Places.

Day 30!!: 10 places you want to visit

1. London. I’ve always been attracted to and fascinated by England. Of course this is on my list. There’s so much culture, so much history. So much to see!

2. Paris. I feel like Paris is that cliche destination everyone says they want to go to, but I genuinely want to go there. Like, honestly, who wouldn’t? So much culture, so much to see. And damn it, so romantic. I want to be kissed by the Eiffel Tower. Did you know Romanian engineer Gheorghe Pănculescu’s invention of joining metal girders was what inspired Gustave Eiffel’s design for the Eiffel tower? The more you know.

3. Venice. I want to visit all of Italy. But honestly, Venice is another one of those cliche destinations and I want to partake in that. It just looks so damn gorgeous. Like, I want to be rowed around in one of those gondolas and be sung to in Italian.

4. Amsterdam (again). In 2009 I was in Amsterdam for about 24 hours because my aunt and I missed our flight from Frankfurt to Detroit due to my uncle dragging us to his terminal, convinced that we were all leaving from the same terminal. (HE WAS WRONG.) From the very little I experienced of Amsterdam (hotel, cab driver, airport) I found the people to be kind and well-educated. And from the little I saw of the place, it looked nice. Lots of lavender.

5. Budapest (again). Also in 2009, when we arrived in Europe, we had a flight from Frankfurt to Budapest and spent about a day there. I have quite fond memories of the whole ordeal. While Romanians and Hungarians don’t really like each other (and they sure don’t mind showing it – my aunt-in-law of course got a parking ticket for no reason [truly!] other than having a Romanian license plate) I had a great time there. Possibly because I wasn’t accustomed to speaking Romanian yet, and they thought I was American. I really enjoyed all the sites I saw, and the food was phenomenal. If I haven’t mentioned it before, I LITERALLY had the BEST CUCUMBER SALAD OF MY ENTIRE LIFE in Budapest. As well as one of the best salads too.

6. Dublin. Like London and England as a whole, I’ve also always had a fascination with Dublin and Ireland. It doesn’t help that one time, I watched a Steve Ricks episode where he went to Dublin and I fell in love. Giant fun colored doors!? Sold.

7. Egypt; The Pyramids at Giza. Another cliche? Probably. But they’re such  absolutely majestic sculptures. Seen from miles around, larger than life objects. They continue to mystify people around the world in all their grandeur. Did you know the word “pyramid” has no human language origin? Plus, there is no fucking way men built that shit with their bare hands. No fucking way.

8. Australia. Except for the whole GIANT SPIDERS AND SHIT, I find Australia to be a really interesting place. Backwards seasons? Toilets flushing the opposite way? Not to mention those gorgeous accents and surfers all over the place. In. Love.

9. South America. I don’t really have a particular destination of where I’d like to go down there cause I’d really like to see all kinds of places in South America. I want to see the Nazca Lines in Peru, Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. I want to see people dancing in the street in Argentina and I want to experience Venezuela. You know?

10. Romania. Having lived there, I miss the place. Despite my somewhat negative experience when I went back in 2009. (People are not okay with fatties over there, lemme tell you.) But I want to go to Romania to travel the whole place. I want to see Alba Iulia. I want to see the Carpathian mountains again and remember to take a picture this time instead of saving it in my head. I want to see the giant gates in Maramureș. I want to see the Casa Republicii, which is the world’s second largest administrative building after the Pentagon (and also a museum!). I want to visit Constanța on the Black Sea coast and I want to go to the Băile Herculane again and I want to see Dracula’s castle in person. Honestly, I’ve been thinking of doing a private tour of Romania instead of a graduation cruise next year.

Aerial view of my hometown, Resita.

More Olympic Thoughts.

Every 4 years when I watch the Summer Olympics, I always get in a hyper-fitness mood. I watch these people break world records and lull myself into thinking that I could totally be like, half as good as them. Of course, I know I can’t – which to the optimist’s point of view, is like setting yourself up for a negative self-fulfilling prophecy. But I’ve never been very athletic (unless you count my legit boss skillz in handball and gold-medal excellence in grunting during tennis) and getting my body into Olympic shape would take A LONG ASS TIME. Although, I would love to be that fit.

