Corbu : A kidnapping to 'Ladybird Bay'

Corbu Travel Blog

 › entry 180 of 268 › view all entries
The ever so slightly pink 'n' blue Black Sea coastline at Corbu.

‘So would you like to come to the Black Sea with us, YES OR NO?!’.  Well, okay Christine didn’t ask quite abruptly that time, but I didn’t know her so well yet.  ‘Umm, well let me thin… perhaps… but…’.  ‘WHY NOT?!  You have plenty of time.  YES OR NO?!’.  Blimey.  She’s a forceful one.  Sat in a ‘terrace’ bar in Bucharest meeting up with some of the city’s Couchsurfing community I am being bullie… sorry ‘invited’ to join a small group of them on a weekend camping trip to the Black Sea coast.  Spontaneous.  Off plan.

Christina and the Dawn.
  But plans are subject to change.  No matter how much I ‘umm?’ and ‘errr?’ and ‘aah’ over the proposition my fate is sealed.  In the nicest possible way I am about to be kidnapped by Couchsurfers.  Kidnapped to be besides the seaside, besides the sea.

So it’s nearly 2.00am, a day or so later.  Christina, Vera, Vlad, 2 tents, sleeping bags, 5 backpacks and a Tupperware chest containing hard boiled eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, a block of Romanian White Cheese the size of a small house, enough cans of Vegetale Pate to supply the Navy and I are bundled into Ovidiu’s Vauxhall Corsa ready for action … ‘action’ initially meaning all of us sleeping whilst Ovidiu kindly taxis us all the way to the coast in time to pop our tents up and catch the sun rise over the Black Sea.

'Fishing for the Sun'
  I am back where I belong.  In a small way.  By the softly lapping edges of the waters of the world.

Why the ‘Black Sea‘?  The name that is.  ’Black’?  I dunno.  Why is the Red Sea red or the Dead Sea dead?  Well I can see my way to understanding that last one.  And why isn’t there, out there somewhere, a ‘Blue Sea’? … bein’ as most of ‘em have a noticeable tendency towards blueness?  Too stupefyingly unoriginal I guess?  Easily confused with all the other blue ones.  The entire coastline here is littered with a solid carpet of sun bleached, brittle white mollusc shells that crack, shatter and shard every step you take.  Barefoot activity akin to the sensation of walking on broken glass.  I theorise that such a high level of shell matter might indicate high levels of subterranean fossil deposits, which compressing through the millennia could have led to a superabundance of ’Black Gold’; oil in the region and thus the name? … but the guys just offer an ‘I dunno’ shrug to that one.

'Romania : Land of Choice'
  Oh well.  I try.

The specific little slip of the Black Sea coast to which I’ve been spirited away is called Corbu, meaning ‘crow’ from the Latin corvus.  I though - as is my habit with both people and places - will rename it to my own preference and remember it fondly as ‘Ladybird Bay’ as the place fairly swarms with these cute red ’n’ black, spotty-backed little critters.  Always very sociable and fun to play with the ol’ Ladybugs as they endless traverse the hills and vales of ones hands and fingers.  They are called ‘Gargarita’ in Romanian.  

Corbu (aka Ladybird Bay) is not a million miles away from one of Romania’s most popular coastal resort strips, Mamaia, Constanza.

Christina (aka Mount YesorNo) and Vera
  It’s July.  The heat is on and rising, so Romanians obeying the universal law of such climates head to the beaches in droves.  Thankfully Corbu is a relatively unpopulated little stretch.  We share our first dawn with a couple of other onlooking tent inhabitants, frequent waves of migratory birds cutting along above the tidal line and the early morning fishermen whose efforts to cast far and retrieve treasures from the oceans heart are silhouetted against the tangerine dawn.  Mercurial blues and soft pink hues shimmer along the wave tops as they roll gently in to dissipate over the - at this hour - ghostly white carpet of shells.

We sup before our post-dawn doze so Christina breaks out the picnic Tupperware.  ’Do you want some more cheese?’ asks Vera.

(L-R)Ovidiu, Vlad, Christina & Vera chillin' on the sands at Corbu.
  ’Oh, yes please, that’d be lovely.’ I beam.  ’Well you should have asked then!  You are in Romania now.  You cannot wait for things.  If you want something you must ask for it.  We won’t offer it to you.  This is the Romanian way!’ she laughingly barks back.  Blimey!  I’m trying to get used to these flashes of amiable abruptness.  ’Would you like some sunflower seeds?’, Christina offers nevertheless.  ’Mmmm, well actually I always thought that…’.  ’DO you want some sunflower seeds? YES OR NO!’.  Cripes! Christina (aka Mount YesorNo) has erupted once more.
  I wonder if she’s spent too much time around the English and is just sick to death of our cripplingly over-polite inability to give a straight answer to a ’yes or no’ question.  ’Well, actually, if you would like then… maybe if you wanted to I could, but… only if you’re going to have some too… well, if you insist…’ - y’know, that kinda crap.  ’NO!’ I shout back.  And this pleases her.  Her pupil is learning.   ‘Thanks all the same.  No sunflower seeds.  I always thought they were too much effort for too little reward’.

Many a traditional beach activity is undertaken.  Splashing about in the sea.  Taking 20 times longer to inflate a rubber ring with a ‘handy little pump’ than it would have done using just good ol’ fashioned lung power.

