I’m pretty glad to have moved from Russia to Romania. Russians are actually taught not to smile in public and to strangers as it’s seen as insincere. So perverse and made me feel self conscious every time I did in fact smile. And the other thing – they are so absorbed into their own language. I’m not sure if it’s the huge population or huge landmass or a sense of “we’re the best in the world”, but there’s so very little written in English (or even our alphabet) and whilst waiters speak English, it’s often the uncomfortable halting type. Our final night we wet seeking vodka (and found a lovely restaurant on the first floor which was clearly a bit fancier than we were dressed but also empty!) at this place, there was lots of Russian just spoken at us with the hope we’d understand! She had some English, but it wasn’t anywhere near “comfortable speaking”. Actually we went to a Turkish restaurant and relished an English speaking waiter – he’d worked on cruise ships.
This all leads me to say – Romanians are FAR better and more confident with English. And they smile. So it’s already nicer to be here. We can semi decipher signage. We’ve yet to speak to someone who can’t understand or reply to us.
And the foods better here! Funnily, we went local last night for dinner, a Spanish place. We walked up the stairs and noticed it was rather full – seems it was some sort of private event. We went to back down the stairs after talking to a waiter, when another came to suggest we could stay if we weren’t bothersome. We weren’t. Though we’d come from a complimentary wine and cheese at the hotel and the glass of red had gone to Rory’s head so he was online pretending to be a mermaid. It was hilarious. At least we both thought so!
We arrived in Bucharest in the early arvo and wandered another direction to a main square to find lunch at a place that may have been Moldovan. I had this filo pastry dish, they were filled with mince. Rory got a chicken salad that was more salady than he bargained for!
The architecture here is very “French” and much more variable between pretty and then utilitarian/communism style. Rory said he thought what he’s seeing here would be more of what he’d see in Russia, but Russia has some very tight Planning guidelines in st P (ie no gaps between buildings in a block) and I think being in the city centre for both, we probably saw less of grotty and derelict buildings. There’s other noticeable differences – we now see clothing boutiques which are very similar to those in Australia, Europe or the Us – right at ground level, walk in (often with the big doors wide open). We just didn’t see this in Russia. In St P a lot was a few steps down into a restaurant or a few steps up. Often walking along a street there were windows at knee level for the basement restaurant or super market. I’m not sure if that’s a function of the canal city or what, but it was difficult to become used to. Instead, all over Russia there are underpasses to cross roads. Some are dark and dingy, others low ceiling and wid we ought that there’s booths with stalls along one wall: stockings, women’s underwear, women’s clothes. It was… Odd. And the a. Few had a bank of vending machines, often mainly filled with Japanese drinks.
It seems that erotic dance is perfectly acceptable in both countries. But it’s far more in your face here in Romania. Our free map is free due all the adverts. Little brochure displays in our hotel and last nights restaurant have flyers for places and we walked past one. On the other hand, there were multiple “human trafficking” posters in Romanias airport, which is interestingly a theme of my novel set in NY.
Today, Sunday, we’re going on a Segway tour/ride which Rory got me for my birthday. Then Monday I’ve booked us a tour of communism. At some stage well go see the old town and the palace and that. We don’t intend to go to Transylvania which may or may not be a misstep.
Over and out – gotta wake the kid as it 9:27 and it’s surely time for breakfast!