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Air and Forests Marches, Recycling Kits and Vegetables for Plastic Bottles

Last Saturday I woke up at 9 AM, when the alarm rang, and was out the door at 10:15 AM, having the metro card but walking to the National Library. My back started hurting as I rushed to cross a street, but I was careful after that and it got better, so I got there at 10:55 AM and it wasn’t a problem during the march. Did again take a vest, and also a mask, and eventually also a sign, though I left that rather late and there were none with the text I had wanted to have left by the time I did. Still, it was a good thing I at least took one when I did, because I was quite surprised when the march started at 11:35 AM, when I’d have expected to only get going at noon and the organizers seemed to think the same at first, and then I was right next to them when they had settled on 11:45 AM as a compromise, in a discussion with the gendarmes, who seemed to want to rush things for some reason. But that bossy woman, who had wanted to rush things as soon as she arrived, got things moving sooner and most just followed, leaving the rest with little choice but to do the same. And at least we were visible due to the gear, even if the march was again almost completely silent, to the point that I found myself wanting to lead some shouts, though of course I couldn’t get myself to actually do it. So I just walked with the rest, we reached the Ministry at 12:15 PM and it wasn’t even 12:30 PM when the call was made to end things, and those taking pictures were specifically asked to either not post those with children at all or blur their faces, so I hope I didn’t leave any unblurred in what I posted.
Left there at 12:35 PM and walked to Unirii, searching again on the way for that store I had failed to find Wednesday, since I had taken those used batteries with me again, but it’s apparently not there anymore, some other supermarket being in the spot where I thought it should have been and not finding it elsewhere in that area even if I circled it, having a look on some streets behind the buildings as well. My bladder was screaming loudly enough by the time I was leaving that area that I considered just stopping in one of those alleys, but managed to make it to the toilet in Unirea Shopping Center, then went to that Carrefour and got a few things, including another yogurt, expiring later, still at that low price. Finally used the metro card after that, but got off at Romana, deciding to finally get around to checking out a pastry place I had been meaning to get something from for several months and doing so. Then I got back, being here around 2:40 PM, maybe 2:45 PM, feeling increasingly tired and weak. The nap I took in the evening didn’t help much, but at least I finished Elantris, so I could pretty much also write the quick review that night and then look over it again and post it before leaving the next day.

Said next day I actually did use the metro card to get there as well, leaving at 5:15 PM and being at University Square at 5:45 PM. That meant I was there when the organizers were talking to the gendarmes about the march and saw that even they didn’t expect anything like the numbers that ended up participating, saying that they had listed 1000 participants in the protocol and weren’t even sure of that and attempting to negotiate for the march to at least be allowed on the street where the sidewalk will be particularly narrow or blocked, not all the way. Other than that, I mostly did what I usually do, rather hiding behind the camera and wandering around to take pictures, actually learning to make some better use of the new one when it’s dark while doing so. Can’t in any way compensate for the lack of the manual mode, but it worked well enough most of the time, only a few shots ending up unusable.
Did do something unusual around 6:45 PM, since the speeches had been going on for a few minutes in front of the fountain but those who were behind the fountain had also decided to start shouting and chanting around that same time, which resulted in quite a mess. Others were commenting, wondering whether there were different organizers, but I decided to actually do something about it, making my way there, finding the girl with the loudspeaker and telling her that she was breaking things up, since speeches had started, and then managing to also say that it sort of does when she replied that it didn’t carry all the way to the front, which actually seems to have led to her stopping, even if I rushed away as soon as those last words left my mouth, this having already been just about too much.
Got back to hiding behind the camera after that, and when the march started, obviously on the street, the numbers making the gendarmes allow it without problems, I climbed on that little wall around the entrance to the metro station and kept taking pictures of signs until the end of the crowd was near, after which I rushed forward, catching up, looking for more good opportunities for more shots along the way and then staying just behind those holding the large banners at the head of the march and joining in the shouting and chanting until the Ministry was reached, at exactly 8 PM. Took a few more pictures there as well, before sort of following those who kept going for a little while, turning around when they seemed to be getting too far, then sort of turning around again to weakly shout after them to return when one of the organizers started calling them back through the loudspeaker. Got back in front of the Ministry when I saw that they had stopped, first taking some more pictures and eventually finding myself a spot in that group gathered around the speakers, before stepping back into the crowd, though still at the front of it, when someone asked those who had gathered there to do so.
After the call to end the event came, at 8:40 PM, I really wanted to help gather the banners, but ended up just sort of hovering around those doing it, not managing to get myself to actually lend a hand until the end, when most others had cleared the area and I saw a girl starting to roll up one of the larger ones on her own. After that, since some were sticking around to shout and chant a while longer, I joined them for a few more minutes, walking away at 8:50 PM… And finding a metro card with one trip left as I did so. It was just there, on the street, and I actually checked it when I got to the metro station, making sure that it wasn’t a case of that last use not being printed on it. Was back at 9:30 PM.

