Wednesday, October 22, 2008

No Pictures

The computer I'm using is USB enabled, as long as you don't take the phrase to mean, "able to use USB." So I have many photos, quirky to frightening, but I'm unable to post them to you. However, highlights of my day include:

- Listening to Elton John's "Sacrifice," as performed by a gypsy prisoner in the medium security ward of the Calea Rohova prison. He was accompanied quite well by a rather large prisoner playing a rather small Casio keyboard. It was, I must say, no more or less horrifying than the original version. My immediate instinct was to refer to it as an interrogation technique allowed under the Geneva conventions. I quickly confessed.

- Honestly, that particular area in the Calea Rohova prison was pretty interesting. Not remotely useful to the movie I'm hear to scout, but interesting nonetheless. There was a separate building called, "the club," which had a little indoor badminton area, a small stage for the playing of Elton John covers, a little library, and just an entrance lobby where prisoners could sit and read. Presumably books from the library. One particular prison with good english chatted with me for a few moments. I live in California. His sister lives in Ohio. It is my first time in Romania. How do I like it? I do like it, as it turns out, and oh, yes, it is my first trip. Right about here is where the conversation turned really unexpected - this particular prison inmate wanted to talk about the amazing opportunities available right now in Romania. It is a country full of opportunity. The unemployment rate in Bucharest is under 2 percent. All quite true, but not exactly what I expected to hear from the prison population.

- The maximum security building was incredible, primarily because of how low the security seemed. Well, that isn't quite true. There were guys that looked strikingly like SWAT (in full gear including the black mask) wandering through the narrow hallways. But the prisoners were incredibly nice and we were allowed into their rooms, at their invitation, with them just standing off to the side. And the rooms were truly jam-packed with stuff. Hundreds of paintings and woodcarvings they had done. Fish tanks. Little arrangements of wood and rope to dry socks and cloths. 1001 things to make weapons from, quite frankly. Hard to convey the feel of it without being able to upload a photo, but it was striking.

- We also went to Jilava prison, although we didn't tour the new, functioning prison there at all. I did manage to get in a wee-bit of trouble for including the guard tower in one of my photos, but it does save a lot of hassle to get in trouble when you are already in prison. Saves travel time.

- The old prison at Jilava was "umkempt." The kind of unkempt that starts with 3 feet of standing water. We saw quite a bit of it, crazy dark holes and rooms filled with tens of thousands of rags. We are putting in a request to go back there next week with hip-waders, to get into some areas we couldn't today. It wasn't the kind of water even I want to go into without a bit of protection.

- Saw a hospital. I was warned about the hospitals in Romania about a week ago. The warning was accurate. Yowzers. A thing you don't expect when scouting locations: being pushed into a room with 6 beds and 3 obviously sick patients and told just to check it out. Spend as long as you want.... I'm not entirely sure if the 3 older female patients thought the situation was odd, or if it was just me that was odd. I am rather tall.

And, last but not least, to Mike Horowitz, who told me he had heard the phrase, "pack of wild dogs" as often as he had heard the topic of Romania discussed: yes, Mike, I will be keeping that streak up. Packs of wild dogs - a big yes on that. Big, big yes.


Blogger ginsy said...

Coming next season on FOX.

(old prison, not the new one)

If the guards don't kill you, the water-borne leptospirosis will!

4:04 PM  

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