Travel 2008 – Bucharest, Day 4

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Sunday, 31st August 2008 – Bucharest, Day 4

Sunday was hotter than ever with high humidity. There was a rumour that the air temperature hit 42ºC in the afternoon. Certainly no one seemed inclined to move much, skulking in air conditioned trucks or hanging out on the sofas at the Tango. Carlin had reportedly ordered in 200 litres of bottled water having already run through 800 by then. However you looked at it, it was hot. Towels were much in evidence as were shorts, some of them surely unfit for human viewing, including the hideously check pattered ones Kristjan was wearing. Now he was unable to take part in the race – his knee and his budget had sustained a fair amount of damage – he was looking for something to do and settled on the fact that his grid girl was now unemployed and it was all his fault so he’d have to make it up to her. He was hatching plans over lunch, along with talking nonsense about so much else. Needless to say lunch with the Icelanders was a riot and many things were said that can’t possibly be repeated here. A deal of good sense was talked too, and he proved that he’s got a sound head on his shoulders where this sport is concerned.

After that, the race was odd and a bit rough – especially if you happened to be Sergio Perez, who was unfairly nerfed off by Max Chilton, and then taken out completely by Ricardo Teixeira (who yet again failed to score a point and thus remaining pointless in many senses of the word, no matter how fond we are of him – the really galling part being that this time it was through no fault of his own). Additionally, the Carlin boys had a falling out too, with handbags at dawn looking the likely outcome, and Brendon Hartley in particular being decidedly unhappy with events and muttering imprecations about Oliver Turvey.

So much for Carlin’s 150th win… They were planning on celebrating later and had found a nightclub to take over, but we declined the party invitation – after all, last year’s apparently ended in a brawl, so with Brendon and Oliver not talking to each other and Sergio announcing that Max is a spoilt rich kid, and Justin Wilson and Jay Bridger not exactly the best of friends either it seemed better to keep a safe distance even if they didn’t all end up in the same place at the same time. If there’s a party at Donington we’ll probably go, and we definitely will at Macau, but this time we just didn’t want to get involved.

That evening we went for dinner at a Romanian restaurant recommended by the hotel receptionist. It looked close on the map but what we didn’t realise was that the Calea Mosilor is a much longer street than at first seemed to be the case. We finally got there 30 minutes late after a 40 minute walk through some very dodgy looking bits of town. However, no one – apart from one small and not very persistent gypsy child – bothered us at all, so I suspect it’s not that bad at all. The Restaurant Burebista turned out to be well worth our sweaty efforts to get there, putting on a splendid – and game-heavy – dinner for us and proving again that it is possible to get good service in Romania. I started with the chicken livers (which were supposed to be stuffed, at least if you believed the rather eccentric menu translation) but which actually turned out to be grilled on top of slices of apple. They were very good, if not quite what I was expecting.

That was followed by wild boar, with fried potatoes, and vast quantities of mushrooms.

The obligatory gypsy musicians were pretty good (though the heat seemed to have completely wrecked the tuning of the violin) though I would have preferred them to have played a little further from my ear.

That said we had a very good last dinner and then asked the restaurant to get us a cab back to the hotel. One 40 minute walk in that heat was enough. This time the cab driver attempted to live up to the standard of Romanian drivers, especially when we told him we were there for the racing. However, he failed to live up to the stereotype by not ripping us off. 8.45 RON (slightly under £2 – a little over €2 in other words) in total was hardly a rip off by anyone’s standards, I’d say. We told him to keep the change from the 10 RON and headed for our beds, only to get side-tracked again by most of CF Racing who were sitting outside the hotel with drinks. We sat and chatted to them for a while but eventually beat a retreat, boggling at the fact that they have sustained a total of £625 damage all season (and there are only two races left). That’s quite an achievement and it’s to be hoped they manage to maintain that record at Donington.

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