Wednesday, September 21, 2011

greetings from romania (m)

Just as I was getting my rhythm back on Weight Watchers, I have to head out to Romania with Harrison for a major competition.

We leave Boston at 3 on Monday to catch the flight to Frankfurt, Germany at 5:20.  I under eat breakfast and lunch knowing the food on the plane will not be the healthiest.  We are flying business class where they ply you with food and drink.

By 8 p.m., we are starving.  There was some turbulence leaving Boston which delayed the in-flight meal service.  I have a glass of wine to help me sleep after dinner.  I also have the smoked almonds.  For dinner, we both get the chicken with orange sauce.  I can't begin to calculate the points.  Is the chicken the size of a deck of cards?  How was it prepared?  In oil?  What's in the sauce?  I give it 6 points and have the roll, too, since I don't know when we'll eat again.

The flight takes just over 6 hours.  We get to Frankurt at 3:30 a.m. their time, and walk forever to get to the Lufthansa lounge.  We are exhausted.  The lounge looks so inviting...nice leather chairs and a bar area with all sorts of beverages--coffee, teas, a big machine to make exotic drinks, juices, etc.  A man comes over with a tray of strawberry and banana smoothies (about 6 ounces).  I have one.  It's phenomenal.

We have a 5 hour layover.  I don't even know what day it is by this point.  At about the third hour, I have a sandwich made of a pretzel-type bread and a little cheese.

I go to my tracking book and try to make sense of the day so far.   Breakfast and lunch in Boston.  Okay.  Dinner on the plane.  Oops ...forgot the petite breakfast on the plane.  So is that breakfast for Tuesday?  Is the snack in the Lufthansa lounge my lunch for Tuesday?  I'm so confused.

We get on the plane for Bucharest.  They serve a meal.  I know I shouldn't but my stomach is growling.  Harrison has the discipline to pass it up.  The meal comes and I ask what it is.  Goulash says the attendant.  What the hell is in goulash?  By now, I'm too tired to think anything, let alone calculate points for goulash.  I just have the fruit and a piece of cheese.  When will we be eating again?  I have no clue.

Get into Bucharest and meet our team leader.  She is trying to figure out when the bus will leave.  She tells us 45 minutes and advises us to go to the bathroom and get coffee.  I go to get some money from the exchange place.  They don't do euros in Romania.  For $100 US, I get 280 whatevers of Romanian currency.  Sounds good until I find the bottle of water costs 9 whatever.

While waiting, I see a sign for my old company.  They are hosting a President's Cup challenge.  I go up and introduce myself as a former President of their company  (not my original company, but the company who took over my beloved company).  Get a chilly reception from the little witch behind the desk.  I wish them well, regardless.

Our coach is pressing the bus tour people to leave.  It's been 90 minutes instead of 45, but they have to wait for a flight of Italians and French people whose flight has been delayed.  We argue to let us on the bus so we can at least get settled.  We succeed.

We leave an hour later and embark on a 3-hour bus ride.  I'm hungry and brought no food with me on the bus.  My Weight Watchers bars are stored in my suitcase underneath the bus in the luggage compartment.  I feel like one of those people who survive a crash only to find out there's no food and have to face the unpleasant reality that cannibalism is the only way out.

I look around the bus and think, "Who would I eat here?".  Most of the Europeans are smokers so I decide I'd rather starve than have nicotine in my system.

The bus ride feels much longer than 3 hours.  Someone from France has brought her baby...a 4 month old this event.  The baby cries and cries for hours.  We nickname it Rosemary's Baby.

By 7 p.m., we get to our hotel.  I am in Room 404.  Harrison and a teammate are in 5-something.   I lug my luggage (so that's why it's called luggage) up the stairs and to the elevator.  Get off the elevator and walk to Room 404.  The key doesn't work.  The key doesn't work and I have to pee.  Do I dare leave my luggage, go down to the front desk and come back or do I bring it with me?  The thought of losing my luggage and having to shop for clothes in Romania is appalling.  Would they even have my size here?  Also, the women I saw on the street on the way in looked like Madame Kruschev.  I'm not shopping here, so I lug the stuff downstairs.

My room is in another building on the premises. "Oh THAT 404," I say facetiously.  A porter comes to my aide.  Just as we are opening the door to my room, he turns to me and says, "Your roommate already is here".

Whoa.  What???  " roommate," I say.

"Yes," he says.  "She is from Russia."

Could this day get any worse?

I go into the suite and Ivanka has already staked out the best room and covered the living room with her stuff.

I creep into my little room and sit on the bed.  Six days.

The coach calls and tells me it's time for dinner.

I haven't been to bed since Sunday night and this will be my 6th meal since dinner in Boston on Sunday.

Ironically, I have no appetite.

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