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WGHS Student Travels to Romania for Model Airplane World Championships

"I had to wake up at six a.m. to pack my bags.  Total it weighed forty-seven lbs.  I was ready and after twelve hours riding in planes, four airports, and six hours in waiting, we arrived.  It was Bucharest, Romania and after meeting up with nine other people, we were off.

We arrived in Slanic, Romania, I was so jocund, and settled into the resort.  Well, it really wasn’t a resort (no shower curtain, pull chain toilet, broken glass windows, and it was quite smelly), but it was still very nice to Romanian standards.  The view was amazing, breathe-taking actually, as our rooms’ windows overlooked the hills.  Every morning I would look and see the fog rise of over the hills in the crisp, cool air.

The next day we traveled to the salt mines to fly our model airplanes.  The models are rubber-band-powered free flight and weigh approximately one and two tenths grams.  It went great and I put up two twenty-five minute flights.  Overall I took fourth place and the USA Junior Team, which I was part of, took first.

The culture was much different then that of the U.S.  Every meal had soup and it was at least three to four courses.  Bread was also a large part of every meal.  Most of the people did not speak English (however, some of the younger people spoke broken English from what they have learned in school).  Not being able to speak their language made me wonder if I was going to be chastised by the locals for being an outsider.  Most people did not have indoor plumbing and they received their water from an actual well where you crank down a bucket.  There were some cars, abundance of hitchhikers, and wagons.  No tractors, all the fields of corn were picked by hand.  Drinking was also a large part of the culture.  The drinking age is eighteen but the bartenders were serving fifteen year olds without a blink.  The houses were about ten by twelve made from clay brick or concrete.  Most stores sold just alcohol, pornographic magazines, cigarettes, and the occasional bottle, not a can, of coca-cola.

Overall, it was an amazing experience that only happens once in a lifetime.  Made me really think how well we have it here back in the states and how well some other people do not.  If I could go back again, I would; however, I would not like to stay for more than a week.  It would be great to go on a world tour and visit lots of countries to see what it’s like."

-David Rigotti

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