This past weekend has been a blast. The Lugoj Beer festival kicked off Friday afternoon and hasn't quit yet.
Coming home from school on Friday I discovered a crowd obstructing the street near the entrance to my apartment. They were surrounding a musical duo dressed like Native Americans. One of them was playing a drum, the other a flute. I'd actually seen these guys several times before, the first time was in Ploiesti. Apparently they are from Ecuador and make a living by performing at festivals throughout Romania. They are ok, if you listen to them in moderation. But, considering they've been playing right below my apartment for nearly the whole weekend, I've become quite sick of their repertoire. What makes it more annoying is that they only have five or so songs that they play in the exact same order every time. But enough about that...
Merrymaking was aided by beer, mici, all sorts of grilled food, beer, cotton candy, ice cream, kurtos kalacs (a sort of Hungarian/Transylvanian pastry), more beer and.... GOULASH (my favorite).
I went to a BBQ at someone's home Saturday afternoon, after which I attended the much-anticipated (at least by me) goulash competition. There were at least 5 teams, mostly from Hungary. I happened to time my arrival just so that I could sneak into the cooking space before they closed it to the public. So, there I was with all the cooks and judges. I asked one of the cooks if I could take his picture, and in return he offered me a taste of the goulash. After that, I went around and tasted each pot, which was great fun. Some of the chefs spoke only Hungarian. But, using universally-recognized culinary sign-language (a smile and pat of the belly), I was able to communicate my appreciation of their work.
After the judges announced the winning goulash, bowls of the stuff were given to the crowd -- and the best part was that it was totally free!
That night they had some Romanian folk bands perform, and today was more of the same (including the same songs by that South American group). I took a break from it all by walking to the outskirts of town. Passing the tennis courts, I ran into a colleague from school, so I hung out to watch him and his friends play tennis. Next time I'll wear my sneakers and play with them.
This evening they have some rock bands playing on the stage. I've just returned after watching a Romanian blues band (called The Timis Blues Band, I think). They're pretty good, and quite refreshing compared to the typical rock/pop played on the radio in Romania. As I type this, I can hear the music of another band, called Directie 5, emanating from the stage. One of the nice things about living directly in the center of town is that I'm right where the action is (of course, this isn't always a good thing...see above example concerning South American band).
Right now I'm just waiting for the fireworks, which are scheduled for midnight.
If you'd like to see pictures from this weekend, go here