There’s this wind this morning and I smell rain in the atmosphere too.
I woke up at 7 o’clock in the morning just to try and get the drone up in the air. I swore myself that today I’d capture that mist rising over the village in the morning Sun. There’s no mist today though… only that wind, keeping my drone grounded and that constant feeling that it’s gonna rain.
-It’s gonna rain! I told my friend just loud enough in order to make sure I woke him up.
-Yeah? Well, we’re leaving anyway.
My roommate was still wrestling with sleep. That whiskey of last night didn’t help with the waking hour. From under the blanket, he opened one eye, checking me from heads to toe:
-Why the fuck are you all dressed up? We are going to leave at 12:00 most probably. Get the hell back to sleep.
I know, stupid me. Taking my odds with mother nature…
Hoping for that complete service…
But I couldn’t sleep anyway now, because that’s me. Insomniac with an appetite for sleeping…
There’s this “fashion” with the semi-luxurious accommodation around the Danube Delta. Because a part of the old houses of the inhabitants was painted blue, a pretty “angry” blue I might add, it became a tradition. Some sort of a “traditional” colour that goes well with the style of life here, the connection with the water and an overall authentic aspect. So now, as a connection with the past and the tradition, the new buildings, graded 4 stars at least, tend to take up this fashion of painting the wood in blue, getting a reed roof and throwing 2-3 old, wooden rotten boats on the lawn. Together with all the other 4 star services, that the majority of “traditional” accommodation around here don’t even care about offering, this should have a more “authentic and traditional approach”.
Together with the fucking high prices, that’s for sure.
But they don’t keep them smokes around for selling. I mean not even one damn pack of cigarettes, or maybe only one brand, I don’t know… Why the fuck wouldn’t you offer the whole full package of services if you decided to build an establishment that aims to offer a wide range of products inside a pretty remote zone?
So I went to the breakfast room, hoping that they’ll open it a little bit earlier for me and maybe I can find a partner that can either sell to me a cigarette to go great with their bad coffee or maybe lend it. Nope. They won’t open the damn breakfast earlier, even if you tell them that all you want is a bad coffee. No sign of anybody that could lend that cigarette. Just me and my “big luck“. The boat was my last refuge while waiting for the others to wake up. I have to kill time as I’m hungry and totally pissed off because of the lack of coffee and cigarettes, without taking in consideration that I woke up so early without any kind of result.
I love spending time on my boat. Alone time. I can totally cover it if rain and wind happen. In the back, close to the engine, I’ve got this small sofa that I can lay myself on (because I’m short and I fit perfectly) and I’ve spent many evenings in the Delta, rocked forth and back by the waves of the canal while seeping with thirst from a cigarette. I like contemplating about the silence and the dark over here. During clear nights, I can top off the boat and I can check out the billions of stars that unfold in front of my eyes in the total darkness that only a remote place can provide.
But now, the sky is totally full of clouds and rain started. It looks like it’s going to be a long rain. Small and scattered drops of rain that not necessarily gets you wet in 100 meters but it’s going to be a pain in the ass to walk on longer distances or even drive a boat if that boat can’t be covered. Mine is covered but the other boat that we have and is supposed to take us to the civilised world is not.
On the other side of the water, the place where the wilderness starts, a tractor is moving hay and a man on top of the hay is throwing it on the river bank. Probably that’s the way to get it dry. But outside it’s already raining and the dogs that accompany the tractor noticed that, taking shelter under the haul.
Finally, someone else from my group woke up and came looking for alive people around the boats. Another smoker.
-Tell me you’ve got a cigarette cous’!
-If I had you’d see me smoking my friend. I finished everything last night while we drank like pigs and never thought about today. Let’s go buy some, that’s why I woke up so early.
In search for a complete service…
We approached the villa, coming from the boat. On the balcony, there was this crazy waiter we got friends with these past days:
-Hey man, point us to the closest store to buy cigarettes from.
“Downtown” he said… that’s about 1.5 kilometres away, towards the centre of this small village, where the public water transport station is. So, we started walking. Through the rain, between the houses and the Danube, looking forward to buying that pack of cigarettes that will put us out of our misery.
-I know where this store should be! I told my companion.
-Is it far?
-It’s not close either.
The world and the small society here functions based on different other rules than the normal, connected society. It’s weird when you think about it. You can only come here by boat. Escaping from here is the same, you have to use the water. There are no land connections to civilisation and urgent things can be treated as urgent only if you have a speedboat. Time passes by differently here.
During the past years, these small fishing villages have seen an increase in tourist investments and also an increase in population. But that is only season based and it can’t compensate for the loss of population that happened after 1990 as fish became scarce and the price dropped and for the young people here the only solution for a better life was to leave the place either for the bigger cities in Romania or even worse, for going overseas. The fact that the population now may increase due to tourism is not compensating for the fact that the ones that are investing here are not necessarily the ones that left but rather these are people that fell in love with the Delta of the Danube and decided to put their money where their love is.
On the road to the store, we encountered old people, in their loneliness, killing time by walking to the house up to the street, hanging on a little bit there, watching sadly in the distance as if they are trying to see if those that are coming are their long gone sons… then, going back inside, walking slowly with their canes back to the small houses, tending for the small souls (dogs, cats, poultry) in order to have an occupation. When there’s this kind of weather, the loneliness feeling that I, as a guest, am able to feel, is even deeper and sadder.
After almost 30 minutes of walking, we reached what is supposed to be “the centre of the village”. There, in some old communist building that was implemented here in the past with the idea to civilise and provide the area, a small store with 3 tables and an umbrella outside was waiting for us to come and pick up those cigarettes. 3 drunkards were there, talking loudly, drinking vodka and either leaning on their bicycles or the bicycles were leaning onto them… couldn’t really tell.
We tried the door… locked!
-They just closed! It’s Sunday.
One of the drunkards gave us the terrible news… on Sundays, they only have it open until 9 o’clock. WTF?! Better not open it at all I assume. A spark inside my head told me that the damn waiter with whom we befriended but also fought in the last days for the high prices they had in the villa, must have sent us on the wrong way. He surely knew that this is going to be closed once we reach it. Now, with jackets pretty wet, cold and tired we find out there’s no pack of cigarettes in sight for another 4-5 hours. Hooray!
-You could go further another 2 kilometres or something like that. Vasile always keeps his store open.
The good drunkard tried to find a solution for us.
-Fuck it! I said. I’m not going another 2 kilometres, based on the words of another untrusty man, just to return empty hands. I’m hungry and angry. I’ll drink a plain coffee and that’s it until we hit Tulcea City.
After another one and a half kilometre back, we discovered the rest of our people having breakfast on the balcony. The thick smoke of cigarettes burning could be seen from the road.
-Where da’ fuck do you guys still have smokes?!
-Ah, Răzvan had another 10 packs stashed in his luggage. He’s a thoughtful guy you know?!
That has to be one of Murphy’s Law I guess.