Friday, 23 September 2016

Bucharest life


Last night I was invited to a great Greek fish restaurant, To Perigiali, close to my house, opposite the National Bank in Smardan. I don’t like fish that much but had a wonderful calamari stuffed with delicious cheese. Who knew calamari could be huge, one fish enough for three? Good retsina too. I was invited by two Greeks who are envious that the UK is leaving the EU. I said the Euro is a problem to which there will never be a solution and they mournfully agreed. 

The night before, I went to Kumar’s Agra Palace in its new premises. Great food, of course, up to standard of a good London Indian resturant, but we waited 75 minutes and one of us had to leave unfed because of the babysitter. The other, British and a passionate Remainer, wanted to talk about the Single Market and I tried not to. Being Remain or Leave is like being Catholic or Protestant – better not discussed. Also his sadness upset me, like a dog looking imploringly at me.

I didn’t get away this morning before my cleaning lady arrived with her constant babble of Romanian. She is too proud to bash my little carpets over the side of the balcony and unforgivably put them in the washing machine where my favourite lost some of its colour. I was trying to be jocularly grumpy but it ended with her demanding another salary rise. 

How I absolutely hate scenes like this, especially first thing in the morning when I am half conscious. I suppose were I married they would be normal. We bachelors live a bit like Lucretius’s gods, far above the earth, detached from the pains and joys of mortals.

In Bucharest in some ways I found the 19th century life I dreamt of as a child. I wanted to be a Cambridge man run to seed playing the piano in a bordello in a Balkan city. Making an honest living, note. Bucharest in the Adrian Nastase era was a bit like that. 

A big tremor last night. The earthquake is coming, of course.

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