24 July 2012

European Nightlife, Part II

You got a taste of the Cluj scene in Part I.

Now it's time to introduce you to the nightlife in Romanian villages.  And when I say village, I mean so far away from urban civilization that the horses far outnumber the cars and the streets are stained with dung instead of oil leaks.

Welcome to Ieud (Yeh-ood). Say it out loud.  This village embodies its name.

Upon our arrival in Ieud, we were greeted by open-mouthed stares on behalf of the villagers. I've never felt like such a novelty, and that's a lot coming from a short, blonde, fair-skinned Mormon girl in Romania. It was a Saturday night, so obviously we were dying to experience the Ieud party scene.  This is how it works:

After a 3-course mama-made meal of ciorbă, sarmale, mămăligă, papanași, and backyard-brewed țuică (those of you who know what these are also know that I didn't drink the țuică, but I can tell you it smells like nail polish remover), you go to your room in the quaint, traditionally-decorated farmhouse and let the vegetable oil settle for an hour or so.  Then, you make your way past the giant wooden gate that came straight from Middle Earth.  You head out on the town (which consists of one road, about a mile long, lined with more farmhouses) in the pitch black, by light of cell phone, being careful to avoid any piles of manure or bails of hay that may obstruct your course. 

You anxiously scan the horizon, squinting your eyes in search of any fleck of light that might signal a form of life.  You find something about a 1/2-mile down the road.  Romanian pop covers filled with plenty of accordion and electronica beats can be heard. This is it!  Ieud's one and only pub/club/social gathering hot spot that isn't a church. 

You enter through the veil of smoke that is signature of any public establishment in Romania.  All eyes turn to you.  All 10 of them. It doesn't take long to number the 5 people sitting round the tables inside.  All are men. You order a beer if you're Dutch, a Fanta if you're South African (both of which were cheaper than the water), and nothing if you're an American who never uses vegetable oil, let alone eats an entire bowl of it for dinner. You take your seat at a table and look on as the 19-year-old in charge of the tunes practices his DJ-ing skills and seeks your approval as he proudly plays one horrendous cover after the other. Some more locals will show up, after they were undoubtedly called up by their friends to come on down and see the foreigners.  One of said locals will wink at you if you're Dutch.  You will get uncomfortable because you're male and so is the winker.  Then you go home. 

In the morning, if the 5 a.m. roosters don't wake you up, the 7 a.m. church bells will.  And then you will be sent on your merry way after a breakfast of milk straight from the cow and eggs freshly popped out of the hen. 

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