Writing this on the second day of this year’s first actual heat wave, but I’m sitting here with the window closed and blinds drawn, so it doesn’t matter much. Not that it’d have really bothered me either way, the reported highs being the same as yesterday, around 35°C, and there’s also a fair bit of wind, which actually makes it nice in the kitchen, where the window is open. But I kept it closed until evening yesterday and I’m doing the same now, in part also because the bright light and maybe also the feeling of possibly being watched definitely don’t make writing any easier and I left it late enough as it is. Tomorrow these measures may be needed for the temperature alone though, with the forecast mentioning even up to 40°C, so it is likely to get rather uncomfortable even for me and I’ll be keeping an eye on my computer as well. But it should only be that one day, as it should get back below 35°C Sunday and next week should start with storms and significantly lower temperatures and then be quite fine after that.
But to start from the beginning of the period covered by this post, last Thursday I went to the Botanical Garden, to at least use the first of the four free entries I got when I volunteered, as I had been told that the best time to see some things was April or May and for others May or June and it was late June already. Since the greenhouses were listed as closing at 1 PM, I wanted to be there at 11 AM, or preferably even a bit earlier, so I meant to leave around 9:30 AM, considering the distance and that I was going to walk all the way. That didn’t work quite like that, but it was close enough, as I only managed to go out the door at 9:50 AM, but was there at 11:05 AM. And, either way, I noticed the summer schedule listed there, which contradicted the one on-line, as it stated that greenhouses were open until 3 PM, though on the other hand I saw the museum scheduled to close at 3 PM as well, though on-line it says 5 PM.
When I arrived, I saw a group of people talking in another language standing just outside. I later thought it was probably Portuguese, but I’m not certain, or I might have heard others speaking Portuguese instead, as they definitely weren’t the only foreign people there at the time. Either way, they walked in right after me, before I could show my pass to the person there, so I stepped aside and let her handle them first. However, that was not so easy, because they had someone who spoke English very well but the woman handling the tickets didn’t. I think they asked about two other languages as well, but that didn’t get them anywhere either, so they just tried to somehow sort things out without a common language while I kept meaning to step in and translate but couldn’t get myself to actually say anything at first.
Eventually did step in when the person who knew English took a folder, which I guess had the map when spread out and information, possibly also in English, on the rest of it, and someone else from their group grabbed several more, prompting the woman handling the tickets to ask if they’re not together, quite confused. So I translated that question, repeated myself when I wasn’t understood at first, then was asked to also ask whether the tickets for the “treehouse” are also paid there or at the entrance in question. That, of course, being the greenhouse entrance, and yes, I did say it was a greenhouse and not a treehouse, two or three times, but I didn’t seem to be getting through. Either way, was told those were also paid there, after which the group meant to leave, which rather confused me. They were leaving without their change though, so they were called back, I also shouted and explained why, then due to the lack of a common language the woman handling the tickets made the calculations on a piece of paper, to show that she was giving correct change, getting a thumbs up in return. Those calculations didn’t really make sense to me though, as prices seemed to be discounted even though they shouldn’t have been, but one more category seemed to be added, and in the end it seemed to me that they got more money back than they should have. But I probably got something all wrong.
Either way, after the group left, I stuck my head inside the booth through the small opening, though I guess you’re not supposed to do that, and gave my pass and a 5 RON bill, for the tickets for the greenhouse and museum. But, after first being asked whether I had any more of those passes, which was a question I didn’t get the point of, I was told that for the museum you pay at the entrance and something along the lines that maybe I’ll just leave 1 RON there if I want to for the greenhouse. That didn’t make sense to me, and contradicted what I had been told to tell the group, and I was wondering whether I was being waved through either because I had been a volunteer or because I helped a little with that translation, or perhaps a combination of the two, and asking myself how will the person checking for tickets at the greenhouse know that.
I had no reason to worry though, as there didn’t seem to be anybody checking anything at the greenhouses. I mean, there definitely was nobody at the small old greenhouse, which I found first, and then at the big ones there seemed to be someone at the table at the entrance, but she was talking to someone else and didn’t pay any attention to the people going in. Found the person who had spoken in English from that group there again, standing with one other, the rest having likely walked ahead, and she was clearly confused and wondering out loud whether they could just walk in or there was something else to do, but since I could just walk in, I just walked in and didn’t bother with anything else. Not I got much out of it, but I wanted to make sure I saw everything, so I looked at the plants and read the information available, though it seemed quite little to me and in one of the rooms I didn’t find anything at all. Also tried to read the labels on the plants, but I was mainly seeing scientific names, so unless one actually knew what it was all about, they didn’t seem to be of much help and after a bit I started pretty much ignoring them.
