Romanian Life 01 Introduction

Hi, I am a Romanian, born and raised in Bucharest and this will be a journal I’ll try to keep for my English speaking readers. If you have any questions regarding our culture, history and politics or if you are simply curious about life in the East, I’ll try to do my best in presenting and explaining all of these things. Welcome to Romanian Life.

As much as we would like to think otherwise, we Romanians aren’t exactly the most cultured people in Europe and while your contacts here might prove the opposite, a simple walk on the lesser cosmopolitan roads of Bucharest will offer you a glimpse of the real Romanian, the average one, and his daily routine. Things greatly improved from the time I was a kid and most public places got a revamp according to modern urbanistic rules, I watched places transform into public squares and parks filled with outdoor activities from their prior state of almost abandoned green spaces or run down buildings. The human factor sadly did not keep pace and some people began to destroy what was fixed.

I plan to talk about the ugly as well as the beautiful things you can find here and just hope it will not evolve into a travel series.

One thing to keep in mind when coming to Bucharest is the traffic, we love our cars out of necessity because public transport is simply deranged, not downgraded but actually deranged, the number of madmen you will find on buses is staggering and while the reasons vary from traumas during the ”transition” period to actually being a ”job” forced upon him/her by a local gangster, the authorities never, and I emphasize this, NEVER do a thing. People in this capital also choose their cars also because of the poor public transport network with few metro lines and slow tram lines while a serious lack of parking spaces, there are over 1.3 million cars and around 400 thousand legal parking spaces, do the math, makes the city look not only crammed but also dirty and polluted.

Things are really not that dark, just like anywhere people get used to the shortcomings and life finds places where it can grow in harmony. My country gave to the world its share of great minds, too bad we don’t seam to appreciate them that much and many made a name for themselves among foreigners.

Among my favorite composers and one of Romania`s greatest is Ciprian Porumbescu. He was born in Bukovina in 1853 and died in Suceava in 1883, he is best known for his Ballad for violin and string orchestra. More about him next time, until then enjoy this recording made by the Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra from Vienna with a Romanian, Ion Scripcaru, playing the violin.