The very first thing one is supposed to know about Romania is also the very unique thing we can brag about without forcing others to run a saw on us. We owe it to the brilliant Bram Stoker, who didn’t imagine that his work would boost Romania’s popularity in such way that the 262,091 square kilometers to be found somewhere in Eastern Europe are now known as “the vampires’ territory” (please also add some dragons, according to J.K. Rowling, just put them there like that, good, that’s perfect, we have our Romania now).
Of course I wouldn’t expect someone to know and respect the history of a country that is choke-full of retards stuffing economy way below the level of total annual precipitation (see Politics section for details), since we are too tiny and disposable to be taken into account (if you dispose of us, then we shalt take all thy bloody vampires back with us into nothingness!). However, I trust that one rule stands alone no matter what: when you travel somewhere, a careful documentation is compulsory – if a little respect for the history of the place you’re visiting is too much, then at least it would be useful to your own pride as a decent human being…
But why am I saying this right now? Well, during one of my recent trips to Cluj-Napoca for the Transylvanian International Film Festival I had to deal with two Bulgarian tourists eager to visit Dracula’s castle. I met them (they were both girls, by the way) in the main train station in Bucharest, having trouble with counting the money they had to pay for the tickets. Being in front of me and also in front of the queue, helping them out not only ended their torment, but also brought them a fresh, young Romanian citizen on the seat next to them, waiting to be tortured with questions and chitchat as long as they would have pleased.
I found out that, surprisingly, the reason they were travelling to Romania was Edward Cullen. I don’t know if you realise what that means for a Romanian Twilight hater. Furthermore, they had no clue about who Dracula was said to have been, about his legend and the tiny bit of history that builds its basis. In fact, I felt so numb I didn’t even have the tiniest wish for my indignation to be understood and lessened. They had an Edward Cullen intelligence quotient, I knew I would have been asking the impossible to them. The ultimate pwning I was doomed to receive was one of them asking if Dracula had a descendant named Edward and whether that could have influenced Stephenie Meyer’s choice of character. As if I would have known how it’s like to be in that woman’s head or all the pain she went through to regurgitate all her four pieces of crap that blew silly teenagers’ brains out.
I dare you to say, after reading my post, that Romanian people are not welcoming or tolerant, but trust me, I would only need a five-minute debate to prove the contrary. Don’t judge all of them by seeing one. Most Romanians (and I mean over 90% by that) don’t take into account details like one’s background or Romanian history lessons taken. Notably, people living in rural areas are very hospitable and their interest is to make someone thoroughly know and feel the aspects that best individualise our country among others. I even recommend the episode of Anthony Bourdain’s travelling show in which he beats the crap out of Romania. And I insist you come and see for yourselves if he highlighted the right things at the right moment. I insist you come and see for yourselves the places he forgot to visit, all the cheap guides he read during editing the journal and not before he left, the parts of the map he ignored, the people he considered useless to meet. Piece of advice: the better the guide, the more unique and closest to the truth will be the sightseeing itself.
Finally, my four-hour Bulgarian torture ended in Brașov, where the train arrived almost one hour late (in Japan they blow trains’ heads off if they are only five minutes late, irrespective of any technical issues that might encounter…). The two eager tourists got down and carried on their pursuit in replanting Edward’s family tree, whereas I had another six hours of Romanian Fcuked-Up Railways to Cluj. And I gave them an e-mail address I no longer use. FML.