Back outside, I started wandering around, first going through the Rosarium, though most roses were wilting. That was still better than the Iridarium though, as that was what I had been told should be visited in April or May and there were no flowers to be seen at all anymore. Other areas varied, but there wasn’t really anything to catch my attention, so I just tried to make sure I explored every little bit of the place and read all information I could find, going back a few times through some areas and even ending up on narrow footpaths through grass and weeds, wondering whether those were areas the volunteers will work on next or they were just for the staff to use. Outside the sectors with certain themes, it all seems to be in a pretty poor state, but that does also create a few nice spots, such as an old bench under an old tree, a bit away from the main paths but still before being left with just those narrow footpaths and grass and weeds, where I found a couple talking and cuddling. Passed by the area a few times and they were still there, so I just passed right in front of them once, trying to go around otherwise, so I’ll leave them in their little world. On the other hand, did glance at another couple I saw, when I heard him start explaining to her, in English, what it’d mean if he’d be in an open relationship with her.
While exploring, I saw a huge tree with a large structure in it that definitely looked like a birdhouse but which was probably large enough for a person to fit inside as well, albeit probably not a tall person. Found no way to get to it though. On the other hand, after having missed them the first time around, when I got back to those areas after checking the map at the entrance to see where I didn’t recall having been, I found what I remember a sign stating was the first project of this group that calls for volunteers every year there, the Children’s Garden, as well as the Garden with Remedies, apparently arranged by some other group. The Children’s Garden, apparently built in 2012, is now a ruin though, and a rather creepy one at that, its location only enhancing that impression, while the Garden with Remedies is surrounded by a tall hedge, which made me miss it at first due to seeing a sign but finding no entrance, and contains several different areas separated by shorter hedges that are very close together, so I had to just squeeze through, and in some places go around because some trees were completely blocking the way. Also about the Garden with Remedies, can’t say I actually found anything there other than a lot of butterflies flying out of those hedges, and there definitely were no labels or other information whatsoever other than the large sign at the main entrance, describing, in a general sense, what should have been there. Almost missed even that one, since I had found my way in through a smaller entrance instead.
Back to that group, did see a few people, including the one who coordinates these events, sitting down and I think eating as I was passing through the area close to the gift shop. Later, as I returned there, I saw the coordinator and just one other person, probably an employee, gathering the tools and equipment. And that was when I also noticed what was listed as their third project, the Garden of Books, supposedly built in 2015 but already in a poor state, with benches out of place and turned over and nothing looking right anymore. What I guess would be their second project, Grandmother’s Garden, next to the old greenhouse, is the only one that seems to still be in use, and people were working there when I had a look. Found it being mentioned on their site back in 2011 though, even before the Children’s Garden, so something’s probably wrong somewhere.
If you noticed the fact that I initially mentioned a museum but then didn’t say anything about actually visiting it, that’s because I didn’t. Had a look at the entrance, decided I’ll return later, did so, walked up the stairs, but decided against going in, thinking that if I didn’t spend money until then, I’ll keep it as a free visit. Found myself even less interested in the museum than in the Garden in general anyway. And I still have three visits on that pass, so I can just go some other time if I’ll feel like it.
This post was supposed to be shorter than just that section was, and it took me two hours just to get this far. But this actually means I wrote very quickly, so let me now move on to what I did after leaving the Garden, at 3 PM. And what I did then was check three hypermarkets that are sort of in the general area, eventually ending up buying some things just from the last one of them though I had meant to get something from another as well. The price was the same, I usually prefer to avoid the one I did get the things from in the end, and the one I meant to buy from is currently celebrating 16 years and they’re offering scratch tickets and entries to a draw with each purchase. But I just forgot about it then, grabbing what I meant to grab and starting to walk back… For one hour and about 45 minutes, on a sunny summer day, while carrying a number of things. My arms ended up rather tanned, actually, but the back of my neck sure was red, and I’m still peeling skin from there now. That didn’t stop me from going out again Friday, twice, picking up a couple of things during the day and a few more in the evening.
