Day 16 – IKEA
Bucharest got a giant IKEA store a couple years back, which totally transformed the city, so today, Daniel Boldea took us to visit it. That was the bulk of what we had time for today. In a city the size of Bucharest, it just takes a long time to get anywhere, especially if it’s on the other side of town, and IKEA is. Besides the distance, traffic was going at a crawl because it rained. It wasn’t raining much, but enough apparently to freak everyone out.
So it takes a long time to get there, and once you’re there, the IKEA stores have this ingenious floor design that forces you to walk the entire length of the store, see every department, visit every aisle, and walk through all the items until you forget what you came there for, buy a bunch of extra stuff, and have to come back again in a week because you remembered what you came for. Only to have the process repeat itself again. Now that’s capitalism!
Below is a picture of the floor plan in Houston that I found online. It’s about the same as the one here. As you can see, you’re like a rat in a maze, but there’s no cheese at the end, so you get sucked into this state of nothingness for hours of wandering and hoping to find an exit.
Before I go further, I need to apologize to Filip. I’m sorry for making you take us to Carrefour to buy stuff that looked like it was built on a boat, only to find better stuff for cheaper at IKEA. You were right, I was wrong – trust the locals. One of the kitchen knives we bought at Carrefour snapped in half today. And the silverware we bought is machined so roughly that you might cut yourself and get Tetanus every time you take a bite of ice cream. The IKEA store had some crazy expensive stuff (like a single soup spoon for $15), but we found some amazing deals too.
The main things we needed at IKEA were kitchen knives (since ours broke) and a pack-n-play for Isaac, but we were also on the lookout for cheap bunk-beds for the girls. Mae and Illiana have been sharing a bed, Naomi’s been sleeping on the floor, and Isaac has been stuffed in the corner in what the girls refer to as his “nest.” It’s been working fine, but we thought it’d be nice to get something a little more “normal” if we could find a good deal on it.
After what seemed like days in the IKEA maze, we found our proverbial cheese at the end and came out with bunk beds for everyone, mattresses, a crib (no pack-n-play), some really cheap toy bins, kitchen knives, a frying pan, mattress pads, and some sheets. Everything we came for and not too many bonus items. Grand total? Only about $650 for everything, which seems like a pretty good deal to finish getting the whole house set up. And, to top it off, IKEA will have it all delivered and assembled for us for free.
After hiking around IKEA for months, we were now in rush-hour traffic, so Daniel took the time to show us around the city and pick up some giant, fresh-baked pretzels at a covrigarie, pretzel shop. They’re scattered all over the city, and you can get everything from plain hot pretzels to pretzels stuffed with a hot dog, pretzels with honey and walnuts, pretzels filled with apple pie filling, etc. As usual, they were amazing. Prices ranged from $0.30 to $1 each. Take that, Auntie Anne’s.
Other notes on the day:
– I didn’t see a single dog. Maybe the rain scared them away? Or maybe they just don’t go shopping at IKEA?
– Bucharest has some amazing architecture. Sure, the Communists ruined much of the nation’s buildings from the past, but there are some amazing buildings left standing in this city.
– There are a ton of sex shops in this city, almost as many as McDonald’s stores. I don’t know what’s normal for a big city, but there seems to be sex shops all over the place here. Or maybe it’s just that in Wisconsin they’re always boarded up, located off the main drag (no pun intended), and don’t really draw too much attention to themselves. Here, they’ve got bright, flashy signs and big posters. It seemed like there was a shop every few blocks or so on our drive to IKEA.
– Speaking of IKEA, it has the biggest elevator I’ve seen in Romania so far. So if you visit and you need an elevator like they make in ‘Merica, you know where to go.
– On that topic, we spotted our first pickup truck yesterday. We are most definitely not in Wisconsin.
– However… we also found Harley Davidson Bucharest today. Not so far from home after all…
Well, good night, everyone. Or good morning. Whatever it is where you’re at.