Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Romania & Bulgaria

My visit to Romania lasted from Monday, August 16th until Monday, August 23rd when we arrived in Bulgaria. We stayed in Bulgaria until 8pm Sunday, August 29th, arriving in Istanbul, Turkey around 9am on Monday, August 30th. I then ended up spending a whole month exploring all regions of Turkey.


Bucharest, Romania. After spending eleven days in Kiev, Ukraine we took an expensive cab to the airport. The plane was delayed by several hours making our cab ride useless -- we could have just taken the Metro at a fraction of the cost. In Bucharest, a good friend and member of the Amorati met us at the airport. He had us set up in the Golden Tulip Hotel. It was a nice contrast coming from the various slum hostels in Kiev. We were treated to big beds, free Internet, a huge breakfast buffet, and a bathtub. The bathtub was a rare and relished luxury. However, the water was quite brown. Not suitable for drinking, but fine for baths. Bottled water is available all across the city for drinking and is quite cheap.

My time in Romania is mostly a blur. I was dealing with depression. I think it was partly from leaving behind missed connections in Kiev. At any rate, I slept through an entire day. Tourist attractions were minimal, and the highlight was visiting the Palace of the Parliament. This is the world's second largest building (the Pentagon is the first) and we supposedly saw 7% of it on a guided tour. Anyway, the building displays the opulence of the now-hated Communist dictator Nicolae Ceau┼čescu.

I remember that we went out on Thursday night and had a decent time, I also remember that we did not go out on Friday at all. Jonathan and I were both rather asocial for the most part. We went out on Saturday and had quite a workshop. Took our Amorati friend and one other student to the mall, then about the city in the evening, then nightlife. I remember how much the smoking in the bars and restaurants sucked. That night I spent some time talking to the bartender at this cute little dive bar. We kissed and chatted and she had some shit to deal with in relation to her husband, so I gave her my email, and I went back to the hotel.

The next day I get this email from her:

Hi. I just wanted to say I am sorry now that I said no last night, but it was a pleasure to meet you... and I loved your kisses... have a good day and trip to Bulgaria...

We then have the following email exchange. This was over a period of several hours, the whole day really. Also keep in mind that English is not her native tongue:

Me: I miss your kiss too. I have no phone. :( Tell me a time and place to meet.

Her: Hey, to meet where? I thought you would be in Bulgaria today?

Me: I am leaving in the morning. I have tonight at the Golden Tulip. Where is the place we should meet today?

Her: I am working today also... it's too bad you don't have a phone to call when I finish so we can talk where to meet... because today the answer is yes :P... if you can come to the bar tonight, we can talk and see how it goes....

Me: Give me a time and place and I will show up.

Her: This is the thing... I don't know when I will close... this is why I told you to come at the bar tonight and then we will see...we can stay here or go some place else... close to this area... I will make sure that my husband stays home tonight so I can enjoy you ...

Me: What are you doing right now before work?

Her: Come to the bar tonight and we will solve it somehow... PS. I am so wet!

Me: You have no idea all the delightfully dirty things that I want to do to you. Did you read my blog, is that why you are so wet? :)

Her: Yes, and it's also because you have a very sexy attitude.

Me: Are you able to reply? The Metro is closed, and I will have to take a cab. I would like to know you are there before I make that investment.

Her: I'm here waiting for you.

At midnight I take a cab over there. The place seems busy for a Sunday, but then, what do I know about Sundays in Bucharest? She's sitting with a group of guys that look at me conspiratorially. They know what's up. She still has work to do. Bars are open later than I would have guessed. I ended up talking to two gay guys for about two hours. These two guys (one was American and one was Italian) were there on vacation and currently meeting a third guy that they had contacted on the Internet. The guy shows up, everyone hits it off, and it looks like a threesome is underway for them. My bartender girl closes up shop and it's now her and seven guys (me, her three guy friends, and the homo threesome). She keeps giving us all shots. Fancy, creative shots that taste like apple or cherry. She's having us guess the flavors. She later admits that she was using her generosity and creativity to impress me. Awww.

She finally gets everyone out and tells me that her husband is home after all. He just got a new tattoo and is recovering. I figure we're going to just do it at the bar, but she takes me to a local park instead. We walk for a bit, then sit on a park bench, and I have her climb on top. Skirt up, condom on, panties to the side. She's facing me, feet flat on the bench, bracing herself by gripping the bench over my shoulders. She's got a nice little rhythm going, nice eye contact, and she can take me in deeply in this position. I then pick her up and fuck her standing, holding her ass, so she is completely lifted off the ground. I then sit her on the bench and fuck her missionary, never removing my cock through all these transitions. I finally pull out because I want to taste her. I move to go down on her and she tells me no because of "Bloody Mary." There was actually no blood, but I acknowledge the request and decide to finger fuck her instead. Like any sexually open woman who values her own pleasure, she joins in by rubbing her clit. We both make quite a team working her pussy and clit hard until she has an intense and obvious shuddering orgasm.

