am mers deasupra tuturor, intrand primii pe la pietoni dupa o coada de cativa km, albanezi francezi sau elvetieni se intorceau acasa, pentru ca turisti ca noi erau doar cativa pe care i-am regasit pe drum.  

La Tirana, noaptea,  in mijlocul unei gloate furioase, trecand prin suburbii intunecate si pustii, gloata nu era de fapt furioasa doar bucuroasa ca invinsese echipa preferata... in cel  mai luxos hotel, se cara bagaje...curg muste si sudoare, ochii sunt rosii de la praf sau pentru ca nu exista faza scurta a farurilor in Albania ?...  capitolul servicii calitate pret pare cel mai bun aici de pana acum, venind dinspre Muntenegru si Serbia ...

Tirana ca orice oras post comunist pastreaza repere ale arhitecturii sovietice sau realismului socialist imbinat cu provincialul fatuit, bulevarde largi, un canal in centru, piata centrala, un nod de circulatie haotic, biciclisti, piteoni, dube, motoare, mercedesuri cam ca la Universitate, doar ca fara nici o regula de mers.  

In spate, o strada cu baruri si terase, la parterul blocurilor sau amenajate. fervoarea se simte; masini scumpe, geamuri fumurii, muzica duduie, miroase frumos;  fetisul pentru masina si statut.  

Dorinta de a interactiona e mare, ca turisitii adevarati, cu bagaje, costume si casti nu e greu sa iesi  in evidenta. un dialog interesant cu cei pe care-i intalnim pe drum zicand pe limba lor ce si-ar putea imagina a fi o ofera tigari in semn de prietenie, desi prietenia e separata usor de gen..

La  lumina, din nou in caldura, praf de la Tirana la Berat … praf !

Spre mare, fara rezervare, cu un contact virtual in buzunar, destinatia e cunoscuta, drumul de coasta cu marea in stanga, masini grabite in vacanta pline de oameni si bagaje, serpentine stranse, saltele gonflabile, invazie. din varf direct in mare, pe 2 roti,  vantul, briza, buncarele, pacla albastra, si bucuria.

De la Vlore la Qeparo  e drumul recomandat, la Top Gear era insa gol.

De apreciat neimplicarea religioasa a albanezilor care consuma alcool si il si servesc, spre deosebire de Skopje sau Novi Pazar unde religiozitatea se simte direct in uscaciunea gatului  insetat. dar la Novi Pazar noroc cu crestinii  care sarbatoresc cum se cuvine o nunta, sarbeasca, cu atat mai bine. Dupa exilarea in salonul privat al hotelului,  am fost intampinati sa petrecem iar dupa a 3-a bere alamuri, plictiseala sau dezmat; Kusturica nu exagera !

Ca sa pleci in jurul lumii trebuie sa incepi de undeva, un posibil poligon ar putea fi Albania.

La final un multumesc unui chelner din Veliko Tarnovo care arata precum un fan Hetfield, da da ala de la Metallica doar ca mai tatuat, a fost un adevarat gentelmen toata seara doar ca la plecare nu ne-a lasat sa iesim din carciuma fara sa ne imbratiseze si sa ne multumeasca... evident in romana :). ROCK !!

In afara de socul traficului albanez depasit intr-o ora toate bune... aaah niciodata sa nu mergi vara in bagaje cu mesadele ...


Mixed up thoughts:

Bucharest, Vidin, Novi Pasar, Durmitor, Kotor, Dubrovnik, Budva, Tirana, Berat, Qeparo beach, Ohrid in Montenegro, Ohrid in Albania, Skopje, Sofia, Veliko Tarnovo, Bucharest = 3600 Km = 13 state borders = 2 weeks of sweat and heat, dust and hallucination, everything else has no feeling and also no chronology.

Views in Montenegro, familiarity in Albania, beautiful women in Bulgaria, lots of tattoos, nationalism in Macedonia, political and ethnical unrest which breaks out on the city limit indicators on the way from Greece, next is FYROM, city limit indicators scraped or shot which radiate smouldered conflicts and local pride, local dishes, everything repeats itself on this Balkanic trip. 

