In case you’re wondering, that’s not my beautiful hand in the picture. A reader and a fan sent that in after buying and enjoying my book.
If you live in Romania I’ve got some very good news. Someone put in a large order of books and then changed their mind so now I’ve got a lot of them! If you’ve ever wanted to read my book now you can, all at a super good price.
Normally I sell this book in Romania for 50 lei but now you can get it for only 30 lei. Yep, you heard this right! If you live in Cluj-Napoca, just contact us and we will hand deliver it. If you live somewhere else in Romania, we will send it via courier.
If you’re interested, contact my colleague Iuliana (she speaks Romanian and English):
If you live in America or the rest of the world and want this book, click here.
And now it’s time for a strange tale that is related to my book. If you’re a long-time reader of this blog you’ll know most of the back story so forgive me as I set the scene here.
On December 1, 2010 I published my book and some time in mid-January 2011 I went down to the local tourism office here in Cluj to speak with the people there about some kind of potential collaboration between us. I met some nice people, left them a free copy of my book, and got some contact information.
Nonetheless, despite saying a few nice words about the book, nothing ever happened. I spent most of the first half of 2011 contacting everyone I could think of in the government departments that deal with tourism, from a few other city’s agencies to several branches of the national Ministry of Tourism. Again I got in contact with some polite and nice people but nothing ever happened.
Here in Cluj back in May I was involved in a larger meeting (involving several topics, not just tourism) with the Lord of Cluj himself, Sorin Apostu. This was shortly before “Cluj Days”, a festival to promote this city, and also around the time that Apostu’s government was beginning to push for the city to be awarded the “cultural capital” designation for next year. In this meeting I again tried to extend a friendly hand to collaborate with them but was given a public Scolding of Righteousness all about how I don’t “understand” tourism and foreign visitors to Cluj and how “complex” it all is.
Meanwhile I see the city’s official website is currently broken and even in the days when it works it is still only in three languages, English, Romanian and German. This despite the fact that 20% of the city’s residents (and the mayor’s constituents) are Hungarian and Cluj is one of the top tourist destinations for Hungarians in all of Romania. So yes it is of course I who “doesn’t understand” tourism in Cluj and they are the geniuses who need to talk down to me LOL
Frankly, after that May meeting I gave up on doing anything with the city. But when the ProTV crew was up here to film me at the end of November, I told them this back story and so they used their clout to get me a meeting with Florin “Grigore” Morosanu, who is the head (director) of the city’s tourism department. While the camera was rolling he was extremely nice, he listened to me talk about my book and explain a little about who I was, and asked me to contact him later and bring my book so he could read it and then we’d talk further.
Now before I tell you what happened this week, I’ve got to rewind slightly. Even with a ProTV national journalist with me who (obviously) speaks perfect Romanian, we got blown off several times. First we went to the City Hall building and tried to speak to someone in the tourism department but we got sent out to the Tailor’s Tower (Turnul Croitorilor) to the office there. And then when we got there, they said oh no you need to go back to the City Hall and go talk to someone else, who ended up being Mr. Morosanu. Therefore we wasted 90 minutes of our lives just trying to find the right guy to talk to.
After talking to him we went to the city’s official tourism office that’s open to the public and they too tried to stonewall us until we literally had to call Mr. Morosanu on the phone and have him speak to them and tell them it was okay to talk to us. Mind you we are dealing with tourism here, which is supposed to be a branch of government where you candidly open your city to visitors and discuss the least controversial topics of all time, such as how nice the fucking botanical gardens are and the like.
I have never once asked these people for money or for funding nor will I ever. All I was doing was spending my valuable time to try to promote this city because I live here and I love it. The city’s tourism department are the official gatekeepers to that and so I just wanted to reach out to them to collaborate with them. That is it! And yet they act like they’re in some underground society and I’m trying to crash their club and learn their secret handshakes or something.
So here’s where it gets really weird. This week I sent my colleague Iuliana over there with a couple of books, as Mr. Morosanu requested. But when she got there, they already had my book. It was sitting on the shelf there and she saw it. Now how in the world did that happen? LOL I have no idea.
Anyway, we’ll see what happens. I had wanted to sell my books in stores here in Romania this year but that didn’t happen for a variety of reasons. Soon I will have the 2012 version ready for the printers and then I will tackle this issue and I think it’ll go much better this time around. And you can be damn sure I’m going to keep pushing on Mr. Morosanu to see what can be done and to get to the bottom of this mystery about why such a benign agency of the local government is acting so furtive and suspiciously secretive.
In the meantime, don’t forget to buy my book! It’s fun for the whole family :)