New York Times, Cluj Photos, an idiotic Australian and Mormons Carving Pumpkins

Wow, interesting little grab bag for today.

First off, probably the creepiest blog I’ve ever seen, this one from a Mormon missionary. This one is about “celebrating Halloween” in Romania and I have to again ask – WTF? This is not even close to being a Romanian tradition.

Nor, did I think, was it a religious holiday. I thought (devout) Christians didn’t get into all of this stuff? Oh well, I don’t know.

A few days ago I posted a link of a foreigner studying here who hates branza (Romanian cheese which is FANTASTIC). Interestingly, she just came to Cluj and took a few fabulous photos of my town.

Best part:

We visited oodles of churches (the Orthodox Cathedral, the Hungarian Catholic church, etc.), historic sites, the university, beautiful streets, the National Theatre, etc. LOVE! I think I’ll move to Cluj. =)

I also just found this blog of a Peace Corps guy working somewhere in rural (Romanian) Moldova. He doesn’t write very often but I was glad to see he did participate in Let’s Do It Romania!

Ten years ago if you told me that I would one day go and pick up trash for fun I would call you crazy. There I was on a cloudy, somewhat rainy Saturday morning, on my birthday none-the-less, with friends and students having a blast picking up trash. I don’t know actually how effective these trash pick-ups actually are. I hear from a lot doubters that if I walk by that same spot two weeks from the time of the clean-up, it’ll be yet again covered in trash. Maybe they’re right, maybe there really isn’t way to clean up Romania.

And somehow I found this old post from an Australian visitor:

Last time i spoke to you lot i was staying in some Stalinist-style apartment complex in Bucharest, trying hard to digest the Romanian diet of potato, cheese, beef fat, and post-communist social decay….

Bizarrely he also managed to get in the middle of a fistfight (apparently) between two hotel operators. Weird…

And last but not least, the New York Times posted a relatively nice piece about a snob and his idiotic friends flying to Bucharest to titillate themselves.

Oh, and if you want to make friends and get on with the locals, heed the slightly exasperated but well-intentioned advice of a good-natured young waiter at Hanu Berarilor Interbelic: “Please don’t tell us how surprised you are that Bucharest is a nice city. We know that. You’re the ones who think it’s on Mars. Please skip the Dracula jokes — Bram Stoker’s blood-sucker is probably the least interesting thing about Romania. And please bin your old donkey-carts-and-gypsies image of Romania before you come.” All of which is to say that it’s a better idea to wait and riff on this intriguing city’s exhilarating strangeness once you get home.

In other words, the waiter was completely right so the author decided to save his snarky comments until he got home with his prick friends. Real nice…

Oh well, what can you do? :D

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