We hug and kiss, then I'm back in her for a bit pumping slowly; she's super-sensitive after her climax. I tell her that I would like to feel her mouth around my cock. I sit on the bench and she squats between my knees. She's hungrily sucking away, and it's feeling great. She tells me not to bust in her mouth. A bit disappointing, but I can oblige. Here was a girl who was actually good at oral and I could have come, but was holding back because of her request. To get myself off, I picked her up, put another condom on, bent her over the bench and fucked her doggy style. "Bloody Mary" had indeed arrived by the time I came. She was a bit worried about the condom breaking, so I showed her that it was intact and full of my seed. Huge smile. Feminine ego satisfied that I had an orgasm too, we sat together on the bench, cuddled, and talked for an hour or so.

This is the debrief: Her first impression of me was that I was rude. On Saturday, she had asked (in Romanian) if I would like to order something and I tersely said "English." She then asked (in English) if I would like to order something and I tersely said "no." She then went and complained to her Romanian friends. I just sat down with Jonathan and two other girls. However, I noticed that the only other girl in the bartender's group was a girl that I had met when I was out on Thursday night. I kindly walked over and politely said what's up to her and introduced myself to the group. I didn't know any of the stuff had been going on with the bartender complaining about me to her friends, but apparently they started saying to her stuff like "he's not such an asshole."

I sit with them and I am mostly chatting with the drunk guys in the group. The bartender is sitting there grumpy -- pissed at me or her immediate reaction to me -- but she makes eye contact once in awhile. I think she's sexy. Anyway, later that night, she got up to go to the bar, I was already up, we made intense eye contact, so I grabbed her, pinned her to the wall, and we kissed. The rest is history.

Also in the debrief I learned that she is 29. She's known her husband for ten years. They both fuck other people. They have a "don't ask, don't tell" arrangement. She was a web-cam girl for seven years. Her husband was "sick" those years and that is how she (alone) paid the bills. Some resentment was showing. She told me she loves gangbang porn. She told me about her one failed lesbian experience and how she really wants to be with girls, but feels awkward approaching them. By this time she was getting texts from the husband like "I find it hard to believe you are still at the bar this late." So, she had to go home and I had to catch a bus to Bulgaria the next day.

She asked me to blog about her. I hate writing "love reports," but found the request charming. So, here it is -- over two months later.

I asked her to email me ten things that she liked most about me and one thing she did not like. A fairly standard request that I make because I like the feedback. This is what she said:

I am still wondering if that was for real or not... I don't want to make a list with 10 things I liked about you, but I want to tell you this... you got me really horny with your attitude... and you are a very good kisser... and the night with you was a top top top experience... and you are very very very very cute... I hope that in this life I will meet you again... because maybe somehow I hope I deserve this... and there is not one thing that I didn't like about you... I loved your kisses and your lips... and you have a great cock... when you get back in Texas I hope I can show you more on my webcam... (Monday, August 23, 2010)

That was one of the sweetest emails ever, and if you look at it that is 9 or 10 things right there after all. Also one week later, she sent this:

Hi, I will send you some pics as soon as I have a little time home alone... I was thinking right now that I wish I could have one more night with you... it was the sexiest night ever for me... very passionate... kiss... (Monday, August 30, 2010)


We decided to go to a resort town on the Black Sea in Bulgaria. Mainly because we did not sell a single workshop spot in the capital of Sofia, and we were both ready to get away from major cities. We had two real options -- both looked pretty cheap -- those were Golden Sands, 17 km north of Varna and Sunny Beach, 35 km north of Burgas. Both looked decent on the Internet. Golden Sands was closer to Romania, and I was hoping it was going to be so badass that I would write a "GS in GS" post, so we went with Golden Sands.

We took a coach bus to a border town. We took a taxi to the border. We crossed the border on foot. We got a woman who worked at the Bulgarian duty free shop to call a "taxi." A guy rolls up in a regular car -- I am pretty sure it was just her husband -- but he drives us (at ridiculous speeds) all the way to Golden Sands for 50 Euros. We check into our hotel. The place is so cheap, we ended up actually getting separate rooms for the whole week. Nice enough place, but no bathtub.