Tuesday I wanted to write the post about the protests, but I was talking to my mother in the kitchen after waking up, since she’s here this week, and when I mentioned Auchan’s rewards for used cooking oil and that I thought we had just gathered enough for something useful, she said that dad had just taken it away, supposedly for the building’s cleaning lady to pick up. It’s possible, even likely, that she disposes of it properly, possibly taking it to such a place herself, but that’s uncertain and, either way, the point was first that I wanted to see how that worked myself, and then that I keep trying to get them to take responsibility for what they throw away, not keep seeing it as trash to get rid of, for someone else to handle. So I even stopped making tea and put what I had taken to eat back, too furious to stay there anymore, only getting back for cereals and yogurt, and grapes, after they left to take Micky to have some tests done.
Dad brought the oil back when he got back, since it hadn’t been taken away yet, but by then I had seen an e-mail asking people again to come help put together more of those recycling kits, the number of volunteers having dropped sharply, and since I thought I had their “sins” to make up for, I had decided to go again after all, despite having said that I won’t do so after last time. Had since then also received a reply to that e-mail sent then, which made it seem that things were good, at least from Olga’s point of view, and she had already invited me to keep coming, including when I’ll be able to just be there on my own, and they had also changed the way things are done, anyone being able to come like that, whenever they wanted, listing themselves in a document. So I saw that nobody was scheduled between 5 PM and 7 PM and just one person from 7 PM, listed myself as being there between 5 PM and 8 PM and left at 3:35 PM, taking the paper out as well.
Didn’t have the metro card and also went to that pharmacy first, for toothpaste, and after that I ended up going the wrong way… And finding another metro card. Spotted it on the sidewalk, sticking out from underneath a discarded campaign “newspaper”, and saw eight trips left when I looked on it, but when I actually checked it at a metro station it said that just two were left, so a lot of uses hadn’t been printed, but it’s still something. The delay did make me think I’ll be a little late, but ended up on that street at exactly 5 PM and going through the door a couple of minutes later… And finding a group of people gathered right there, those who had volunteered to help earlier just leaving and the NGOs members apparently getting ready to have a meeting, which they confirmed was indeed the case when I asked.
That meant I was left to work completely on my own, which they apologized for several times but which was great from my point of view. And I also only had to fold and stack those sheets of paper and the stickers, plus a slip with the necessary information for those wanting to donate, since apparently five people had come earlier, after seeing the e-mail, even though only two had listed themselves in the file, and they filled all the envelopes, so more kits couldn’t actually be completed, but they could be prepared, so they’ll just have to put one of these prepared stacks and the bags in when they’ll get more envelopes, and piles of such stacks had already been made. So I just added to those piles, working until 7:15 PM. Had at first been told that the meeting would only last for about one hour and they’ll leave after that, being tired after putting in long hours the week before, but it lasted for two and I made full use of that time. Took it very slowly on the way back though, only being back here at 8:45 PM, and didn’t drink anything that day, since I didn’t care to make tea after that point.

This week’s run was Thursday. Ate the usual stuff, dressed the usual way, making a note of the fact that I’m still running in my t-shirt in November and will do so next week as well, the highs remaining around 20°C, and went out at 3:35 PM. The conditions were good, there was little wind and even the people were less of a problem, still requiring weaving and going the long way around in some places but less so than during past weeks. Nevertheless, 47:46.21 is my worst time in quite a while, and even that required pushing. Sector times were 4:26.88, 5:00.06, 5:50 (5:49.65), 4:27 (4:26.81), 5:08.27, 5:50 (5.49.43), 4:28.83, 5:03 (5:02.43), 5:47 (5:46.77) and 1:47.08, making for lap times of 15:16.59, 15:25 (15:24.51) and 15:18.03. Had to manage my back a bit at first, but it was fine after that. Due to the back issue, the first sector’s time didn’t worry me that much, but sector two of lap two did and at that point I was concerned about even staying under 48 minutes, so I really pushed from sector three of lap two and it worked out in the end. This is the third run in a row that’s slower than the previous one though, and unless the trend reverses there’s not much room left under 48 minutes…

