Bucharest

I’ve started doing this (again) as some people seem to be interested in all the places my job takes me. I always post pictures of amazing meals and cool places when I’m on a work trip, but I when go for dinner with my wife I often don’t take my phone. The reason I post so much on work trips is that I’m bored, and frankly lonely. I post because I want attention, I just want someone I know to be interested in what I’m doing.

It is therefore probably appropriate that I’ve restarted blogging from a country I’m really struggling with. I’ve always said that Belgium, Philippines and Nigeria are the three worst places I’ve ever been for work. Romania might join the list, but I really don’t want it to do so.

It’s a bit unfair really as flight delays meant that I landed at 2am. I’m also staying in a shit hotel in the suburbs, a hotel where the room keys have tassle keyrings. It’s also the sort of hotel that fails to send a car to the airport to pick you up, when you land at 2am, knackered.

My location hasn’t helped the food choices either. The first day the local agency told me the only place to get lunch was a kebab house. This turned out to be a ‘Mom & Pop’ kebab house with a middle aged couple of similar shapes bustling about between a counter and a barbecue grill. The food was alright; there was freshly cooked chicken in a warm wrap with lots of raw onion. I love raw onion.

A thunderstorm last night meant I was stuck in the same suburb for dinner. As I didn’t fancy kebab again this left me with two options; my hotel or a pizza place. The hotel Dining room was empty but for swan napkins and penguin waiters, both looking overly starched.

The Pizzeria sat me down opposite a couple who seemed to be rehearsing for an Amsterdam stage show. When kissing keep your tongue in your own mouth until your lips are locked. Their foreplay demonstration was accompanied by a playlist that moved effortlessly from a lounge version of Kung Fu Fighting to ‘(What a) Wonderful World’ in the style of Betty Boop

Again, the food was alright, it was a passable pizza; anchovies, olives and capers. (I love anchovies almost as much as I love raw onion, I use a lot of smints.) If a late night takeaway delivered this pizza at 1am you’d be happy with it, but it was a bit disappointing at any other time. That’s kind of been the story of all the food here.

I started off by caveating all of this by saying I’m still giving Romania a chance. The reason for this is the people. I know that sound trite but the people I’ve met have all been great fun. The Moderator is a young urban Romanian, bit nerdy. He knows about cricket because Andy Zaltzman mentions it on his podcast with Jon Oliver. The translator is pony tailed World War One battle re-enactment enthusiast who seems to have some fairly strong views on the Roma community. I think he might be a “Incel” (If that’s the word.) And the first respondent we went to visit for an ethnographic depth interview brewed his own moonshine. He was also a persistent and enthusiastic host, so it’s possible I’ll go blind soon. As with the food I think his moonshine is best sampled in the early hours, when you’re already pissed, but it was a lovely gesture

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