SKOPJE: We got here early, so it’s great that we can still do some sightseeing: 12 o’clock in the afternoon, large boulevard, the typical city entrance with lots of traffic lights, nobody on the streets. Actually it’s Sunday and a religious holiday for both the Christians and the Muslims; what are the odds? We found the hotel in the centre of the city, next to two pedestrian areas, a central square and the river Vardar. The hotel, a refurbished 1960s office building, with the top two floors transformed into a hotel, offers an unclear perspective, but in no time the receptionist assures us that we have nothing to do and we got in the wrong place: the museum is closed, the statue of Mother Theresa can be admired also from the outside, otherwise it’s closed, closed, everything on the touristic map is just CLOSED! We go sightseeing Sunday, 3 o’clock, 35 centigrades, dry air, no suites and black helmets but with a stop for refreshing: beer, nobody, beer, 3 urban flies on these religious holidays, desperation, we go strolling across the bridge and we wonder on the symbolist treasures of Macedonia, all piled up in a 500 meter area. A souvenir merchant sells us a tip beside the pendant, after 20:00 there will be a party, so there’s hope! We just have to hold on until then: we sleep on a bench in the shadow of Kiril and Methodiu, we eat pizza in the only open restaurant before Ramadan, where we also drank wine since there was live music at 3 o’clock. It’s already night time, many people appear from nowhere dressed for party, take pictures with the symbols and then go on with their party, some with tea and traditional or electronic music, others with whiskey and jazz.

Skopje, before and after the Ramadan with Muslims and Christians as two species that sometimes merge into one, jazz on the streets in a party atmosphere, the sound of the drums specific to the gypsy music that sounds so good originally. That’s what it’s supposed to be back during the Caliphate days ‘cause even now the religions are physically separated by Vardar river, on one side the houses, streets, old bazaar, on the other side the representative area, reconstructed after an earthquake in an excess of light, colours, fountains, a reinvented identity, a background for pictures taken by those who live on the other side of the river, the tradition keepers.

Murici – on the border between Montenegro and Albania, coming from Montenegro is lake Skoder and the Albanian Alps with an unpaved mountain road, hot air, stones on the ground, a few houses scattered on the mountain each with a driveway in the same category with the main road, so, in order to get to the lake one needs a lot of intuition and flair, just like in a labyrinth. The road has no rails and by crossing a ramp where safety is not essential you get to the lake which looks more like a sea if there weren’t the Albanian mountains from the beginning or the end of times. A beach, a camping and people who work there. A Serbian waiter who speaks Romanian because he’s married to a woman from Slatina (Romania) wants to come to Romania to see his kid who’s already 3 years old, but he hasn’t seen him because in the winter he works in a bar in Innsbruck and the roads in Romania are so bad... even Murici is not that far away.

Qeparo – a village not overcome by mass tourism, with houses on the beach or up on the mountain which keeps the locals in shape and joyful regardless the age. A golf where a 5 stars hotel, a bit on the down side, where the owner is also the greeter replacing the missing quality stars by an overwhelming hospitality. Down the coiled up road, a beach where 2 old Albanian men play chess with a bottle next to them and the game ends with a bath in the red sun colored sea.

The host, friendly like a distant relative who you didn’t see in a long time, her daughter who brings together with the breakfast a wide smile and perfect teeth and who stirs hidden desires, or the other daughter who speaks perfect English and helps with the family business. There are other tourists as well, a group of Czech students that camped right in the parking lot, the Albanian family where both parents are part of the system, police and judiciary, and the son who smokes smuggled cigarettes, he himself a smuggler, and who graduated Architecture in Germany and Acting in Tirana, reason enough to exercise his talent with anybody available.

Albania. The village of Orikum could be a destination. It really exists!

Montenegro – surrounded by so many mountains and green, tunnels, windy roads, the river that keeps us company and the canyon, it seems a magical realm and we intruders in another world. If until now we have travelled in owe, now we’re astonished and from the Tara canyon until Durmitor, which will be our bedroom, we stayed that way. As things went on, we retook this trip twice, this time at dusk with the cold and darkness to enhance the feeling.

Thinking we have “lost” a phone on the beach we went back from the city on the same winding road, this time with even greater speed – this is where talent shows – each curb threatening to be the last one, pure adrenaline.

Or one time we took a quick trip to Dubrovnik, in bathing suits and flip flops, but we ended up in Bosnia, nature and emptiness...

On the road to Kotor gulf, behind the mountain, on 2 wheels, expecting no astonishment, with the eyes full of images and places picked up from the road from Tara, the next curb slaps us with hot air, mountains that pop up from the sea, coloured stains that I suspect as being the beach villages, small, mock-up like boats, the sea and I trying to record the moment.

First place for low budget travelling, similar only to staying at home.

The police are on our side!

Risking understanding nothing, always on the run, with guidance and preconceptions, we finally made it. ALBANIA. “Don’t go!”, “It’s dangerous!”, “But, why?” find their reasons very quickly, on the first meeting at sunset, the roads don’t look to safe as they end up suddenly...

