Got a lot of little short pieces today instead of one long one:
- The other day I went down to visit a local publisher (Rom: editura) here in Cluj. Knocked on the door, went inside. Nobody was there. Door was open and it was during business hours but nobody was around. There was a sign on the door so I knew I was at the right address. Just.. nobody home :)
- New book (Balada Supravietuitorului) is coming along splendidly. Met with a friend/fan last night who is an amateur photographer and he gave me some lovely photos to use (which I will credit to him, of course) for the cover. He speaks only an elementary level of English but bought my book partly as a teaching aide to help him improve his English. Awesome!
- I’ve got the idea for the next book (aka the third book) already and have about half of it plotted and laid out. I’m excited!
- Via Twitter, I found this article about a “teenager” (age 18 so in this country he’s an adult) who is currently in Romania to gin up business for his software company. From there I tracked him down on Facebook and began chatting with him.
He has a travel blog, which has an entry here about the mall in Arad. Notice the title “Nicer than anything we have in Alaska” and in the video itself you can see both young men are quite impressed. The mall in Cluj (or Arad) is far better than what I had in my city in America too so I definitely know the feeling. Of course, convincing Romanians that a mall here could be nicer than one in America.. well that’s la noi ca la nimeni territory.
The guy’s Facebook chatter is all pretty typical as well – all of his friends and colleagues have absolutely no idea what to expect concerning Romania. Will there be vampires? Is there even a drinking age? Etcetera, etcetera.
Not that I blame these visitors (and their friends) for being ignorant because I heard it a million times myself back in the days when I used to come to Romania on vacation. The Americans I met last week told me similar stories about their friends and family. Occasionally people even get asked (in all apparent seriousness!) if vampires or undead creatures actually exist here and how to avoid being attacked by them.
Sheesh… now do you understand why I so badly want to do my television show? I mean it’s about time to take these myths and half-truths and do something with them. I actually did some mock-ups for a piece I’d like to film (concerning these myths) and I think it will turn out quite hilarious and yet simultaneously informative.
I’ve been talking to my Romanian “peoples” and there are at least a half a dozen sites near or in Cluj which would be perfect for filming what I have in mind. What I need is some warmer weather and a little more money. Both of those will come in time.
Writing (and reading!) will always be my number one passion but I know how people are – video is king. Getting some good footage out there will be just spectacular. I really must resist my urge to blab every idea I have here on the blog but we’re all going to have to be patient until it’s a fait accompli.
Oh goodness, I almost forgot a few other things:
- Looks like I’ll finally be appearing on the “radio”, doing an interview with these guys, scheduled for Thursday evening. For those who can’t watch/listen live, I believe they archive all their shows so I’ll definitely post a link to the podcast (mp3) afterwards. I think we’ll probably do it in a mix of Romanian and English so everyone can understand (at least) some of it. They’ll be giving away a T-shirt so be sure to tune in!
- An interview (in English) with me should be appearing in Monday’s edition (Jan 31) of the Business Review.
- My understanding is that the Scena Deschisa will be having another edition on Tuesday (Feb 1 – here in Cluj-Napoca). I’ve written a few pieces to do on stage, so we’ll see how that turns out! I’ll post more details when I’m sure the event is taking place, in case you’d like to attend.
- I will be starting the 100 Lei Challenge on February 1. This will be covered daily on my food blog and not here on this site (King of Romania dot com).
Back in November or December, the local newspaper Adevarul de Cluj ran a series in which four university students “tried” to live on the minimum wage and failed horribly, mostly by making extremely poor choices on buying food and drinks.
My supposition is that a fully grown adult with a healthy appetite (me!) could live quite well, drinking and eating for an entire month for just 100 lei (roughly $1 USD per day) here in Romania.
Is that actually possible? I don’t know but I aim to find out. Originally I was going to do this some time in the summer, when fruits and vegetables are fresh (and cheaper) but then I realized that it would have far more impact to do this when it’s wintertime and food is at its most expensive.
I’ve been scouting out the markets and local stores and making hypothetical budgets and I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. Mind you, the purpose of this experiment is not to starve myself, suffer, “go without” or make my life difficult. No! I want to eat well, eat a lot of food and be fat and happy on just 3,3 lei per day.
I’ve written a lot about budgets and monetary issues and from what I’ve seen, the vast majority of extravagant spending most Romanians indulge in is food and drink. I want to see if it’s possible, with careful consideration and planning, for an ordinary person to eat/drink on just 100 lei per month, theoretically freeing up the rest of their salary (or pension) for other things in life.
AND NOW YOU KNOW!