I think the blood comes after this, because I’m pretty sure it was Sunday. Either way, and this is once again something I guess most would file under “too much information”, one of those days I noticed blood out the rear end again, for the first time in quite a long time. Had admittedly rather pushed it, between holding it in when the bathroom was occupied when I meant to go and then even ending up skipping a day, trying to go right after waking up, especially after waking up early, when it usually just doesn’t work, and you definitely shouldn’t force things when you have such issues, and starting to feel a certain need while being outside and holding it in again. So it was likely to happen, it felt like it was going to, and then it did. Seems to be healing by now, though there was a little more in the first days after that.
One other thing is that I was so, shall we say, out of practice, that I didn’t even press the right way or wait enough for it to completely stop, just wiping and getting up, so I ended up with a bit of blood that even went through my underwear, got on my shorts, and then even on my chair. The shorts and the chair were easy to clean, though now the chair looks badly stained in the area where I used a bit of water and soap, likely due to all the dirt embedded in it over the years. It didn’t come off my underwear quite so easily though, so some trace of it was left. Makes it even more uncomfortable to think that women go through far worse on a regular basis…
Back to the trips I made, Monday I woke up early and went back to that farmers’ market, picking up some more apricots and green onions, plus a cabbage from two guys that had taken up a spot right in the corner, on a row that only had someone else at the other end, and seemed to be pretending that one was about to purchase something from the other, possibly taking turns. They had a label with where the products were from, but I only saw four cabbages and a bunch of supposedly green onions that were mostly wilted which they were pulling out of a bag. But the cabbages didn’t look bad and they were the cheapest ones there, so I just grabbed one of them and I’ll see how good it actually is, as I’m actually yet to get to it, still having enough from another to use tonight as well.
But that wasn’t all of it, since I wanted to get a few more things in a certain way, so while I didn’t go back out Monday, I did go Tuesday, wandering around, grabbing just a few things despite checking multiple places again. Actually, first grabbed a few things and checked multiple places, then got back, went back out to run, got back again, went back out to check out an announced protest against the person named as the new Prime Minister, and on the way back from there I took a detour to check some more places again and grab just one little discounted item. But, while at it, I found that, at least if you look in enough places and just want something to use right away, you can find quite a number of things pretty heavily discounted because they’re about to expire, so that’s something to keep in mind more.
Either way, was ready to wander around Wednesday as well, since there was still something to get in certain specific conditions, but I eventually found what I was looking for that time, so I could make just one trip, though I did check two other places on the way, just in case. Also, on top of what I actually went out to get, I bought a watermelon, the first one this year and also the first one I ever bought myself. They were huge and I got the smallest one, not counting those that looked different and were damaged, and even so I was close to the limit of what I wanted to allow myself to spend, but it’s good enough, and it is nice to have watermelon these days, considering the heat wave.
I already mentioned that this week’s run was Tuesday, and the time was 49:30, with sector times of 4:37, 5:11, 5:57, 4:33, 5:14, 5:58, 4:37, 5:18, 6:15 and 1:50, making for lap times of 15:45, 15:45 and 16:10. Was thinking I may end up skipping this week, seeing as I was going to wander around during the first part of the week and then I didn’t care for an evening run during the heat wave, but I found that time Tuesday and it actually went better than expected, considering the fact that I had just walked a fair distance. Pushed as hard as I could, probably even a bit harder than I would have normally dared to on that final sector, yet the time was definitely no record, so I really was at the limit.
In spite of that, I then just changed again and, as I stated above, went back out, walking to University Square, albeit for no real reason. Those who asked people to come to the protest were expecting only a few to show up, but I have to say even I was negatively surprised when I just noticed two people there when I first arrived, at 7:15 PM, so 15 minutes after the announced start time. There were about 20 more nearby, in the spot where they’re gathering signatures for a doomed and, in my view, completely pointless attempt to organize a referendum to remove the mayor of Bucharest from office, and some of those may have agreed with this protest as well and a few did briefly mix after they gathered their things, after 8 PM, but that still doesn’t mean much.
So I wandered away, returned, wandered away again, returned again, and eventually just sort of stayed in the area, around the small group that had formed but not chatting away, like the others did, or even really staying inside it. Until I left, a little after 8:30 PM, I had counted some 30 people, but don’t think there were more than 25 at any one time, as some had already left before others arrived. And with no shouting or chanting and only a single pretty small sign, not even the gendarmes seemed to care to bother, two of them walking past, returning, seeming to briefly communicate with someone, and then apparently being told to just leave us be, which was what they did.