Greetings from Romania, known for its vampires, gymnasts, and… well, I don’t know what else. One of those neat places on the map that very few people know much about.
Since you may not know much about this country (besides Vlad Drac and Nadia Comanechi), I would like to offer a bit of insight based upon what I know. Granted, I spend all of my time in the city (Bucharest), haven’t really done the tourist thing, and don’t generally run into vampires. In other words, I don’t pretend to know much about what’s happening here. F – it I’m still going to tell you what I think because that’s the kind of self-centered jerk I am.
1. Romanian people are cool. The people I’ve met in Bucharest — from business-people to cab-drivers — are nice. They’re engaging, pleasant, surprisingly open about politics, and nearly every one speaks flawless English. The women are also unbelievably beautiful, which means my boyfriend is not allowed to visit. I’ve told him the woman all are hags so he won’t want to visit. Back me up if he asks you about it.
2. Traffic sucks ass. Bucharest is the most congested urban city in Europe. I couldn’t even fathom a guess at the per square mile population because they seem to be jammed into every corner. I’m surprised Darwinism hasn’t turned the newer generations into midgets.
3. They like ketchup. Alot. Mostly on pizza topped with tunafish and corn kernals, because ketchup on fries is weird.
4. It’s dusty. Bucharest is like a city waking up from a long sleep. It’s covered in a patina of dust and dirt. The streets are crumbled, there are piles of rubble where buildings used to be 15 years ago, stray dogs nearly outnumber humans,… it’s a bizarre juxtaposition of the very old Parisian elegance of the city, the more recent Communist concrete ugliness, and the new glossy attempt at modernization all slammed into the same small area. Seriously, there is no logical flow to it, though the newer capitalists are doing everything they can to push the envelope quickly. I think it will likely be a number of years when the post-Comm hangover & mania ends and sobriety begins to set in.
5. Meat is good. Vegetables…not so much. Let’s put it this way: if you are Hindi, steer clear.
My not-so-intensive research leads me to suggest that Romania (particularly Bucharest) is a fascinating destination. It may not be a comfortable vacation spot for most Westerners, but it does have all the markings of a big economic power in the making. I really am never stoked about traveling since I am more of a home-body, but coming here some 4-5 times in the last handful of months has been an interesting experience and glimpse into an emerging culture.
BTW, they show free porn on regular broadcast tv for an hour at night. …No comment.