Wednesday, October 3, 2012


Elder Wahlquist and I are car people.  I got my drivers license when I was 16 and never looked back.  Brent got his license at 14 and was driving a tractor from the time his feet could reach the pedals.  We have always lived in the suburbs where a car is essential.  So when we got to Bucuresti, for the first time in over 50 years we found ourselves carless.  It took a major attitude adjustment.

The first thing we did was have a kind YSA (thank you, Elena!) help us buy a renewable monthly pass that allowed us to ride on any bus or tram in the city.  We could catch the bus just outside our apartment and take it to most places we needed to go.  They were usually crowded and the air could get a little ripe down where I was, but Elder Wahlquist was above it all.  Sometimes it was a challenge to get all our grocery bags and carts inside the bus door so it could close.
We had a two block walk to the nearest tram stop but it took us places the bus didn't.
When we got to Arad, we found the trams to be much older but a lot more decorated.
For longer trips in Bucuresti, we often rode the bus to a metro stop and took the metro.  It was fast and air conditioned. 
Sometimes we had to take "the beast" which is the oldest set of cars in the metro system.  It is noisy and not air conditioned so it was cold in the winter and hot in the summer.
It took us awhile to discover that taking the taxi was a great deal.  They were so inexpensive to use we didn't know how the drivers paid for the gas (about $8 a gallon).  There was always this gathering of taxis outside our apartment building so they were easy to catch.
And then there are the maxi taxis.  We never quite figured them out.  They are usually unmarked white vans that you catch somewhere unknown to us and they let you off, hopefully, where you want to get off.  The pick-up points never seem to be marked.  The only time I rode in one I was with a YSA who knew her way around.  There are horror stories among the missionaries of having to ride standing up in one for several hours on winding country roads.  No thank you!
Many people here use the train.  Almost all missionary transfers are done by train and usually the overnight train.  Our only experience in riding the train was a few trips to a neighboring city that took only about 45 minutes.  The train compartments we were in reminded us of the Harry Potter train.
Occasionally  we borrowed "Big Blue" the mission van for large shopping trips.
And then we moved to Arad and were blessed with the use of a mission car.
The traffic can be a little tricky and Romanians aren't shy about using their horns, but we have been grateful for the car. It has been very useful as we have traveled to different branches around the country.
And except for the occasional traffic jam it has worked out great.



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