Sunflower (detail) 1
  Splashing about in said ring once finally floated.  Struggling without end to wedge the collapsible beach umbrella far enough down into the ground that it won’t pose a permanent threat to life or limb in the winds (and breaking it in the process).  Not worrying about sand and grit blowing into one’s Vegetale pate sandwiches.  Drinking cans of warn Skol beer at unseasonable times of the day.  Applying Sun tan gunk in ways guaranteed to be searing your eyeballs out the minute it all sweats down later; reading the same page of your novel thirty times without taking it in because the sun has melted your mind for the day and laughing, and chatting, and letting our hair down into the salty breeze… 

Later in the day we hop into Ovidiu’s car again and head off to have a look at the main tourist drag of Mamaia (which oddly means ‘Grandmother’).

Stevie and the Happy Sunflowers.
  Thousands upon thousands of the generally better moneyed sections of society come here ‘just to be seen here spending their money and paying far too much for their food and beer… because they can afford to!’ explains Christina with clear distaste.  Walking past one of the (apparently) 5 star hotels Vlad reads out the roll call of wealth indicative speedsters in the car park ‘ Ferrari, Porsche, Aston Martin, another Ferrari, a Maybach…’ the list goes on.  ‘F**king rich b**tards, buying their expensive cars with OUR money!’ Vlad launches into what is a recurrent theme when talking with the people of his generation I meet in my time in Romania.  Whilst disillusion with the political classes is a universal condition of Modern Common Man, in my brief time in Eastern Europe it is Romanians who seem the most vociferously disenchanted with a government they perceive to be pursuing the sole goal of self-congratulatory pocket-lining at The Peoples’ expense.
  Whether true or not I make no supposition.

We slurp some ice creams.  Catch a funny cable-car thing that runs high over the roof tops of the endless strip of hotels that populate the thin peninsula strip of Mamaia.  Some pretending to a modicum of comfort and style but many just the usual eye sore Socialist inspired concrete blocks that are barely saved by a more recent lick of some brightly coloured paint or other.  We head back to the car. ‘Would you like to go for a swim here at Mamaia?’ asks Christina.  ‘Well, what I was thinking was if we g…’.  ‘DO you want to swim HERE?!  YES OR NO?!’.  Jeez gal.  Following a swift ‘No’ we head back to Ladybird Bay and hit the waters there.

Vlad and the Sunflowers.
  Strange sub aquatic globular things have been brushing up against us and running through our fingers all the while and it turns out to be thousands of tiny little translucent jellyfish.  These, rather quaintly I think with all their tendril-trailing threat of harm, are called ‘Medusas’ by the Romanians.  Luckily these ones have no sting.

And one of my favourite moments of my weekend by the sea.  Actually something a little more in land as it happens.  For it is here, far back away from the beach line that I am able to take myself off, walk to and amongst fields of brilliant golden sunflowers such as those that had tried so hard to cheer my spirits as they flashed past my train window some days ago.  Now I am able to stroll amongst them and their power is much stronger for it, and I smile.

'Fields of Gold'
  Plants filled with such tangible life force when not curled and crumpled and spent.  The road to heeling and better feeling for my travels again started here.  Sunflower seeds stare back at me.  So much beauty, from so little effort on nature’s part. 

I guess sometimes it is just better to go with the flow travelling.  Even if the flow gets diverted.  Even if you find yourself kidnapped to Ladybird Bay.  Unexpected fun in the company of strangers who soon become friends.  And amidst the smiling sunflowers.  Yes I think it’s best.  Wouldn’t you agree?  To go with the flow.  ‘Well Steve, maybe on the one hand… if you think about it… then, sort of mayb…’   ‘DO you agree?!  YES OR NO?!!!’.

(L-R) Vera, Ovidiu, Me, Denisa & Denisa

Yes.   ;)

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The ever so slightly pink n blue…
The ever so slightly pink 'n' blu…
Christina and the Dawn.
Christina and the Dawn.
Fishing for the Sun
'Fishing for the Sun'
Romania : Land of Choice
'Romania : Land of Choice'
Christina (aka Mount YesorNo) and …
Christina (aka Mount YesorNo) and…
(L-R)Ovidiu, Vlad, Christina & Ver…
(L-R)Ovidiu, Vlad, Christina & Ve…
Sunflower (detail) 1
Sunflower (detail) 1
Stevie and the Happy Sunflowers.
Stevie and the Happy Sunflowers.
Vlad and the Sunflowers.
Vlad and the Sunflowers.
Fields of Gold
'Fields of Gold'
(L-R) Vera, Ovidiu, Me, Denisa & D…
(L-R) Vera, Ovidiu, Me, Denisa & …
Fling
'Fling'
dawn waters at Corbu.
dawn waters at Corbu.
Ovidiu & Vlad sort out their rubbe…
Ovidiu & Vlad sort out their rubb…
The sandy strip of Mamaia near Con…
The sandy strip of Mamaia near Co…
Vlad insisted on this wierdy pose …
Vlad insisted on this wierdy pose…
Vlad and his sacred Fish necklace.
Vlad and his sacred Fish necklace.
Sunflower (detail) 2
Sunflower (detail) 2
Shine!
'Shine!'
Sunflower (detail) 3
Sunflower (detail) 3
Meadow flowers.
Meadow flowers.
Vlad (portrait)
Vlad (portrait)
Stevie and his field of gold.
Stevie and his field of gold.
Corbu
photo by: Stevie_Wes