Thursday, May 11, 2006

There and Back Again

No, I'm not writing a book about hobbits; the title just seems oddly appropriate.
I'm currently in Romania; it's been about 1 year and a half since my last visit in the fall of 2004, so I figured I might as well profit and relate as many reactions as I can. From heartfelt articles in the likes of Washington Post about treatment of Romanian disabled children, to the Luxembourg's diplomatic support of Romania's accession to the EU, I'm far from lacking in subjects. The truth is, my physical presence here calls for more than just media analysis. I'll try to stick to personal impressions and hopefully take as many pictures as I can. A particular project I have in mind is going to a Roma village and potentially writing more about a previously-tackled issue - the striking difference between the poverty and opulence of the Romanian gypsy community.
Until then, here are some "memorable" thoughts thus far:

- NYC cabbies have nothing on Bucharest taxi drivers;
- I've seen fewer street beggars than in 2004;
- Prices increased, though market choice is definitely more eclectic;
- More local banks issue internationally-accepted debit cards;
- Mass media is less haunted by Communist paranoia;
- Even without Starbucks, $4 coffee can easily be found;
- Dial-up lost the battle to broadband;
- Books don't really sell;
- Polite customer service and decently-priced establishments are mutually exclusive;
- Reality TV is an international evil.

More to come...


Blogger Amy said...

came across your blog through a google search. just curious what exactly you're doing in romania. what you've written is really interesting to me, and it sounds like you have a lot of knowledge of what's going on there. i lived there for 6 months working in orphanages in bucuresti and just returned in march.

12:29 AM  

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