I was watching swimming and gymnastics earlier and I thought to myself, man, sometimes I wish I had swimmer’s arms. But then I thought no, I’d look far too top-heavy. However, I would love to have a gymnast’s butt. They have the most spectacular butts. If you’re watching the Olympics this year, please tune into the gymnastics and stare at everyone’s butts. They’re fabulous.

Also, team USA really got their asses whooped by France in that 4×100 mens freestyle relay tonight. They were so close, but France forged ahead those last 10 meters. Touché. ALSO, why did Michael Phelps even participate in the individual 400 IM? He didn’t train for it, so what was the point? 4th place was embarrassing to watch. 

At least Ryan Lochte’s doing quite well this year. Seems like he’s the one to watch – competitively and eye-candily. Although I was reminded of the stunning Matt Grevers and his 6’8″ frame tonight during the 100m Backstroke and was hurtled back to 4 years ago when the Grevers-Lochte-Phelps trio was my swimming crush. *sigh*

Matt Grevers is a beast.

Lastly, I’m a little sad to find out that Ian Thorpe is not competing this year. Although I don’t think he competed in Beijing either. He’s getting old anyway, but he is such a babe. I remember watching The Thorpedo in Athens and Sydney. Bloody brilliant. They don’t call him The Thorpedo for nothing. ETA: He failed to qualify for the O

Ian Thorpe

Olympic Thoughts

I was browsing my Facebook feed when I saw that swimmer Dara Torres had written an article for USA Today, talking about how weird it is to be at the Olympics and not be competing. Previous to that, I had seen a photo of her at the Olympic Village in London talking to the press and I thought to myself “WOW she’s competing again this year? That’s fucking awesome.” Clearly I was disappointed to find she is not.

I’m also disappointed to have found out that I will be working tomorrow when NBC airs the opening ceremony. Luckily though, I know that the opening ceremony is like, HOURS long, so I’ll only miss the first 2 and a half. However, I’ve also realized that this year sucks harder not just because of work, but because of school as well. I will be cooped up the majority of the Olympics, and will not be able to enjoy them live. Not that stupid fucking NBC like ever shows anything Olympic live anyway. I bet they wouldn’t even do it if it was in America.

But still – I always look forward to the Olympics. My first memorable ones were Sydney 2000. I had just gotten a TV in my room and I don’t remember if I was sick or something, but I remember being in bed and my dad taking care of me…or maybe just bringing me breakfast, and I was watching them. It was thrilling. That’s when I first really understood and grasped the concept of the Olympics.

And then the Olympics in Athens in 2004 were quite exciting as well. I remember that year I took it upon myself to chronicle the achievements of all the Romanian athletes on a piece of paper I’d torn out from my diary. I had that paper for a few years afterwards, for posterity’s sake. I also remember that was the year Michael Phelps started to get attention. I don’t remember his achievements in 2004, but I know the buzz started.

And then the 2008 Olympics in Beijing were certainly memorable. Not only did Michael Phelps pretty much make his name unforgettable with 8 gold medals, but the wunderkid that is Usain Bolt did too. That man shattered records. I’ll never forget watching him run faster than my poor legs will ever hope to carry me and everyone’s minds being blown in those 9.69 seconds of that 100 meter dash.

I remember in 2009 when I went to Jamaica, I rode this like…air-carriage thing and got off at a little stop that had shops and almost like an outdoor museum with interesting facts about Jamaica. One of the pillars was about various famous Jamaican athletes. Asafa Powell had one side of a pillar to himself. But in an empty space on it, there was a golden plaque that mentioned that Usain Bolt had broken his records and he was no longer the fastest man in the world. I should’ve taken a picture of it, it was kind of hilarious.

Anyway, I really hope I’ll find time somewhere in my busy schedule to watch the Olympics. Cause I love that shit.