jueves, 7 de enero de 2016

Stranger in Brasov

Watch this travel story of a lonesome traveller in Brasov.

Self-study activity:
Watch the video clip and answer the questions below.

1 How long was the trip?
2 How do the Soviet block look?
3 What did the traveller do while sitting down in the apartment?
4 How did the visitor communicate with her friend's family?
5 How did the visitor realise she was in the wrong place?
6 When did the visitor panick and decide to leave?

The lonesome traveller blues hurt when I was half-way through (1) a four-month tour of Eastern Europe. As anyone who’s travelled alone can tell you, it starts to wear you out in pretty typical ways. You’re lonely, exhausted, you just want a home-cooked meal, but happily my Romanian friend had given me her mother’s address and encouraged me to visit.
When I arrived in the heart of eerie Transilvania I set off to find the right apartment. The Soviet blocks all look the same, and all-daunting (2) mess of grey cement. I settled on one apartment in a row of hundreds.
I knocked on the door gently, anticipating a lot of our encounter to be lost in translation. A kind old woman answered. Through a mixture of mild movement and enunciated English I explained that I was her daughter’s friend. She received me with a broad grin, quickly ushering me inside. A little girl who I assumed was my friend’s sister was also inside. We all sat down (3) to drink tea, watch Romanian soap operas and share home-made cake. The apartment was really cosy and full of lamp, souvenirs and crochet throws. I understood almost nothing of what was happening, but soap operas are pretty much the same in every language.
I also must have wolfed down my cake because my friend’s mum quickly offered to go buy food for dinner. She put a coat on and slipped out, leaving me with the little girl. When she got back she went to work making a genuine Romanian feast of hearty soup, meat and polenta. Throughout the meal we laughed and continued to (4) talk in a muddled mix of hand signals.
After about five hours, (5) my host put out photo albums. I looked forward to seeing potentially embarrassing photos of my friend as a little girl. As the pages turned and we passed an endless array of husbands, aunts, uncles and children I began to have a sinking feeling that these weren’t my friend’s relatives. I hadn’t seen one picture that looked like her. My mouth went dry my heart beat faster. I was in the wrong apartment.
To make matters worse (6) the woman and the little girl began pulling out a mattress for me to sleep on. I panicked and stiffened on the couch unsure of how to make a quick exit without being rude. In my best gesturing I explained that I already had a hotel booked. I thanked them profusely and made a hasty retreat. They waved a warm good-bye and I set off in the Soviet concrete jungle.