bran castle

So after 5 days of hardcore drilling, scraping and reconstruction the dentist mercifully decided it was time to get away from the office for a bit and have a little fun. He and some other dentists in Romania communicate regularly on an internet forum and every so often they meet up for a weekend at a resort near Draculas castle. It just so happened that my second weekend in Romanian coincided with their latest trip. I felt a little uneasy about going to a holiday camp with 40 people that not only were strangers to me and who probably didn’t speak English but were also dentists. “Don’t worry,” said Dr Savu “Dorin is coming.”

Dorin the x-ray guy had become a regular fixture during my week in Pitesti as he tended to be the driver when we needed to go anywhere and he and I had gotten closer as the week went on. On arriving at the Vila Bran resort we were about to get a lot closer. “Here’s your room,” said the hotel representative to Dorin and I. We looked at around at the orange 70’s decor and everything looked quite adequate except for the fact that the two “single” beds were side by side and actually about one millimetre apart with a shared blanket ! Dorin looked uncannily like Dracula now I just had to hope he didn’t bite.

The Vila Bran resort is a great location to visit as you can play pool, tennis, go hang gliding etc etc. The meals are all catered in the restaurant in the resort and every night there is a party with free wine and vodka. It is on a mountain opposite the one where Draculas castle is. We had dinner at a long table of 40 Romanian dentists. After dinner the waiters ushered us outside where there was a bonfire burning and some locals were playing the guitar and singing. Directly behind the bonfire was a spectacular view of Draculas castle. Anyway after that we went to the party and I met some Romanian dentists. We talked about politics and football in a mixture of English, French, Italian, Russian, Romanian, German and basically any other language that had necessary words when we reached a conversational stalemate.

The second night after dinner some traditional Romanian folk dancers came into the restaurant and did a little gig. Unfortunately they decided they had to have audience participation and due to being sat at the end of the table nearest to them I was pulled out of the crowd and made to dance. The Romanian dance was something akin to Riverdance. I was wearing my chunky trainers so I wasn’t exactly dressed for it and aside from that I had no clue what to do. Humiliated by my experience I knew that I would have to salvage some pride for England and my opportunity came a little later at the party. After several rounds of Romanian folk dancing one of my new found friends Ilian (pronounced Eileen as in “Come on Eileen”) decided the demonstrate some “Cos-sacking” or Russian dancing. You know the kind ? Bent knees and kicking forward or kicking your leg behind you back and touching your toes with your hands ? The problem was that Eileen was completely crap at Russian dancing. At this point with memories of “Fiddler on the Roof” in mind I decided to make my move. I ushered the Romanian out of the way and gave a demonstration of true Russian dancing. Apparently I am pretty good at this and everybody formed a circle and clapped whilst singing “di,di, di,di,di,di,di” The song went on and on and on but I felt compelled to continue until finally I was about to die from exhaustion and the song finally finished. I immediately bolted for the door and went outside to catch my breathe after 15 minutes of relentless high kicks with arms folded.

All these people kept coming out asking me to come back in but I was bloody knackered although I concealed my exhaustion from them as they all praised my “incredible stamina.” Anyway I sat down and decided that I would keep a low profile for the rest of the night when suddenly I heard a familiar rift. The opening notes of the BeeGees “Saturday night fever” My foot started to tap and next thing I knew some kind of disco fever had overcome me and I burst back onto the dance area one hand on hip the other hand with one finger raised in the air in classic John Travolta style. The crowd were joyous. Thereafter the karaoke began and given that I was the best English speaker and all the songs were in English I was asked to sing Aha “Take on Me” Everybody was impressed that I could hit the high notes so they set me a new challenge Bon Jovi’s “It’s my Life” followed by Guns N Roses “Sweet child of mine” and Gloria Gaynors “I will survive.” When these people want you to dance or sing you have to really work for it.

The night ended with an encore of Russian dancing. They made me do it all again except this time they formed a high kicking circle around me. It was at this moment in time that I glanced around at 40 drunk Romanian dentists and thought to mysef “How the bloody hell did I end up here ?” I have never even met 40 dentists before let alone lead a dance class for 40 Romanian ones in the shadow of Draculas castle.

Up to this point I had been a bit isolated as Romanians aren’t all that social. If you know them they are friendly but they don’t reach out to strangers unless you have an ice breaker. This was the king of ice breakers. The cool thing is that I got about 20 business cards from dentists afterwards several of whom offered to undercut my current dentist by 50% if I need any more work done and I think we have every city from Timosara to Constanta covered if my family and I ever want to take a trip to Romania and stay with someone for free.

The dental work was my reason for coming to Romania but I have a cunning plan that will more than offset the future cost of any dental treatment. I am going to cash in on my new found talents and release the worlds first “Traditional Russian military Dancing Fitness Video : For Beginners” I am going to ride this gravy train all the way back to Brasov.