Went back out after the run, leaving at 5:15 PM and taking the stuff I drop off at Kaufland too, since that’s where I mainly meant to go, seeing that one of the day’s discounts was for onions and we needed more. But I first left that stuff in a cabinet without a key and checked that Carrefour too, and found a carton of free range eggs and a better yogurt in that place with things that expire soon, and got one more large cup of that regular yogurt too, since it was still at that low price and expired even later. That meant I couldn’t get the tofu I had meant to get from Kaufland anymore, and couldn’t find the exact kind of another thing which should have been discounted these days, but did get onions and a few more cheap things… And then ended up asking for help at the self-checkout, first because it seemed to not accept the onions, telling me that the product had been removed and to place it again on the scales even though it was there, and picking it up and putting it down again didn’t change anything, but then the next problem presented itself after the employee came to override that message, since the onions scanned at the full price. The employee quickly scanned the other things as well and showed me that the discount was applied before the total was made, but that definitely doesn’t seem right. I mean, how’s the customer supposed to know that, and to check that it is correctly applied before needing to pay? But at least it was sorted out and, after getting this month’s issue of National Geographic too, having forgotten to also look for that in Kaufland, I walked back slowly, getting to the building at 7:30 PM.

Friday morning I ended up waking up just before 9:30 AM, when my phone rang and I ended up listening to a recorded message from USR’s candidate for the presidential elections asking supporters to try to get five more people to vote, specifying that I had allowed my number to be in their database, which is indeed the case, I believe after filling a survey at one point. But then I made good use of that, since that was the first day when Carrefour’s campaign rewarding those who bring plastic bottles with local fruits and vegetables, at the outstanding rate of one fruit or vegetable per bottle, reached their location next to the park, and I obviously meant to go relatively early, thinking that the better stuff will vanish quickly.
Had checked what I could the night before and also asked them for details, after seeing that they had replied to someone else a week earlier to say that they’ll post the complete terms before the campaign will start but hadn’t, and checked their reply before leaving. So I confirmed what someone else had said earlier, that the maximum is 20 bottles per person per day, also learned that another limit is four pieces of any one product, and saw a picture of what was available, managing to identify most of the vegetables and to see that the only other thing were apples. Also learned what kind of bottles they accept, so I knew to leave some aside, then selected the 20 to take, starting with all the smaller ones that they were going to accept, also took the plastic to drop off and left a bit after 11:30 AM, getting back pretty much exactly one hour later.
There was a young girl there who had to do everything herself, actually count the bottles people were putting in, and I guess also glance at them to determine whether they were acceptable or not, help people take the products chosen, ensure that they stick to the limit, write things down by hand, put everything in the paper bag they were providing, staple it closed, and somehow also answer the questions others were asking during this time. And she still paid more attention than I did to what I was getting, spotting that one of the ears of corn I picked was rotten, with slime dripping from it, and replacing it with another. Admittedly, I sort of went with the idea that you don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, considering how rewarding this campaign is, and just grabbed some of the things and let her help with the rest, and ended up with a Bianca pepper that didn’t look too good and another ear of corn with the tip quite eaten through by something, but the other stuff’s really good, and I should have noticed something as rotten as that corn right away myself. But I ended up with four ears of corn, four Kapia peppers, weighing 530 grams, four bundles of green onions, four kohlrabies, with leaves, three Bianca peppers, weighing 280 grams, and one lettuce.
Didn’t check the prices of those things at that moment, though I did go in the store after that, buying one thing that was on sale, but based on what I know the total is well over 20 RON, likely around or even a bit over 30 RON, if the corn is as expensive in the store as it says on the site, so over 1 RON and maybe even over 1.5 RON per plastic bottle, instead of the 0.02 RON offered by those machines! Of course, it is a very limited campaign, and the better things may be gone quickly, and it’s possible that one of the vegetables was already gone by the time I got there, but I do have quite a number of bottles left and mean to go again next week, multiple times, likely with less bottles at once, looking for more corn first, if it’ll still be available, since I think I only bought corn to boil once this year. Kapia peppers are the second priority, and then I’ll see.

As for this period’s timed squats, those were 2:21 on November 2, 2:17 on November 3, 2:21 on November 4, 2:23 on November 5, 2:21 on November 6, 2:25 on November 7 and 2:22 today. And since I’m at odds and ends, there’s just one more thing to add and it happened before eating Wednesday night, though probably after midnight, so already Thursday. Either way, I spotted something on the wall behind me and killed it with my slipper, trying to wipe what it left on the wall a little but not thinking much of it until I turned on the light when I got back from the kitchen and saw that what was left was a significant amount of blood. No idea what it had been, but it had obviously been full of blood, and since it was in my room, I’m going to assume that it was mine, so I was left wondering about that and whether there will be any consequences of the bite. Didn’t manage to find any bite mark though…


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