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Shoveling Snow Off In Bucharest

After a looong while, I decided to post something more on my blog. Eric has been using most of my spare time (when I was home…) and since I’m not a very frantic blogger (and I will stop procrastinating tomorrow…) I did not miss posting $STUFF here.

As you probably heard, we’re experiencing a pretty harsh winter. The Romanian Weather Service (ANM – Administratia Nationala de Meteorologie) has issued an “orange code” weather alert for the southern part of Romania. Regardless, people went on road… to get stuck in the huge snow. Of course, 60-80 km/h winds were of great help in alleviating this situation. (Until now, one man has died of hypothermia in his car while his wife has been rescued but is still in a hypothermia shock.) Hundreds of people remained stuck in the middle of nowhere; even the snow ploughs could not do much, because there were cars blocking the roads. Oh, and when one way got cleared, drivers would rush on it regardless of their direction of movement… getting it all back to a standstill.

I’ve been personally affected by that since I’ve been expecting a UPS delivery today, but the Otopeni airport was simply cut off from the city, since the road to it was completely blocked. They managed to clear the road around 17:30 local time… but it was a bit too late. Eh, tomorrow is another day as well.

Romanians have been “educated” properly by 50 years of communism. Or maybe it is something in our blood line… I’m not exactly sure. We’re always expecting “someone else” to do “it”. God forbid we get our hands on it – it’s a low-level task, “I’m too important of a man to do that“. No shit, Sherlock… This becomes VERY visible especially during the winter time. Like our current president, former mayor of Bucharest, said once (and he is absolutely right on this one): “Winter is not like summer.” In winter it snows – and snow doesn’t get out of the way by itself. Nope. Instead, it piles up. And up. And up. As long as nobody / nothing moves it, it piles up. Some would say that the WIND also moves it. It does – but where? Where it doesn’t blow: between the cars, around a building corner, at a recessed building entrance and so on. And there it remains, at least until some non-natural force interferes with it and moves it again… elsewhere. And even if the council can – and it really does it, actually – issue a fine for each owners’ association who did not clear the sidewalk adjacent to their block, if you find one block in 10 where the sidewalk is clear you’re LUCKY. Even there, most likely it is the administrator who did the job – the other urban dwellers find this activity below their dignity.

Things would not be so nasty were they not for the cars. In order to understand the problem, let me say that in Bucharest there are around 1.000.000 (one million) registered vehicles and only around 180.000 (180 thousand) parking lots – that is, if my memory serves me well. I know at least 10 families who live in apartments but own 2 cars. Imagine a block of 54 apartments – and the picture gets quite bleak. Now, like I said, the winter is not like the summer – so the cars get surrounded by the snow…

It would be easy if every car owner got out and clear his own car, along with a small fraction of the access road, wouldn’t it? It would. But not here.

I decided to go out and clear the sides of my car, even if it is still snowing – powder snow, the nasty one that piles up veeeery sloooowly – and it gets bloody compact. Even if I’ll have to do it again in the next days, at least it will be less snow to shovel around. So I did. It took a while, indeed. And I carried the snow to the “garden”, in order to keep the sidewalk as clear as possible. It is not the best idea – this snow contains calcium chloride, if I remember correctly, or only sand if I don’t – but there’s no other place I can take all this snow to. Why? Because the snow ploughs don’t REMOVE the snow off the road into a trailer – they simply push it to the side of the road. Sometimes blocking the cars legally parked there.

So now I’m happy. I can take my car out if I have to. But… I live in Bucharest. If I leave that spot (at least during the daytime), someone else is going to park over there. And I worked just to get in shape. (Actually I am in shape – round is a shape, after all. But I digress.) So I don’t intend to get my car on the road, even if it is fully equipped for winter conditions; I am going to use the public transport until the snow melts and the roads – and especially the parkings – get clear again. And I’m so looking forward to next year when I’ll have to shovel snow off my yard…

So, how much fun do you have shoveling snow off your car? Canadians please abstain! 😀

Later edit: the huge white spot in photo no. 10 (5th on the right column from the top) is a SNOWFLAKE. Yes, a snowflake caught in the camera flash. 🙂


4 comments to Shoveling Snow Off In Bucharest

  • Wow!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen snow like that. When I did live in a place with snow, it was New York City, where I didn’t drive. I can’t imaging having to do all of that work just to leave your house!

  • Ave

    Well… actually this year it wasn’t so bad – except for the storm. Right now the final count is about 10-12 inches of snow. People over here are used to it. And leaving your house is not exactly difficult – people are supposed (in theory and in law) to clean the entrances to the blocks and the sidewalks. In theory. And public transport is… ok-ish, especially if you can use the subway.

    I could not say the same thing about the British. I was there in 2010, on the 1st of December. They got like 8 inches of snow… to bring the whole country to a halt. For 2 days. It was kinda… fun to watch. 🙂

    Thanks for the comment!

  • […] si a dat zapada (de cateva ori). Iata cum arata masina dupa prima deszapezire – vedeti aici o galerie de poze si postul lui Andrei (da, poza 5 e cu un fulg prins de aparatul foto ). Si iata cum arata acum masina – poza […]

  • well, Bucharest was always a snowy city

    in time, you’ll get used to it

    cold time, warm people 🙂

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