We Don’t Need No Water

You know, I’ve met Emil Boc several times, the (apparently) permanent mayor of Cluj-Napoca. He’s a nice guy and quite charming. But he’s an old Communist bootlick and one of the most racist anti-Gypsy politicians in the country, and that’s saying something. Yesterday, I couldn’t help but note that the Pata Rat garbage dump, described…

Fahrenheit 451

If you’ve been a fan of this site for a long time, you know that I call my former town of Cluj-Napoca Unicorn City. Here is yet more proof of why it keeps on deserving that nickname: Cluj-Napoca’s Avram Iancu International Airport is the first airport in Romania that hosts a free library. The library,…

How A Few Bankers Fucked Romania

The other day, my wife and I watched The Big Short about the collapse of the American economy in 2007-2008 (known in Romanian as the criza financiara). She was having trouble following the plot, and so she fell asleep. I’d already read the book (it’s fantastic) and so I managed to stay awake. But afterwards,…

Threat Assessment

Although there’s zero mention of it on the American Embassy’s website, the American charge d’affairs, Duane C. Butcher, made a quick little stopover in Cluj yesterday to visit long-time embassy snitch Emil Boc. The only reason we know about it is because he gave a brief statement to the local Realitatea and Digi24 crews (video…

Don’t follow leaders

As someone who maintains a site (nearly) exclusively focusing on Romania, it’s certainly incumbent upon me to mention that 2014 is a presidential election year in this country. After two turbulent 5-year terms in office, Basescu is required by law to step down this year. Who will replace him is anybody’s guess but yesterday I…

Incompetence on Every Level

A few weeks ago I read a piece called The Illusion of Corruption on the blog of a Romanian who grew up in Canada but has now returned to his homeland (and as a side note, the author is a personal friend) and the more I thought about it, the more I realized what he…

Difficult to swallow

This morning as the Unsleeping Eye was busy telling me what’s going on in this quirky country I call home, I nearly fell out of my chair I was laughing so hard. I think I’ve said it a million times before that in life you often have to choose between laughing and crying, and this…