November 1, 2008

Romanian Gypsies at My Windows
Apoldu de Sus, Romania

I find the habits of the Roma (gypsies) in this area to be quite entertaining. One of my favorites has to be the tossing of small rocks at windows to get the attention of the homeowners—like a secret midnight lover that's come calling. But love is certainly the last thing on minds of these stone-tossers; they're going door to door selling their wares.

Even better are how transactions are then often conducted—through the very same window of the home, reminding me of how you'd see a crowd of vendors peddling food or drink through bus windows in a developing country.

Traditional handmade broom and basket

Stephan purchases goods from the gypsies—stuff like brooms and blueberries. Today it was baskets. I think he buys these items because they're somewhat useful, but also as a form of charity.

Even more entertaining I suppose are the odd follow-up questions that the salesmen ask: Do you have any scrap metal? Do you have any spare shoes? They use or resell both.

The gypsy left his bedroom window this morning having sold two wicker baskets and also receiving a pair of Stephan's shoes (that he'd replaced the day prior with some handmade boots from a neighbor).

Saint Stephan is what I've decided to call this guy—Romania's patron saint of (crippled) travelers, the elderly, gypsies, and Saxon villages alike. I can't say as I've ever met a twenty-year-old like him.

As for the blueberry seller, story goes that he brought him in for a meal made with some of the very berries he'd just bought.

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