As a stranger, after you compare with what you knew and what you were expecting, the judgment is even harsher, influenced by the cold, the hunger, the exhaustion and the unknown. Everything looks as menacing as it appears safe. We’re the same species: we all saw vehicles pass by other vehicles, horse wagons on the highway, stray dogs of course, abandoned selling booths after the day’s commerce, closed gas stations, pitch black darkness, stench...

At the border they invited us politely to pass the kilometre long queue, so we went in the country the first, as pedestrians, passing Albanian French or Swiss citizens which were on their way home, because tourists like us we reencountered just a few further away.

In Tirana, at night, in the middle of an angry mob, passing by dark and empty neighbourhoods, the mob wasn’t actually angry but happy that the favourite team had won the game... in the most luxurious hotel luggage is being hauled... sweat is dripping and flies are buzzing, the eyes are red from the dust or just because in Albania the cars are driven with their headlights off?... The value over money for services seems to be the best until now since Montenegro and Serbia...

Tirana, just like any other ex-communist city keeps the communist architecture or the socialist realism mixed together with the polished rural, large boulevards, a canal in the centre, the main square, a chaotic traffic point, bicycles, pedestrians, vans, motorcycles, Mercedes, just as in the University Square in Bucharest but without any traffic rules.

Behind, a street with bars and terraces at the ground floor of apartment buildings or else. You can feel the fervour, expensive cars with dark windows, loud music, nice smells; the fetish for cars and status.

There’s a big desire to interact, as it’s hard to get unnoticed as tourist, with luggage, motorcycle suits and helmets. We have interesting dialogues with those we pass by as they speak their local tongue in what they imagine as being a conversation. Cigarettes are being offered as a sign of friendship, although friendship is a bit segregated by gender...

In the light again, the heat again, dust from Tirana to Berat... dust!

On our way to the sea side, with just a virtual contact detail in the pocket, no reservation, known destination, the sea side road with the sea on our left, cars in a hurry full of people on holiday and luggage, tight curbs, inflatable water beds, a true invasion. From the top directly to the sea, on 2 wheels, the wind, the breeze, the bunkers, the blue fog and the joy.

The recommended road is from Vlore to Qeparo, which on Top Gear was not busy at all.

The Albanian religious ignorance is to be appreciated when it comes to serving and drinking alcohol, as opposed to Skopje or Novi Pazar, where the religiousness is felt mostly in the dry thirsty throat. In Novi Pazar one may get lucky with the Christians that properly celebrate a wedding and even better a Serbian wedding. After being exiled in the hotel’s private hall, we were invited to party and after the third beer you get either boredom or mayhem, sign that Kusturica wasn’t exaggerating!

To start travelling around the world you have to start somewhere and Albania could be such starting point.

In the end I would like to thank a waiter in Veliko Tarnovo who looked just like a Hetfield fan, yes, the one from Metallica, just with more tattoos. He was a real gentleman all night and when we left he wouldn’t let us leave the pub without a hug and thanking us... in Romanian, of course :). ROCK!!

Aside from the shock caused by the Albanian traffic, which we overcame in one hour, everything went smooth... oh, never travel in the summer with your coats in the luggage...

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Balkans Panaitescu Vartan Mon, 19 Aug 2013 22:44:00 GMT
Romania ro/eng


Din cand in cand este bine sa mai faci o plimbare in propria curte …. Baile Herculane, Densus, Hunedoara, Alba Iulia, Turda, Cluj, Baia Mare, Sighetu Marmatiei, Viseu de Sus, Vatra Dornei, Bistrita, Targu Mures de alta dar cine stie ce mai gasesti…  

Best of : Muzeul de la Sighet, mocanita de la Viseu de Sus, cu tot cu cazarea in tren, DN17/E58 Vatra Dornei - Bistrita, palinca de salaj...

Worst : DN18 Borsa - Iacobeni.. O zona frumoasa nenorocita ce cel mai mizerabil drum !

Inceput in tromba... oprire neanuntata la Pitesti... etrierul franei din spate atarna ... noroc cu romanii strangatori, se gasesc doua suruburi si din nou la drum.

Baile Herculane, un loc din alte vremuri cu preturi la fel de "actuale". O plimbare pe Valea Cernei catre un sat cu un acces cel putin bizar ... o scara subreda... nu se finalizeaza din motive de securitate...

Urmeaza Densus, un loc plin de povesti dar fara cine sa le spuna nu le adune nici dracu... La Hunedoara marketingul turistic este ceva mai prezent intr-un oras ancorat undeva in cenusii ani '90....

