Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Not The Same Old Romania


Bucharest is a lady and a whore. An unpaved slum and expensive polished hi-rise malls. Peasant fresh-markets, and one of the last remaining rising stock markets. She's drenched in crumbling Deco, dressed in the rubbed raw damaged velvet of a beautiful bygone era, trying on Armani.

She's cobblestones and dust and a thousand new cars a month with streets and alees built for one-horse shays.

She's thirty five and learning fast. And 65 and still trying to make the indoctrinated past work in new clothes that don't quite fit. She's new money and no way to know what to do with it.

She's a sudden teen-age civilization ranting to be treated like a grown-up with the acne pocks and attitude visible everywhere except in the mirror. And an attractive, wrinkled crone applying expensive new makeup.

Bucharest is dust and mud and such unaccountably beautiful parks. City thoroughfares that swell with proud urbanity bordering unseen crumbles and blocks of blocs. Teeming with un-owned dogs the citizens still feel guilty about, love, and feed their leftovers.

Bucarest is a city that is losing its long held American Dream, seeing what a hash America has recently made of itself. But she does love her Kelloggs and CocaCola, and god knows designer labels, the shinier the better. If you could make a foot-wide Rolex, someone here would wear it.

Here Ugly's only ugly if it isn't expensive.

She's been half a century without. And now she's drunk on Multi-national money and too much to choose from. There are no Communist souvenirs, just a dead statue of Lenin still toppled in Mogoasaia Castle Park. She's busy cleaning out her closet, trading her stained red uniforms for new designer jeans.

She's one of the last few remaining markets standing, so she'll stay a little longer at the dance than some of her smaller brethren or her former over-sized over-seers.

And "Hello. And how is your mother?" Sounds like an argument to an untrained ear, so much Slav in the Romance lingo. But at least it's a friendly argument.

She's technologically chic with next year's cell phones, and still wires her walls without sheathing or insulation. Under Construction and Deconstruction at the same time.

She's trying her best and showing her worst. Trying to figure out what to keep and what to tear down. Aching with growing pains and aching to be somebody again. She's 16th Century and 22nd in the same glance.

Bucharest is suspiciously optimistic. And optimistically suspicious. Growing. Changing fast and sticking fast. Clinging to the past. Running headlong into the Day-After-Tomorrow.

She's throbbing and and exciting and pulsing to discover who she's going to be next.

She'll return your lost wallet, and steal your heart.

And She's goddamn interesting as hell. See for yourself:

Bucharest Now 2007-08


Cory C said...

Look forward to reading more posts soon. I lived in Bucharest for a couple of years in the early 90's. What an interesting place. I loved it, dust/mud and all! Noroc cu treburiile tale si sper sa mai citesc
cate ceva in viitor.


mitzoaca said...

wow, i couldn t have said it better myself. i m a romanian, i live in buch for over 4 years now. i like your style, i ll try to read more of you!