After arriving in Bucharest, Polish relief workers took dad and Artur to a building where about a dozen other Poles were temporarily housed. Also in the neighborhood was a Polish mafia organization who enjoyed rather luxurious accommodations. Today, the building my father stayed in has been converted to a high end restaurant, Maison Mignon.
Dad and Artur stayed in the lower level with a handful of other men. The others were a bit older, in their late 20s, not particularly friendly, and would stay up all night playing cards, making sleep almost impossible. Dad would find them at their same spot in the morning, only the money shifted around.
From the moment my airbnb hostess learned of my reason to visit, her husband Ionel became engaged with my project. He picked me up at the train station, arranged for the visit to Mignon, and we've spent countless hours talking over espressos, good food, and fine wine. He is a retired officer from the Romanian Army, and has amazing experience and insight into the country of Romania. I have so enjoyed his stories, jokes, and passion for Romanian culture and history that I will use his name and personality to portray an unnamed Romanian roommate my father had for several months after leaving Bucharest. He has helped me so much to understand the Romanian psyche, especially during WW II.
The Polish relief workers prepared dad and Artur to pass an interrogation at the main police station to receive documents for legal status in Romania. They also offered a Plan B. The interrogation was not going so well, there was confusion and frustration. Finally, the Poles pulled out Romanian currency in an amount that satisfied their questioners. Dad and Artur walked out of the police station with their documents in hand.
Author - Andrew Bajda
Since publication of my book in December of 2016, so many amazing things have happened on both a personal and professional level. As the journey continues to evolve, I'll update my travel adventures on this blog, and invite you to join me along the way.