Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Monday night I suggested we go eat at McDonald's, since I was craving a hamburger.  You really can't get a hamburger here other than McD's.  Some places have "Hamburger" on the menu, but beware if you order one, as you never can be sure what you will get.  Ordered a "Bacon Cheeseburger" at one restaurant, it was served as a "wrap", as in wrapped in some tortilla type thing.  I knew I was in trouble when the waitress chuckled when I ordered...

Catalina didn't want McD's, she wanted "real" food.  Not sure what "real" food is, but I do know McD's has real calories that help me maintain the shape I'm in, and real cholesterol that I'm sure clogs my arteries even as I type this.  However, McD's is fast food, and therefore not "real".  Ah...I tell her that the average time for me to cook dinner is 3 minutes, at least according to the microwave instructions on the boxes.  Cata tells me that I don't cook, I just warm up my dinner.  Cook....warm me its all the same, but as a result, we go elsewhere to eat.

On Tuesday, Cata starts her internship and I'm left to my own devices.  At lunchtime, I decide that now would be a great time to go to McD's.   Mmmmmm.... and really, the walk is only a mile or so (one way).  Strange to think of a 1 mile walk as "only"..... I miss my car.

Oh..this is the only McD's in Iasi, a city of about 325,000 people.  Imagine Tulsa with only 1 McDonald's.  What are there....30 of them in Tulsa?  And Americans are overweight?  Hmmmmm...

I walk to McD's, taking some pictures along the way.  After arriving, I walk up to the counter and say "Hi".  I say "Hi" to let the person know that 1) I am an English speaking person and 2) that I don't speak Romanian, because if I did, I wouldn't say "Hi", I would say whatever the Romanian word for "Hi" is.. A lot of meaning conveyed in a word of two letters.

As often happens when I say my little "Hi", a flicker of panic crosses the eyes of the lady at the counter.  Now I'm under the impression, that in order to work at this place, you have to be able to speak English.  Maybe because they don't use English enough, or maybe because they freeze up when hearing my voice, but that look of panic is a familiar sight.  Still, I think she said some English stuff as she took my order...

I first said, slowly and plainly, "I would like a Royal Deluxe Menu".  The sandwiches have English names, so even the Romanians have to use those names when ordering.  A "Big Mac" in English is a "Big Mac" in Romanian.  The word "Menu", and I don't say or spell it right here but it's close, refers to the Value Meal with fries and a drink.  She then said something like "xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx Small or Large".   (the xxx's are words I didn't understand, which was most of it)  I said "Small".

She then asked "xxxxxxxxxxx Cola Sprite or Fanta".  Assuming Cola = Coke I said "Cola".

Next question she asked "xxxxxxxxx BBQ xxxxxxxxx Ketchup xxxxxxxxx sauce".  Ah..asking me which, if any, sauce I wanted.  Don't fall for this trap.  If you ask for "sauce" you have to pay for each little packet.  I don't pay for ketchup!  Even if the amount is tiny, it isn't right!  It's part of the meal... its like asking if you want a cup with your drink, and charging you extra for it.   So, I shake my head and say "no".

As she is pushing buttons on the register, I say "Cherry Pie", she nods and pushes another button or two.  The register rings up my total, and I pay with exact change.  Makes it easy that way.... My food is served up and I sit down to eat. 

I do notice some strange and curious looks shot my way, from both employees and customers.... its obvious I'm not from around here.  I'm used to it by now. 

Oh, and most of the sandwiches at McD's are the same as in the states, but the Royal Deluxe was something different.  It had cucumbers.  Kina strange.....still, pretty good for food that isn't "real". 

Today, after Cata got home from her internship, she suggested McD's for supper.  I just smiled and said..."Sure!"  It's only a mile away.....

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