In drum spre Cluj o oprire in Cetatea Alba Iulia, renovata... parca prea renovata, salina din Turda mai trebuie sa astepte putin...Clujul cosmopolit dar parca fara vlaga... vazut de sus in schimb e chiar ok...Salina urmeaza a doua zi, pana la urma frumos.. dar nu stiu de ce nu empatizam cu locul...

Greu sa spui frumos cand vizitezi cateva gropi comune si o inchisoare atroce... dar cumva tot trebuie apreciat... de vazut !! si de meditat la ce s-a intamplat acolo poate nu toate istoriile se repeta...

Daca vrei sa dai in mintea copiilor sau ea nu te-a parasit niciodata mocanita de la Viseu este o alegere, dupa un memorial este ce  o evadare... dormit in gara, in tren, ciudat totusi ca statea... a doua zi in ciuda hoardelor de turisti nimic nu strica experienta ...

In schimb daca vrei sa te simti dadacit ca in copilarie cand erai considerat incapabil de orice rationament avem de recomandat un hotel in Vatra Dornei  ... 

Distractia a fost o saptamana, 1300 km... in afara de un etrier cazut si un bagaj lateral incediat totul a decurs fara probleme. 


t’s a good idea to take a stroll, from time to time, in your own back yard... Baile Herculane, Densus, Hunedoara, Alba Iulia, Turda, Cluj, Baia Mare, Sighetu Marmatiei, Viseu de Sus, Vatra Dornei, Bistrita, Targu Mures... you never know what you might find.

Best of: the Sighet Museum, the local vintage train from Viseu de Sus together with the accommodation in the train, National road 17 (European road E85) from Vatra Dornei to Bistrita, the traditional hard liquor from Salaj...

Worst: National road 18 from Borsa to Iacobeni. A beautiful country side cursed with the most miserable road!

We start en fanfare, an unexpected stop in Pitesti because the rear brake clamp is dangling, lucky that Romanians never throw anything away, so we find 2 screws and get on our way.

Baile Herculane is a place from other times with very actual prices. A stroll on Cernei Valley towards a village with a rather odd access, a flimsy stairway which is unfinished due to safety reasons...

Densus is next, a place full of stories, but with no one to tell them they stay unknown...

In Hunedoara the touristic marketing is a bit more active in a city tied close to the grey nineties...

On our way to Cluj we make a stop in Alba Iulia, which has been renovated, maybe too renovated, the salt mine in Turda has to wait for us... Cluj is a cosmopolite city but with no spark... but rather fine when seen from the top of the hills... We visit the salt mines the next day and it’s rather nice, but for some reason the place doesn’t stay with us.

It’s hard to think of anything nice when you visit a few common graves and an atrocious prison, but somehow you have to appreciate what you see and think about what happened there and maybe not all history repeats itself...

If you want to relive your childhood, or if you never got past it, your option is the vintage train from Viseu, which seems like an escape after the museum... you sleep in the train, in the train station, oddly the train is not moving... the next day, the experience is not ruined by the hordes of tourists... 

The fun lasted for a week and aside from a hanging brake clamp and a burnt side bag everything went smoothly.

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Panaitescu Romania Vartan Tue, 14 May 2013 22:44:00 GMT
Burma ro/eng (RO)

Burma a fost pana la urma: Bangkok - Yangoon - Mandalay - Bagan - Inle Lake - Mandalay - Bangkok.

Greu de inteles … mai ales intr-o saptamana...

Preambul. In Myanmar nu toti dolarii sunt dolarii…. doar cei denumiti in Bangkok, Myanmar dollar… primul schimb valuar din dolari US in dolari US dar acceptati de Burma… suna interesant…

Medicina de frontiera. Yangon - Mandalay.

Haos in Yagoon ? Dupa Bangkokul tuk-tukurilor si al scuterelor aici liniste deplina, sunt interzise … undeva intre India si Thailanda minus sa zicem cca 25 ani…se monteaza primele bancomate… stupa aurita, interesant dar mai interesant poate a fost un bar cu un ciudat concurs de miss pigmentat cu momente muzicale …


marile provocari veneau… ce asteptasem cu nerabdare sa se intample… THE ROAD TO MANDALAY. 

Tren de noapte, totul pare a fi perfect.. numai sunt paturi… ce poate sa se intample daca stam 15 ore pe un scaun ??…vagon restaurant, bere, cald afara geamuri deschise la maxim, old fashion … peisaje rural- medieval … aah remarcasem ca nu e cea ma lina sina … sa nu fim carcotasi…


s-a terminat intr-un frig neverosimil si intr-un soi generalizat…cu dureri si icnete printr-un somn care mai mult a lipsit… unde a acceleratul de Baia Mare... bine ca s-a terminat ! 

