Botiza is a very small town where everyone knows everyone because they live no more than 350 meters from them. It is also a very poor town. Most of the people over the age of 20 have left to go and make money in other countries. The person who runs the guesthouse also works at the local government office and she makes $18 a day and being a migrant worker in Europe they can make $60+ a day. They all want to build a big house in town so there is a giant contrast between the traditional houses and large modern homes (which often have no one living in them since their owners are still working abroad). A modern house costs roughly $25,000 to build in Maramures not including land and furnishings. Since land is “expensive” most of them build their modern home right next to their parent’s older house.
Coming back from the fields, you can see his scythe attached to his bike
Most of the people living in town are self sufficient partly due to necessity due to low wages. That means that almost everyone in town has a barn (the size of a large shed) in their backyard that has their single cow and pigs in it. They also have a pretty large garden where they grow all their veggies. The dinner that I talked about in my last post everything was grown/produced on sight including the cream and pork. The fridge is mainly composed of store bought butter, beer, and left overs. There are 7 people that live at the guest house. The youngest is a 15 month old and her parents. The wife runs the pension and also works in the local government office. The grandparents live here, with grandma also working at the post office and grandpa in charge of all the animals, garden, and the 15 month old.
Part of the guest house. They were drying beans, onions, and garlic for the winter. They were also fattening up 3 pigs.
There is a wide disparity between the old ways and the new ways. I passed a construction sight where a mini backhoe was loading dirt into a horse drawn cart. You cannot walk through town and not pass one horse drawn cart and one Audi. Most people have a garden at their house and also have a plot of land in the hills with a larger garden and where they grow hay for their cow. I did not see one tractor while I was in Botiza and most of the farm work is done by hand with scythes, rakes, and hoes. I saw two elderly women get a ride to their field and stick their rakes in the back of an Audi. Most of the elderly women of the town dress how you would stereotypically expect an Eastern European elderly person to dress, but for special occasions and church most of the town wears their traditional dress.
A backhoe being used to load a horse drawn cart
Everyone in Maramures distills their own palinka which is a fruit brandy. The house that I was staying at had blueberry (lower in alcohol and sweeter) and pear (40-50%) that they had made. Under Romanian law each house is allowed to distill 50 liters a year for personal consumption, but I am told that people don’t really follow the 50L a year limit. I also learned the hard way that you have to check every beverage in a clear bottle to make sure you won’t be surprised with palinka.
There were wells in a couple towns I visited still in use
This tree is either just used to dry pots or signifies that there is an available lady living in the house
There were a bunch of these watering stations run by a well around town.
Traditional dress around town
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