Collecting mushrooms and learning about the neighbours.
Several times my host told me we should go to the forest and find some mushrooms to eat. He said he didn’t know exactly which ones were edible and which were not, he just had some idea, but one of the neighbors was very good at identifying them so we could ask him afterwards.
Every time we went mushroom hunting we found quite a good amount of them, not knowing which ones were good so keeping them a bit separated according to their characteristics, later we would go to the neighbor, who was an old man with arthritis, which left his fingers all twisted. We would sit in the only room of his house, which was very humble and its roof was made of chipboard, he had only a bed, a few chairs, a table made of scrap materials, an old antenna TV, some pictures glued to the walls and a very basic stove. My host and he would talk for a long time and when the subject about the mushrooms came into play, he would tell me to show him the bag, we would take a bunch, look at them quickly and with an annoyed voice, grab a bunch of them and throw them to the floor. That way we knew those weren’t edible and basically ended up disposing of more than half of them.
Later on my host told me this guy was his friend from many years, quite older than him and he had a daughter who was married with kids living somewhere else in Romania. According to my host he said he told his friend once “I wanted to fuck your daughter sometime ago but I wasn’t too convinced cause she is fat” and his friend was ok with it, he didn’t care about what his daughter did. Also he told me that this guy was a genius, he had been a very good engineer even to the point that some companies disputed about having him on their team, later on he got tired of his profession and got into herbs and natural medicine which gave him a huge knowledge about plants and their properties, that’s why he knows exactly which mushrooms are good. Now he is retired of everything, tired about people and just wants to live his last days in his house, paying a visit every once in a while to the prostitutes at the next town or having friends bring him over some girls to have some fun.
A few times while we were walking through the neighborhood towards the forest, we would see other neighbors doing their stuff at home or others would come and briefly say hi and exchange a few words with my host. One of them, who was mowing his loan, my host told me about him “that alcoholic bastard is all the time drunk, he used to beat his wife until one day he killed her, fucking bastard”. Another time we found a woman who greeted us and later my host told me “that girl is crazy, she has fucked the entire town, I haven’t done her because she’s fat and also an alcoholic, everyone in this place is an alcoholic, it’s a fucking misery”. I think it sounds accurate.
Visiting the friend at the thermal springs
My host had a life-long friend who had a lot of money and had lived in many different parts of the world. This time he was staying at a spa-hotel with thermal water springs where he was healing from a surgery he had because of breaking his leg while on a ship. He went there because according to my host, that place has some of the best places to heal in Europe and the thermal water springs have some special minerals that help a particular kind of lily to grow and makes them quite unique in the whole world “one of those things nobody knows about Romania” he said.
My hosts friend used to work as an engineer just like him and they used to travel the world by ship. Later on this guy decided to study some kind of specialization which my host declined because he was tired and about to retire. With these new skills he was able to get better jobs and a lot of money which he used to keep traveling in order to enjoy life, in this case, women. Once he was working on the cruise and his boss told him specifically “do not screw with the clients!” but he simply couldn’t resist to a flaming Brazilian beauty, which got him fired and enjoying a bit of Brazilian life, but that didn’t last very long.
He continued searching for adventures in the sea and getting involved with numerous women, getting married a few times, which cost him a fortune, until he got into another job at a ship where he slipped down a ladder and broke his leg in several parts, requiring surgery and the rehab.
While we were talking and having a walk together, my host and him kept calling each other an idiot, one because he never stops trying to be young and living the adventurer life, the other one because he is stuck in that town for retiring. In the end, I guess no matter what our story is, we will never stop regretting the things we gave up in the past and will never be happy with how we are living today.