Vin la scadenta doua probleme evitate pana atunci : unde stam ? ce facem aici ? … raspunsul vine nesperat sub forma unui suedez care ne arunca intr-un papuc si ne duce la un hotel? unde au si camere? libere un dus? dubios si plecam prin praf si claxoane spre rau si de acolo cu o barca spre o varianta locala si mai veche a catedralei maintuirii neamului, cea mai mare stupa din lume, Mingun … neterminata … crapata … nici clopotul nu au putut sa-l ridice … frumos loc, interesante povestile… un inceput de infectie ? farmacie ? spital ? nu exista … o vizita la un camin de batrani cu o singura asistenta si vreo 100 de pacienti … am luat din antibioticele primite ca ajutoare din te miri ce colt de lume … am donat bani, neclar daca ajuta sau nu, mai degraba nu…. seara incepe la 5 cu pene de curent ceva halucinatii … mai tarziu prima experienta pe taxi-scuter ca pasager… n-as mai repeta … a doua zi ferry-ul pana la Bagan.

Pe rau in jos. Orasul cu 2000 de temple.

Turisti de toate natiile dar de o singura (60+) varsta pe ferry… liniste… pace … plictiseala ? … dupa trenul de noapte nu sunt plangeri prea multe … 

Cum sa faci in 200 de ani ceva mai mult de 2000 de temple ? Poti vedea la Bagan, orasul care acum e doar un urias camp (vreo 100 de km patrati) presarat cu temple… doar ele au razbatut vreo 8 secole.. 

Dar pana acolo, unde se poate manca ? un restaurant pe malul apei suna minunat ! care apa ? care minune ? e frig, prea frig, bate vantul si e intuneric … bonus: un scandal cu un taximetrist educat la scoala garii de nord… castigam noi !!! …dar unde e farmacia moderna / occidentala ? … e sub forma unui chiosc… au tot ce trebuie ? da ! inainte de culcare rezervat bilet de avion, old school, la receptie… dupa 20 de minute un nene apare cu bilete scrise de mana … speram sa fie pe bune …

A doua zi, vizita…. nu se poate decat cu o ricsa si neaparat incepand inainte de rasarit … ok ! plimbare, temple poze… temple…. chiar daca numai sunt functionale descaltatul obligatoriu… se cumpara slapi… privelistii impresionante dar fara sa poti indica ceva special… special este ansamblul…. daca am fugit dupa rasarit trebuia sa incheiem fugind si dupa apus, noi si restul turistilor …

…dubii legate de medicamentele cumparate seara …. poate totusi e ceva serios … mana incepe sa semene cu ce a lui Hulk doar ca rosie … hmm … seara halucinatia deja clasica si o plimbare prin satul adormit deja de la 7… gainile, aici sunt petrecaretele !!!

The Big Lake

Dupa un zbor Bagan - Mandalay - Heho in care descoperim ca deja toti europenii se cunosc intre ei din alte intalniri la diversele situri turistice … un drum de cca 50 km cu masina si promisiunea unui spital ajuta… cazare are wifi si o carte in romana !!! … cartea stiam de unde provine dar wi-fi parea ca vine din filme sci-fi !!

Cat despre spital, am avut de ales. ROSIE ? NEAGRA ? spitalul public ? cabinet privat ? hai sa vedem ce e cu privatul ca statul Myanmar parea cam precar in general … un cabinet cu perdea in loc de usa, un batranel binevoitor dar cam alarmat de ce vede …


se prescriu si se primesc pilule …. sunt bune ? sunt fake ? o sa vedem !… oricum trebui sa revenim pentru control in fiecare zi la 5 … din tara dupa o convorbire la un colt de strada se recomanda dublarea dozei …. asta e … dar pana maine cand va fi plimbarea pe lac ce naiba se poate face ?…. plimbare cu biciclete !! singurul vehicul pe care-l putem conduce legal in Myanmar … in ce directie ? catre o crama nemteasca !!! prima oara cand ne propunem sa bem vin nemtesc …dar cine stie … stiam, vinul nemtesc nu e de cautat nici la capatul lumii !! … mai e si un izvor termal …. hm.

Plecare pe lac, dimineata, dar ce mai e dimineata cand oricum te culci la 8 seara … o imensitate de apa adanca de cativa centimetrii cu sate lacustre separate pe bresle, tesatori, fierari, bijutieri, un templu plin de pisici … un mix la limita dintre turistic si autentic … gradini de legume, evident si ele lacustre … ultima atractie, apusul … dar deja frigul si frisoanele ne fac sa-l abandonam… pana la urma e doar soarele care se reflecta in apa !! … consultatie direct in germania !! via facebook !… hmm pana la urma nu e chiar asa de rau ca in cateva zile vom fi din nou in secolul XXI …!!!

