The icy wind blew
all night long, whirling the snow into great drifts. When I panted up to the
jeep kiosk with my skis next morning, I was met by grave news: the road to the
Alpin was impassable and likely to remain so.
is blowing. There is too much ice."
"But my ski
"You like to
walk up?" said the jeep lady. "Iss only 10 kilometers."
I slid sadly back
to the hotel. "And the skiing?" Madame Anna said brightly. "Do you
"Progress!" My laughter gurgled mirthlessly, like water going down a
Balkan drain. "Do you realize, Madame Anna, I've been here nearly a week
and I haven't even started. I've only got five days holiday left!"
Madame Anna made
soothing noises. "But naturally, you do not wish to ski all the time. You
wish to join some skiers' excursions, no? To the venison supper in a mountain
hut? Or perhaps a visit to the tractor factory in Brasov? Or a nightclub in
Istanbul?" I shrugged.
thronged with sheep and skyscrapers and mosques, all exactly the sort of things
one encounters on a typical skiing trip. We even crossed the Bosporous into
Asia, and by the time we returned to Sinaia the crivatz, mercifully, had
stopped blowing. I went right to see Madame Anna. It was time to be firm.
"I have just three days left," I told her. "And I hear there is
marvelous skiing at Poiana, with proper nursery slopes, and a lovely
instructor. Really, it was nice to see the Blue Mosque and the St. Sophia and
to pop over to Asia, but I came to ski.
I must learn to
ski before I go home. Please will you book me into the big Poiana hotel?
course, of course," purred Madame Anna. "We will arrange everything. We
want you to continue to progress with the skiing, no?"