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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back in Eden ... AKA Covasinț, Romania

Yesterday, Saturday, 29 June was my last day in Romania for this visit.  It started most pleasantly with a coffee in the Piața Unirii in Timisoara in the company of my colleague Miruna Nachescu.  From there, I drove northward through Arad to the home of Ileana and Sebastian Fera, introduced to my readers last October.  This month their sumptuous garden was in season, simply bursting with beauty and bounty.  I will let the pictures, and this favorite Harry Belafonte song, speak for the experience.  (Please note the progression of the long, scrumptious, lunch.)  (Roxy, I dare you not to cry!)

At first, the table was bare.

But Ileana would not leave it so for long.

Seba opens the vin rosu sec.

A first course of salam de Sibiu, with cheeses and sour cherries, hard-boiled eggs, etc.

Then came noodles for the chicken soup.

Casa Fera de Covasinț

Then sarmale cu cartofi pure...

with sos de ciuperci, si a chicken & pork stew.

Let us not overlook dessert!

Custard cake with sour cherries and whipped cream.

The lunch table, as seen from the house. Do you see why I am reminded of Eden?

Our friends the Feras.

The Dacia 1310.

The garage. (It works!)

Excellent watchdog.

Car guy.

And appreciative guest.

Grape vines.


And all is down a country road from the village.

Which was impassable by car for a week this spring.

But as you climb up the road from the bottom,

you find Covasinț to be quite charming,

and quite traditional.
That afternoon, I left Romania by way of Szeged, Hungary, and drove to the Austrian border, where I slept well at Rozsa Csarda, a favorite hotel just inside Hungary.  Today, I have made it to Krems an der Donau, Austria.  Da, da, da, da...

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Beloved friends, "La revedere!"

Last night we gathered to say "Goodbye" at Restaurantul Panoramic in Cluj:
Restarantul Panoramic is high on the hill just across the river from Downtown Cluj.

The panarama looks out over the spectacular new stadium.

That shiny spot is Raul Someș Mic, flowing past the stadium.

Tibi and Alexandra

Ramona, Monica and Florina, a trio characterized by brains, beauty, and charm!

My 2009 teaching assistant at EURO, Lucian Bogdan, Ph.D. joined in the party!

Great views and fine food make this restaurant quite special.

The professor ... telling a bad joke?

Thanks, Monica, for getting this group in one frame!
I will be here in Cluj just two more days.  I am already "fearing the tearing" that is sure to come as I drive away Friday morning.  (Of course, one never knows which visit will be his last, for such is life!)  But to all my friends here in Cluj, I bid a fond, "Farewell!"

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Klaus in Klausenburg

When I bought my 1993 BMW 520i back in 2008, I named him Klaus.  There was no special reason, though the name may have been in my mind because years before I had met two of Herr Schmid's Fellbach friends, one named Klaus and one named Claus.  But the reason became clear when I learned that Cluj-Napoca, Romania has a German name: Klausenburg.  Clearly, a non-coincidence.
Twenty year-old engine compartment?

Since that September, Klaus has done faithful service for Shirley and me on our visits to Europe, and occasionally for the Schmid family while staying with them in Fellbach between our trips.  He has starred already in this blog, when he had a missing gas cap cover up in Ocna Sugatag.  But now he has also had a little body work done to remove incipient rust damage, and has fresh oil and a new oil filter, and he is altogether handsome, and feeling fine.

On Friday morning, just two days from now, Klaus and I will again be heading west, back to Fellbach via Timișoara, and Covasinț, Romania, Tatabanya, Hungary, and Krems, Austria.  Klaus has only 119,000 Km on the odometer, roughly one-quarter of the 284,000 miles that Fritz, his older cousin in America, has on him.  I hope to own Klaus for years to come, either here in Europe, or perhaps he will one day emigrate to America!