Inapoi !

Dupa inca un zbor, ajunsi din nou in Mandalay pentru zborul spre Bangkok, aruncam un ochi sa vedem un celebru pod, U Bein … o afacere ciudata : cumperi bufnite captive ca sa le eliberezi… suplimentar experienta suprema pe doua roti : comanzi un taxi, vine un scuter si …. mergem trei pe el … de nerepetat ! Trezitul la 6 nu pune nicio problema avand in vedere ca deja sculatul la 5 se facea fara ceas… o tentativa de urca cateva poze pe un site se termina cand cade curentul ...

Mi-am adus aminte ca am uitat : fara telefon mobil …. fara card … rata de schimb valutar mai buna pentru hartia de 100 $ fata de ce de 20 $ … obiceiul mestecatului / fumatului de betel cu dintii si strazile pline de sange… o mancare undeva intre India si Thailanda dar in portii de inspiratie bizantina ca dimensiune …. avionul care face escala si poti cobara la o tigare direct pe pista… barbatii cu fuste … discutia despre Aung Sun Suu Kyi avuta cu un taximetrist din Yangoon… generatoarele pentru penele de curent … aeroportul nou din Mandalay in care nu era nimic, doar cafeneaua care era direct pe jos si se gatea la butelie …

PS. Vesnice multumiri doctorului din Nyamgshwe si asistentei din Migun !!!! cu cel din Germania ma descurc personal ! 



Burma was after all: Bangkok - Yangoon- Mandalay - Bagan - Inle Lake - Mandalay - Bangkok.

Hard to understand... especially in just a week...

Preamble. In Myanmar not all dollars are dollars... only those named in Bangkok, Myanmar dollars... the first money exchange from US dollars in Burmese accepted US dollars... it sounds interesting...

Frontier medicine. Yangon – Mandalay.

Chaos in Yagoon? After the Bangkok of tuk-tuks and scooters here is absolute silence, those are forbidden... somewhere between India and Thailand minus, let’s say, 25 years... here are the first ATMs installed... the golden stupa, interesting, but more interesting was a bar that had an odd beauty contest pigmented with musical moments...

The big challenges were on their way... what I have been impatiently waiting for... THE ROAD TO MANDALAY.

A night train, everything seems perfect... there are no more free beds...what’s the problem if we sit for 15 hours??... dining car, beer, hot outside, windows wide open, old fashion... rural-medieval sights... ooh, I notice that this not the smoothest train track... let’s not be bitchy... it all ended in an unbelievable cold and a general... pain and gasps during a sleep which mostly lacked... where is the Baia Mare train... good thing it’s over!

We have to face two long avoided issues: accommodation? What we’ll do here?... the answer comes in the shape of a Swedish guy who throws us in a pickup truck and drives us to a hotel? Where there are available rooms? With shower? Shady but we leave through dust and honks to the river and from there by boat to the local version of the cathedral of people’s salvation, the biggest stupa in the world, Mingun... unfinished... cracked... not even the bell was raised... beautiful place, interesting stories... a start of an infection? A pharmacy? A hospital? There’s no such place... a visit to a senior nursing home where there’s a nurse to 100 patients... I took the antibiotics received as charity from who knows where... I donated money, not certain if it helps or not, rather not... the evening starts at 5 o’clock with electricity outages and some hallucinations... later my first experience as a passenger on a scooter-taxi... I wouldn’t do it again... the next day the ferry to Bangan.

Down the river. The city with 2000 temples.

Tourists of all nations but the same (60+) age aboard the ferry... quiet... peace... boring?... after the night train there’s nothing much to complaint about...

How is it possible to build 2000 temples in 200 years? You can sightsee in Bangan, the city that now is just an empty field (some 100 square kilometres) peppered with temples... only those lasted through 8 centuries...

But until there where can we eat? A restaurant on the water’s edge sounds wonderful! What water? What wonder? It’s cold, too cold, the wind blows and it’s dark... bonus: a scandal with a taxi driver educated in the train station... we win!!!... but where’s the modern/western pharmacy?... it’s in the shape of a kiosk... do they have everything we need? Yes! Before bed time we book the plane tickets, old school, at the reception... after 20 minutes an old guy comes with the hand written tickets... hopefully they’re genuine...

