(DISCLAIMER: This blog is not an official Fulbright Program blog; the views expressed are my own and not those of the Fulbright Program, the U.S. Department of State or any of its partner organizations.)

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Recent Travels, Part 2

This continues my overview of our Romanian travels with Kent, our son.  
  • Traveling to Șigișoara with former exchange student Eva
Another Austrian exchange student, Eva, and her boyfriend, Joffrey, came to visit.  She wanted to see Romanian castles and rural villages.  We extended our car rental and went to Șigișoara, Brașov, Bran, and Sinaia; put them on a train to Buchureșt and we explored the Faragaș mountains. On the way to Șigișoara we passed through the village where, last November, we stayed with the Roma family (Staying with the Roma).  We recognized the house, turned around and pulled into the driveway.  We didn't know what kind of welcome we would get; Dan was ready to commence greetings and introductions if the father came out to see who was in the driveway, and Nancy was ready if the mother came out.  Gabi, the father, came out, and immediately recognized us and invited us in.  They remembered our names, welcomed us warmly, and Ghizi, the mother, couldn't stop hugging Nancy.  We had coffee and showed them pictures from our last visit.  Our Romanian was good enough to carry on a conversation.
The Gabori family with Kent, Eva and Joffrey

     Ghizi called Bertie, their daughter in 2nd grade, at school and told her to come home.  Ghizi wanted her to see us and practice her English, probably more learning activities than she would have at school. Bertie is taking English lessons from a neighbor in the village, and she showed us her English picture books and her drawing book of vocabulary.  She colors in a picture of every English word that she learns.
      While we were visiting, Ghizi went back in the guest rooms to get a hoodie that Nancy had left onthe previous visit (laundered and folded, waiting for a chance to return it), and some accessories that Ghizi had made to go with the gypsy dresses that the girls had bought during the last visit. More hugs as she presented the gifts and for whom each was intended.
    Sometime I will blog all the negative reactions that we have gotten about our gypsy home-stay from Romanians and ex-pats who have "gone native."  For now, all I'll say is: the life we experienced last November is pretty much the life they live; they are not an ordinary Roma family, in that they are open to outsiders, value education, and see that there is a wider world out there; and they have shown greater hospitality to us strangers than anyone else in our Romanian experience.

  • Visiting castles, palaces, and fortified cities
In Șigișoara, our fortified city, we went to the Clock Tower museum, which has a good exhibit on the medieval guilds, and you can see how the tower clock works.  Amazing what engineers in the 1600s can do. We walked the wall and ate lunch.
     We visited Bran Castle; we were more interested in Queen Maria, who lived there during WWI, than in Dracula, who never lived there, and maybe once attacked the castle in the 1600s.
     We visited Peleș Palace in Sinaia, the summer palace of King Ferdinand and Queen Maria. We put Eva and Joffrey on the train to Buchurest and went to a rural homestay in Bran, where we ate well and watched a foot of snow fall.
  • Nancy's High Adventure  Travel
The next day as we awoke in a winter wonderland, we decided to look at the Râșnov (rɨsh-nov)  Citadel that we had seen towering over the plain the day before.  It reminded us of Minis Tirith in the Lord of the Rings movies, a fortified city high over the valley nestled into the surrounding mountains.  The citadel was built about 1215 by the Teutonic Knights. Since it was a Saturday, the local volunteers were dressed in their best medieval reenactor costumes. So did we.

  There was a cave nearby, so we decided to explore it before lunch.  We walked up an icy vehicle road for 1.5 km to get to the cave, and had a wonderful English-speaking guide for the cave tour.
  On the way out, things got interesting.  We decided to walk back down using a footpath because it had a railing to hold onto.  As we entered the footpath, Nancy slipped on some tree roots and fell on her back, bouncing down the path.  Kent was in front, reached her first, and put his boy scout training in Wilderness First Aid into practice.  He immediately immobilized her, treated her for shock, and started to monitor her breathing and consciousness.  Fortunately, she never lost consciousness, but because of the fall, we had to assume some sort of spinal injury, so we called the ambulance.  Because we were 1.5 km from the parking lot, on a mountain trail 30 meters above the icy road, they had to call the Mountain Rescue team to get her off the mountain.  She was in a great deal of pain, she thought she had broken ribs and punctured her lung, but Kent kept talking with her to keep the panic at bay and help her breathe.  After 20 minutes, the emergency medical personnel arrived and carried her down the mountain to the waiting ambulance.
    The crisis turned out better than we could imagine (let me tell you, our imaginations on the mountain were impressive): no fractures, no punctured lung, only one seriously sore lady.  The EMS and the Brașov emergency hospital were helpful and efficient: she was stabilized on oxygen and a glucose drip in the ambulance, and was in radiology for x-rays within 30 minutes at the hospital.  We got the good news from the doctor that there were no fractures at 5:00, and we could go home when she finished the IV pain meds, about 8:00pm.
    Nancy has been impressed with the quality of the medical care she has received in Romania. The facilities are old and some are shabbier than others, but the doctors are well-trained and knowledgeable.  The biggest difference from the US system is the access and attention she gets from a physician; there aren't as many support staff as we have in the US so the doctors do almost everything.  This wasn't her first encounter with the Romanian health care system, she needed her blood pressure medication adjusted and she had a recurrent infection.  So, she has seen a private medical office, the public medical system, and now the emergency medical system and a rehab doctor. 

No comments:

Post a Comment