Saturday, June 22, 2013

A New Trier Classmate, Met on Facebook

Hey, Jim! How come I never met you at New Trier?
Or did I, and am I just having a senior moment?
Anyway, I find you to be a sensible and stalwart classmate here on FB.
I've often wondered. I was in Mr Rude's homeroom and played trumpet for Sam Mages, but my friends were the butt-smokers who hung out around Chris's Snack Shop.
Gotcha! You probably knew my girlfriend, Patsy Burmeister (violinist), and my best friend in the Wilmette schools, Doug Mitchell (drummer).
I got lucky when I met Gut after coming home from the war. She turned me around (and around and around).
Gudy - not Gut. It's pronounced like "Judy".
A classmate?
She was a friend of the waitress at the pizza place I worked at when going to UICC. Gudy is from Ecuador, S Am.
Two of my brothers served in Vietnam. George (Dr. Cornog speaking) McDougall, NT '60, was in the Navy on the heavy cruiser USS Boston, CAG-1, and only spent one night in country, though they shelled the North for some months. Walter, NT '64 was in the Field Artillery, and caught some serious Hell. But both made it home. I flunked the flight physical for the Navy in '64, and ended up 3A for the remainder of the war years.
Are you bilingual?
I am in Cluj, Romania this month. The name Kucera could be from Eastern Europe. Is it?
My Vietnamese is almost as good as my Spanish, but we speak American at home. I was a lumberjack when they drafted me in 1966 so they put me in the Signal Corps to patch the holes we shot in our own wires.
Sounds like fun.
Dad came from Prague when he was 2 yr old. They had passage booked on the Titanic but they missed the boat.
I used to manage a woods crew for the Beebe River Bobbin Mill in Campton, NH. Where were you in the woods?

High lead logging in Oregon and Snoqualmie Washington. We used cables to drag the logs in because it was too steep for cat logging. I saw one log (on a 12' bed) twice. That'll probably never happen again.
I learned rigging-slinger, choker-setter and 2nd loader, but my favorite job was whistle-punking.
I have never seen Prague. Everyone tells me I must, so one day I shall detour through it on my way back to Stuttgart (where I keep my Euro-car, a 1993 BMW for which I paid 2250 Euros in 2008). Here is a look at Beebe River. I was plant manager for North American Rockwell from Dec. 1972 through June, 1975.
You are WAY beyond my knowledge of the woods. We had a forester (Dave Ash) who supervised the woods crew. We only cut about 5% of our maple needs, but it kept us able to buy logs at the best prices.;-)
We owned 30,000 acres in NH, and 70,000 in the Adirondacks of upstate NY.
Rockwell sold it all for $100/acre, as part of their liquidation of America's leading textile machinery companies. SOBs.
A bobbin was typically 9" long. We could use logs of smaller diameter and lower quality than the furniture companies. In NH they were known as "bobbin logs."
Only needed a 10" clear-cut. But the product was incredibly precise. +/- 0.001" in diameter, and +/- 0.009" total sweep over the length, when turned on centers.
Our 17 lathes were rotary-head specials built for Draper Corporation in the 1930s. We averaged 115,000 bobbins per day in Fiscal Year 1975, 27,000,000 units that year (the record).
That required only about 5.3 MMBf of hard maple. Five bobbins per board ft.
Are you living near Chicago?
Beebe River could have been Meadowbrook (Snoqualmie) in 1963. The loggers' hotel had a cafe in it. They made a box lunch (2 sandwiches, pie and a thermos of coffee) for a dollar. There were 2 bar on the street to the sawmill. One was always open.
I love it.
I will come to Chicago next June. I hope to meet you.
We're in Bensenville now. Mostly we've been in DuPage County after I sold the house in Logan Square. What a long strange trip it's been.
Agreed. Peace, brother!
Almost 1:00 AM here. Good night, Jim!
Night, Duncan. I look forward to seeing you.

Internet had job descriptions for all but whistle punking. So, I am guessing that was an extra-curricular passtime?
Reminds me of a submariner I knew, who didn't take a piss, but rather "blew bow buoyancy."
The punk laid a line from the landing to where the woods crew was setting chokers, etc. It had a squeeze handle on it and when you squoze it the air horn on the triple drum tooted. Once meant stop (or start if you were stopped). Twice meant back it up and three times meant go ahead slow Two toots , pause, then tree toots meant "tightline", where the tripledrum guy made the cables go forward and ack at the same time. You could lift a whole truckload off the ground like that.

Seven Long meant someone was hurt or dead. If it was followed by two short toots it meant "Bring a stretcher." You could hear the air horns all around, and we all prayed for the two toots when we heard the seven long.