The next day, the sightseeing... only by rickshaw and mandatory before sunrise... ok! Strolling, temples, pictures... temples... even if they’re abandoned, you have to take off your shoes... you can count the flip flops... impressing views but you can’t point at something particular... the whole combination is particular... after chasing the sun rise we had to chase the sun set too, together with the other tourists... the medicine bought last night seems fishy... maybe they’re ok... my hand starts to look like Hulk’s but red... hmm... in the evening the already usual hallucination and a stroll through the sleeping village at 7 o’clock... the chickens are the party animals here!!!

The Big Lake

After a flight Bagan – Mandalay – Heho where we notice that all Europeans know each other from meetings at different touristic sites... a 50 km drive and the promise of a hospital... accommodation with Wi-Fi and a book in Romanian!!!... we knew where the book came from, but the Wi-Fi seems to be coming from sci-fi movies!!!

Regarding the hospital, we had several options. RED? BLACK? Public hospital? Private practice? Let’s see how’s the private practice because Myanmar seems in a bad shape state wise... an office with a drape instead of a door, an old guy alarmed of what he sees... medicines are written on a recipe... are they genuine? Are they fake? We’ll see!... we have to come for check-up every day at 5 o’clock... we receive the recommendation from home, after a call in the corner of the street to double the dose... that’s it... but until tomorrow when we have planned the trip on the lake, what can we do?... a bicycle ride!! The only vehicle we can legally drive in Myanmar... where to? To a German bar!!! The first time we plan to drink German wine... but who knows... we knew, German wine is not drinkable even at the edge of the world!! There’s also a hot spring... hm.

Lake trip in the morning, but what’s morning when you go to sleep at 8 o’clock in the evening... endless water only a few inches deep with villages specialised in different trades, weavers, blacksmiths, jewellers, a temple full of cats... a mix between touristic and genuine... vegetable gardens, also on the lake... the last attraction, the sun set... but already the cold and the shivering make us abandon it... bottom line it’s just the sun reflecting in the water!!... a physical exam in Germany!! Via Facebook!... hmm, after all it’s not that bad, in a few days we’ll be back in the XXIst century...!!!


After another flight, we’re back in Mandalay, waiting for the flight to Bangkok, we take a look at the famous bridge, U Bein... an odd business: you buy captive owls so that you can release them... additionally the supreme experience on two wheels: you order a taxi and a scooter comes and... we ride three people... unrepeatable! The 6 o’clock awakening is alright taking into account that we’re awake at 5 without the help of a wakening clock... a try to upload some pictures on a website ends when the power fails...

I remember: no mobile phone... no credit card... the exchange rate is better when you have a 100 USD bill then a 20 USD bill... the habit of chewing/smoking betel with the teeth and the streets full of blood... some food between India and Thailand but in byzantine sizes... the flight that lands and you can go for a smoke right on the tarmac... men dressed in skirts... the talk about Aung Sun Suu Kyi with a taxi driver in Yangoon... the power generators for power failures... the new airport in Mandalay where there’s nothing, only the café where you sit on the floor and they cook on a gas tank...

P.S. Eternal thanks to the doctor in Nyamgshwe and the nurse in Migun!!! With the doctor in Germany I’ll deal personally!

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Burma Myanmar Panaitescu Vartan Mon, 04 Feb 2013 11:53:00 GMT
Fototapetul : Koh Mak ro/eng (RO)

In general  nu se intampla nimic, e o preocupare la micul dejun, una la pranz, si o efervescenta la apus. Po, artizanul cocktailurilor de noapte, pina colada e cu lapte de cocos, cules din livada de pe plaja, isi face aparitia la apus, in fiecare zi.

Face poze, se minuneaza, 4 zile nu e cam mult? Ce facem 4 zile la plaja? Po a vazut toata Europa, intr-un periplu, dar tot mai mult i-a placut la Koh Mak. E din Bangkok. Apus, creveti la gratar, mandolina, sau barul satului cu artisti invitati veniti de departe, Noua Zeelanda, tinerii satului, in general baieti, beau toti dintr-o galeata metalica pe care o alimenteaza cu whiskey, de la Bankok pana la Koh Mak, se practica bautul de whiskey din sticla cu care ai venit de acasa, din care poti sa bei si a doua zi, barmanul  o pastreaza constiincios.

