I’m writing in English because this post is probably only interesting my friends that don’t live in Romania. For the rest of my friends the framework is common. Only the experience makes it ” one of those things that can only happen to me “. I am saying it from the start , although I have said it before. I don’t love this country, neither I hate it. I just live here as a matter of conjecture. It’s kind of cheap and I fit well.
First of all , I should say that it’s common for the rest of the Europe that Romanians and Bulgarians are the poorest, the ones with the highest corruption index and the least civilized among the European countries. However , most of these people either don’t have a clear and quantified perception and even those traveling to this country , probably refer mostly to Bucharest , or some large city , when thinking of Romanians. No, guys! I don’t know exactly but somewhere over 40% of the Romanian population living inside this country’s borders reside in rural area. Nothing to do with any city that you may think at. Going through these villages would make you see things that you probably don’t know they exist anymore since middle age. Or they exist in countries that you’d call them “3rd world”. My own residence is in a village. I live there less than in Bucharest since 12 years ago, but I just don’t want to change my residence from there, because Bucharest does not represent me. It’s not cheap , it’s not quality and it does not have anything I want , except for better revenue for your work.
It’s quite common for us, the Romanians, that in some mornings we experience some sort of feeling that simply tells you something very bad’s gonna screw your day and that you’d better go back to sleep. But because we’re fatalists , we usually don’t give a shit and neither we do anything about it , but we simply go on with it as “it’s written”. I am hardly a fatalist , but yesterday I did woke up with a number of chakras that weren’t quite at their place. Probably because I woke up late , but whatever, let’s cut to the chase. Short story of 2 days.
I left my home village towards the nearest city for my wife to solve some bureaucratic issues, carrying also our youngest daughter with us for objective reasons. Due to the time of day ( around 11:00 AM ), I met on the street a number of carts powered by horses. Kind of like this one:
When over-passing one of them , I got too close( I always get too close) while slowing down to allow a car pass from the opposite direction, then when I stepped on the gas my hand slipped just a bit on the wheel , but enough that I hit the left back wheel of the cart with my right front wing. There’s absolutely nothing spectacular here. I wasn’t paying enough attention and I hit that mans cart. Probably a foreigner would have a different optic regarding the presence of these carts on the road than a local. In any way , my point here is not trying to convince you that the blame for the accident is the conjecture , or the presence of carts on the road. That’s known and accepted in this country. I simply committed a fault. I was driving slow, so nobody was hurt and we were looking for the police to write down the incident and to provide me with a damage/repair note. We were at 300m of police station. Some guy knew the phone number of the local police officers and tried to reach them for coming at the station . They were in a regional meeting at 2 villages away. Everybody was insisting to call 112 ( emergency number ) , cause they’d rather had things to do . Well, me too , but this was far from a situation that would require an emergency intervention . Anyway , why not. Called the 112 dispatcher , who gave me the district police, who transferred me to the district’s traffic police , who transferred me to the same local police man, who said again that he’s in a meeting and that he’ll do his best to come up when he’s done with it. Said and done . Waited for another 30 minutes and then the man came with someone’s van apologizing for the delay, as he had a flat tire to his car and another flat tire to his colleague’s car.Well, that’s an unlucky day . Oh, maybe you wanna see pictures with the damage. Nothing exciting about my car. The cart was in a more interesting state , with the rear left wheel bent at 180 degrees and the central longitudinal axle ( a metal pipe) being bent as well. I was really not in the mood and have no pics at all with that man’s cart.
Anyway , we went with the policeman to the station, we noted the events I waited for the man who owned the cart to evaluate the damage and the repairing costs. I have an insurance that covers the material damages during a car crash , but I wouldn’t expect that guy to be able to come up with an invoice for his repair and forcing him to go the legal way would simply be unfair, cause he wouldn’t be able to fix his cart that way. I was expecting it’d be quite an achievement get away with anything under 100 EUR. I know that seems cheap ,right ? Well, he asked for 50 lei ( that’s ~ 12 EUR). I felt that he undervalues his cart and paid him 100 lei to cover also for his time loss. That’d be ~ 24 EUR. In cash ! 😀 . The policeman asked me pay a higher fine for the accident . About 360 lei, which I could reduce to 180 lei if paid in 48 hours. I don’t know what law he invoked for fining me , I don’t even care as it has to be some law that I broke. Usually, that’s how it goes. If you need assistance from a police officer, someone will pay his service with a fine. It was obvious that it has to be me.
My wife and daughter were taken by my father with his car and they continued their business alone. I remained to take care of the car. I saw that some liquid was pouring and I wasn’t sure if this represents an older issue that I thought I fixed one day before , with the coolant liquid flowing from the expansion tank . I looked for the levels of any other liquids in their tanks ( now I realize I forgot to check the level of the brake liquid, fuck and I’ve driven already 300 km . It’s just fine as long as my wife doesn’t find out about it . ) and saw that everything else seems to be alright . So it’s just the old hole in the coolant tank that became bigger. Called some auto garages and they said they’re all busy . Than called my uncle in the town I was initially set for and he said he has a guy working for him ( he deals used cars ) that could help me with my problem , if I can bring the replacing parts . Of course I can . There are plenty of guys that just buy, or steal cars from the Western Europe and they disassemble them into spare parts. I replaced the lost the coolant with some water ( being summer , there’s absolutely no problem ) and then drove it as it was till the nearest disassembling shop. Bought a light blue front bumper for 300 lei , a metallic green front right wing for about 100 lei and the expansion tank for coolant for 50 lei and that was it. Drove the parts to my uncle’s yard and he called the “mechanic”. The mechanic was loosing himself some fluids and he was constantly refilling up with beer. He worked for about 4 hours to un-mount the broken parts and to mount the replacements , while he fueled himself with like 4 beers. At the end I had to help him a bit , because he was keep forgetting where he placed the tools and was becoming clumsy. Probably because it was a hot day. Still he did a decent job and I was happy that I can get home with a brand new car . Well , it was now painted in 3 colors , but I’ll fix this some other time.Took me another 100 lei to pay that guy’s work. Not very bad. So I went back home.
Usually I drive quite fast when I am alone in the car , but under the given circumstances I just wanted to get home fine . I didn’t drive slow , but just decent, kind of the same I’m driving when I’m with my family. When going back through the same village , it was about the time when cows come home from the green field . Yes, in the villages people have cows , usually they go altogether to some fields where they spend the day and eat grass, obviously . In the evening they all come back home in groups and it’s not uncommon that they all walk the public street. Of course I am familiar with that and with the fact that I have to slow down a lot , or to stop when I meet such a group. Which I did in this case too. After 2 groups of cows I accelerated a bit , although I was still driving decently slow.
On a light downhill road , I saw a caw that was grazing some grass between some guy’s yard and the rain channel next to the left side of the road. That’s also common , specially after the cows come back from the field because the owners often are caught with other things and the cows just roam around the house until they come home. Normally , if I see an animal on the side of the road alone ( they shouldn’t be alone , by the law) I slow down , but because this cow wasn’t exactly next to the road, nor on the road, I just continued my way ( also because I can’t really drive all 20 km with 30km/h ) until it insanely jumped over the rain channel into the road , intending to cut my way. I stepped on the breaks . It would have been much better to actually accelerate, but the common sense and the instinct says I have to break and I wouldn’t wanna hit a cow while accelerating. There’s enough people behind the wheel getting killed by cows and horses. When I was nearly stopped the cow bumped into my left side and hit my front wing , left mirror and nicely stuffed my back door. I was definitely getting raped by karma. If there would be such thing. I stopped the engine and stepped down my car. The car went ahead downhill, alone. Oh fuck ! The break… Caught the car and locked it still. The cow seemed just fine . I know that foreign people would like to know that in an accident the animals are fine too. I and most of the Romanians wouldn’t give a shit. I don’t like to kill, or hurt any creature , but if it happens , it’s just money walking down the street.
Some guy , the one in blue shirt, came and silently took the cow to his yard. I asked the guy to wait up a minute and to let me know if the cow’s ok , while taking these pictures. The woman in red pants said all’s ok, while they were kind of rushing away and turning their back on me. I had my mojo way too fucked up to go back after them and make them pay . Just too fucking tired . Gone home. In the morning , I went paid my fine then gone back to that same police officer from same village , gave him the receipt and told him that I need another repair note for the other side of the car. He was quite amazed. We went together to those guys just to make sure that the cow’s still alive . When those guys saw me with the police officer , they thought I am going to ask them pay for the damage and naturally , they gone defensive saying that I was driving freaking fast and that there were like 50 meters of break trails on the asphalt , but the rain washed them . I am sure you can see all 50 meters of break trails in the picture above. Let alone the fact that the woman in red pants was crying out loud that the cow was accompanied by her and that she had it tied with a rope. She couldn’t , though, explain where was she standing with the cow since I got hit on the left side of the car.Nevertheless, when the policemen told them that I don’t want anything from them , they just backed off , saying that , “you know ,these things happen “.
I know that , it happened to me even twice the same day , morons!
I know it’d be nice to live in a country with no cows and carts on the streets , with highways and all the shit that’s called civilization . On the other hand, I got used to this. It doesn’t hurt.Not anymore.
Until that degree of civilization , yes , I have to drive slow or stand still through the cows .That’s exactly what the owner of the cow asked me.
– Were you standing still when the cow hit you ? Because , if not , then there’s no excuse.
And they’re kind of right . This country is still venerating the cow. Not religiously. But the people, truly, are so poor that they have to grow one or two cows per family , to walk them to the field to graze grass through the public road and we are that uncivilized not to take care/ guard them. So yes, you have to stand still in front of the cow, cause if you kill it , you deprive a family of food. So , what should I say?! Sorry guys, it’s only now I think at it this way. I guess I was just confusing the country with some others that have cows , but you don’t see them on the streets.