The idea of sitting around feeling sorry for myself was not an option. I called Laura and we made plans to meet in the lobby of the Merriot Hotel (a block from my apartment) at 10pm.
I left early and did some wandering. The Merriot is a ritzy place filled with shops like Versace and other high end luxury boutiques. There was a lot of marble, high ceilings and spiral staircases around. I was standing there in the middle of it all, with only the clothes on my back, and my day pack on my shoulder. Not another worldly possession within 1,700 kilometres. It was a pretty naked feeling — a really funny, pretty naked feeling.
There was nothing to do but pretend to be rich, so I reclined into one of their many plush couches, pulled out my Dracula book, put my feet up, and read until Laura arrived. Soon after, we found ourselves sitting in ‘The Actor’s Cafe’ in the National Theatre, having a meal and drinking Tuborgs. Our loaded pizza had corn on it with ketchup on the side. If Americans can have spray canned cheese, I guess Romanians can indulge their weird ideas about pizza.
It was really great to see Laura again. We talked for a couple of hours then parted ways. It’s like there was no time passing between visits. It’s the same with Bucharest. This city feels like an old friend. Friends take care of each other in times of need.
I awoke this morning to a dead cell phone and a quarter charge on my laptop. I thought maybe I could use SKYPE to talk to the baggage people at the airport, but I’d needed to make sure my computer would have enough life to make it through the call. I remembered that Casablanca, a cafe near Piata Romana, had non-european electrical outlets. Maybe they’d have a plug-in that could charge my laptop.
I hopped on bus 385 and rode it for about 10 minutes. It was jam packed with humanity. At every stop a few people would trickle in, and a few more would trickle out, but at Izvor, a whole crowd got off. I figured that meant a metro station was nearby, and I was right! I rode the metro to Piata Romana and soon found myself in Casablanca, fumbling with an electrical outlet.
There was a group of students studying at a nearby table. I explained my situation and they really went out of their way to help me. One even offered to pull the SIM card out of her cell phone so I could use it with my number. Instead I just borrowed her phone and called the baggage people. No answer. Tried again. No answer. Tried again. No answer.
I resolved to eat some breakfast and try later. The students left to study with a larger group in another room. Then, about 10 minutes later, the girl who lent me her phone charged back into the room. She kept trying the number I dialed until she got through. She needed my file number and spoke to the Romanian baggage agent on my behalf. My camera had arrived!
I was beyond grateful and she didn’t want anything for her efforts. She wouldn’t even let me buy her a coffee. She just did it out of the kindness of her heart. It has been my experience that most Romanians will give you the shirt off their backs for someone in need… another reason why I really love this city.