O zi plina:  incepe cu iesit brusc din cotet/bungallow, catre terasa cu sucuri, freshuri din fructe amestecate la alegere, din care, o gura insetata duce brusc la baie. Inchiriat scuter precar, pentru independenta pe insula vs. mersul pe jos. Tinta? o insula mai mica cu nisip alb accesibila cu caiacul. Dar pana acolo, shopping la magazinul central: pantaloni in, bratari de piele, aici suvenirurile merita zbaterea. Dar am ramas fara bani, ne intoarcem la baza, mai punem benzina de la pompa locala, direct din canistra,, facem pana in padurea de palmieri, pe la pranz, unde se iteste un chiosc cu mancare, cremvursti si sticksuri de crab asezonate cu sosuri, in timp ce la un apel mecanicul din vecini vulcanizeaza cauciucul. Din nou la baza, schimb de scutere, o urgenta la baie, dar tinta e plaja cu nisip alb. Cu scuterul prin padurea de cauciuc, printre lotizari, case de tek si pescari, apare resortul lucios, bar pe plaja, muzica in surdina si bere la draft. Am mai uitat ceva in cotet, eu nu mai merg, sunt pe plaja si e bine. Socializez cu barmanul cosmopolit tailandez la 2m de alta poveste, a pescarilor. In sfarsit putem inchiria caiacul, de atata emotie am uitat ochelarii si labele pe mal. De la mijlocul distantei, vaslim, in sens invers fata de tinta. Cu tot arsenalul, plaja alba cu nisip fin si ape bleu,  e plina de rusi relaxati care sigur n-au intampinat atatea probleme pana au ajuns aici. Terasa cu bere e binevenita dupa atata efort. Doar anu' asta mai e salbatic. O dezvoltare luxoasa se construieste dominator pe insula de putini metrii patrati,

O baie, doua, uscat la soare, o bere si cateva tigari, ochelarii de apa se devodesc inutili, oricum aproape apune soarele si trebuie sa ne intoarcem. Refluxul face sa ne miscam  mai greu, apar si niste valuri, pentru o experienta si mai exotica in cautarea insulei pustii, ne indepartasem si mai mult. Nu exista. Tot apar oameni dintre plmieri, mai bine ne intoarcem. Greu, caiacul e tarat pe apa, de pe mal, e mai simplu.



Normally nothing happens, just a breakfast and a lunch habit and a sunset effervescence. Po, the manufacturer of cocktails at night, pina colada is made with coconut milk picked from the orchard on the beach, comes every day at sunset.

He takes pictures and wonders if four days isn’t too much. What will we do four days on the beach? Po has visited all Europe in a tour but he likes Koh Mak best. He’s from Bangkok. Sunset, barbecued shrimps, mandolin, the village bar with artists which come from far away. New Zeeland, the village youth, generally boys, all of them drinking out of a metal bucket which they fill out with whiskey, from Bangkok to Koh Mak you can drink whiskey out of the bottle you brought yourself and you can drink it also the next day because the bartender keeps it for you. A full day: it starts with suddenly coming out of the kennel/bungalow, directly to the terrace where they serve fresh squeezed fruit juice at your choice, which hurries you to the toilet after having a thirsty sip. We rented a flimsy scooter, which gives us independence on the island instead of walking around. Our target? A smaller island with white sand and accessible by kayak. But before that we go shopping at the central store: flax pants, leather bracelets, here the souvenirs deserve the effort. But we run out of money so we had back to base, we fuel up the scooter at the local gas pump, straight from the canister, we have a flat tire in the palm tree forest, around noon, where we find a kiosk that sells food, sausages and crab sticks seasoned with dressings, while the neighbourhood mechanic patches our tire. Again back to base, we change the scooter, a bathroom emergency, but our aim is the white sand beach. We drive on the scooter through the caoutchouc forest, the different plots of land, the tek houses and fishermen, there it is the luxurious resort, beach bar, music and draught beer. I forgot something in the kennel but I’m not going back, I’m on the beach and I’m fine. I make small talk with the Thai cosmopolite bartender 2 metres away from another story, that of the fishermen. We can finally rent the kayak and because of the excitement I forget the goggles and the scuba fins on the beach. We row midway away from target. The white fine sand beach with blue water is full of relaxed Russians with full luggage that surely didn’t have so many problems getting here. The beer terrace is a welcome site after all the effort. Just this year is a bit more savage. A luxurious building is being constructed on the few square meters island.

A swim or two, sunbath, a beer and a few cigarettes, the scuba goggles prove to be useless, the sun is setting anyway and we have to go back. The reflux is slowing us down, there are some waves also and for a more exotic experience in search of a deserted island we went even further. There’s no such thing. People keep popping up from behind palm trees, we better head back. We drag the heavy kayak from the beach into the water, it’s simpler this way.

]]> (the drunken ship) Adina Andrei Koh Mak Panaitescu Thailand Vartan Sun, 03 Feb 2013 11:53:00 GMT