Anyway, the city was nasty. Lots of litter and filth. Expensive food, lots of casinos, and high cover charges at over-hyped clubs. Turned out to be more of a family-oriented resort town than we expected. At least during the day. The exception of course was the plentiful streetwalkers that come out at night. These were ordinary "girl next door" types that come to the coast to work the tourists for the summer. It is seasonal work; they go back to their hometowns and families the rest of the year. Since prostitution is legal is Bulgaria, the girls and their pimps are all over the place. No hiding, no shame.

Our time in Golden Sands was tremendously uneventful. Laid on the beach some, laid in the hotel even more. Slept a lot, read a book, ate lots of junk food. That Wednesday, I walked down to the beach at 4am. Some clubs were still going, but I just wanted a bite to eat.

I got a doner kebab -- the last one I will ever eat.

I ended up getting such severe food poisoning, that even just thinking about it now -- two month later -- is having a real physiological effect.

To be honest, I've always been a little suspicious of those big racks of unidentifiable meat, just spinning there all day. And not just the meat on the spit, but all the shavings, grease, and toppings that just lay there at the bottom, in the intense heat, with flies crawling all over the mass of foodstuff. At 4am, I definitely should have thought twice. But there I was, hungry, so I bought a doner kebab and had it loaded with spices. Dude was like, "oh you like it spicy? You'll like this, and this" piling on crushed red pepper and two different hot sauces. Fuck.

It hit hard. Between like 8am and 11am, I threw up over ten times and had run to the toilet with diarrhea at least twenty times. It was really gross. Such a horrible experience. I had all this spicy pepper sauce, and chunks of cabbage and onion, coming up through my nose. The peppers fucking burned my sinuses. Not just that, but I had also eaten two bags of gummy bears and gummy cola bottles too. On the way back out, this made such a colorful sticky syrup that just slowly oozed out of my face after each regurgitated spew.

Just the sight and the smell was enough to make me vomit... well, vomit more, I suppose. I kept going back to the bed and just as I fell asleep, I had to get up for more heaving. Finally, I slept for like 15 hours straight. Then I just felt like shit. My teeth and face hurt, I felt really weak like I had a fever.

Good thing I had my own room though. No one else needed to see that mess or me in that state. I can't imagine how embarrassing such a barfpary would have been at some random hostel with a bunch of people in the place.

After that I was pretty much done with Bulgaria. Not a good energy there. The funny thing is, once we took a cab to Varna -- a bigger non-resort city also on the coast -- things seemed nice. The girls were nice, the weather was nice, the city was beautiful, and there was not trash everywhere. But that was our last day and we had just a few hours to spare before catching the bus to Istanbul.

We decided to pay a cab driver 30 Euros to take us to and from this place called Pobitite Kamani, or the "Stone Forest." It's a place with hundreds of upright limestone concretions formed as a result of an underwater paleo-hydrocarbon seep system during the Eocene Epoch. It's like a petrified reef in which you're surrounded by these towering rock formations. Of course, such a place is said to be an "energy center."

And the energy was different indeed. Nearly three month into our trip, this was the most significant turning point.

For one, I felt I had just cheated death. As insignificant as food poisoning may be to the extent of a person's life, you know that when you are in the middle of it, you are having a near-death-experience. So, fully recovered, I was over any depression, in full health, and on top of the world.

Second, aside from a brief visit to an island in Helsinki months earlier (which we visited to participate in a cultural event anyway), this was the only destination that was specifically related to nature. You know, outdoors, away from cities, away from crowds, off the beaten path, and just a badass natural wonder.

I loved it. I was immediately reminded of how "at home" I feel in the US national parks. Few people know this, but I have been to all the national parks in the lower 48 states. I have also been to the vast majority of the national monuments, national memorials, national historic sites, etc. Probably about 300 sites total that required over four years worth of road trips. At any rate, being in Pobitite Kamani, I realized that visiting such sites was exactly what was missing from the European adventure.

It was there that I realized that wandering around major European cities, meeting new people, talking to girls -- and even getting laid, whoopie -- did not justify the time and expense of being in Europe.

It was there that I was reminded of how much I really love proper travel and tourism. Trying to squeeze as much activity into the daylight hours. Passing out from exhaustion and determined to get up at a decent hour to do and see more.

It's not a vacation -- not a working holiday -- not wandering around meeting girls. Not staying up all night hanging out with locals, drinking, then sleeping through entire days. Not seduction. Not pick-up. Not teaching. Not integration. Not trying to learn all the nooks and crannies of a metropolis.

Just travel. Getting lost in history and geology and archeology -- at least as much as you can as a tourist. A wanderer. I'm into seeing new things, plain and simple. Natural and cultural wonders. I also like the luxury of having a plan and changing it. The luxury of getting lost.

As such, I ended up setting off on my own for a month of solo travel in Turkey. This is me in the Stone Forest: