There are many kinds of tourism, many things that you vary in your life incidental to changing your geographical location. In Craiova I went food shopping with a newly pregnant woman. Last September I went to Dan and Laura’s wedding here; the upcoming baby is an adjunct to that. The day that I arrived, Laura couldn’t keep food down very well, and she thought that some widely varied commodities might help.

I suppose this can be classified as a kind of gender tourism. It’s not an experience that puts itself often in my life.

The next two days she was feeling better. I’m told that it goes on like this for some time.

Things in Craiova are not good. The economy that I wrote of last year, everyone making deals furiously, was the froth on the bubble that was bursting at that moment in America. Now everyone asks me: “Are things getting better in America yet?” There isn’t a lot of bill paying happening in Romania, except for the insane insistence of everyone on paying for my dinner.

The lack of money has caused some tensions in the extended family of the village of Teasc. Everyone patched stuff up to take care of me, but they aren’t all happy with the deals they have made with each other in the days when Euros were flying around like sugar in a cotton candy machine.

Here is a phrase: Cristi’s girlfriend Ana Maria, in her avatar as news reporter for her radio station, was assigned to ask questions one night to a televised interview with an education minister. She conducted the interview on the phone. He was in the studio being managed by some other interviewers. I always thought that “phoning in your performance” was an exaggerated stage slang expression, but it turns out to really be a phenomenon. We were watching in the living room. She was on her phone in the bedroom. I was surprised at how good the sound is from a cell phone. Of course I couldn’t understand what anybody was saying, but the sound was good.

The last day we spent at two restaurants. The first one was a grandiose thing financed by an ex-Securitate person who wanted to build a bit of extravagant wooden rural Romania a ways north of Craiova, and the second, on the southwest of town, which I think represented also a Securitate second career (well who do you think had the money in Romania in 1989? It isn’t like it all went into a pot), is a monument to Ceausescu Kitsch. Bright orange is the theme color; there are ferroconcrete white statues everywhere, a brand new little chapel, and a bunch of tanks and artillery and snowplows and other war materiel on the front lawn. We sat in the shade and drank juice, since there was no room for any food after having a pound of meat at the first place. I bought an orange t shirt. Laura was feeling well enough at that point for a huge dish of ice cream. Her baby is getting a varied diet.

After that it was time to go to Dan’s mother’s house for another dinner, and for her to completely stuff my backpack with food for the Sarajevo train trip which began just after midnight. We waited for the witching hour at the town square, which has been set up with musically synchronized fountains splashing along to the music of Old Vienna. I mailed a batch of post cards and got on the train.

Anyway, I love Andrei and Alex and Dan and their friends more than I love my own hair color. I never want to leave any of their company. I hope that things will work out well for them.