CNN and a PCV


As you (probably) know, I like to keep an eye on the wire to see what pops up. Just a few hours ago, CNN started running a piece on one of Dracula’s real castles in Romania. I assume this is “for” Halloween but it’s filed by Adam Cooper, so I wonder if he truly did come here.

The article is a puff piece but there are a few nice photographs. I think what shocked me (as a Romanian) was this:

Public transportation is infrequent, and the big tourist town in the region, Brasov, is hours away.

The woman running our hostel found a friend to drive three of us for 40 euros each (about $55 U.S.).

500 lei total? Wow. So driving someone from Brasov to past Curtea de Arges and back for 5 million = good work if you can get it :P

Then I found this blog from a Peace Corps lady working just outside Oradea.

Aside from a severe lack of paragraph breaks, she’s a fairly prolific writer, so it’s quite informative to read her entries.

I see she’s struggling with the language, which I can thoroughly sympathize with. I did think it was cool she figured out what saru mana meant though.

I also like her keen eye for Romanian fashion:

When I meet a well-dressed Romanian woman on the street, I can see her eyes focus immediately on my shoes. I can just read her thoughts about my ugly walking sandals.

Because Romanian women wear pretty shoes. In stiletto-heeled or high-wedged, bow-trimmed or ankle-strapped, lipstick red, sunflower yellow, or lime green shoes, they sashay down the rough-paved sidewalks, around the standing rain water, through construction sites with the adroitness of mountain goats and the grace of butterflies. And they do this for block after block. I stand in awe.

But my all time favorite part is she had a battle with the Draft Police:

And here I must tell you of a uniquely Romanian habit/superstition. Doors and windows in houses, schools, buses, etc. must be kept closed because the “current” will cause illness.

This was not a concern when the temps were still coolish the first week or so after arriving, but increasingly the obsession about closed windows when you’re on a sweltering bus or in a public building or even in your gazda’s home seems absurd and a bit masochistic.

Yes! You might remember my (colorful) description of this from here. Good times.

Looks like she just got started on her adventure here. Will definitely be keeping an eye on future developments!

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Filozofu says:

    Sure, by train 350km whould cost about 10 euros and by car I guess about 50 euros (depending on the fuel consumption)

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  2. Sam R. says:

    Oops, got the name mixed up.

    And while the rate per km is fine (I guess) 5 million in one day is good money, that’s all there is to say about it. I can’t help but think Romanian that there are about 20 ways to get there for less money :P

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  3. vali_nash says:

    Hi, Sam! I have a couple of comments to make:

    1) It’s Aaron, not Adam Cooper.

    2) “Nice Work If You Can Get It” sounds much better than “good work if you can get it” (especially when sung by Billie Holiday)

    3) Actually, 120 euros for a 315 km drive is not that high. It means 0.38 euros per km, while offers range from 0.25 to 0.5 euros/km, so it sounds a pretty fair fare (I know you enjoy “jocuri de cuvinte”).

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