(Photo by Sarah In Romania) It's not often I write blogposts recommending restaurants, but this is an exception to the rule. Just before leaving Bucharest for yet another great jaunt, I was invited to lunch by a friend on str General Berthelot here in Bucharest. We went to Chez Marie, a lovely pad style 1930's owned by Maria Popa who is something of a star.
With her thirty year career as head chef at the British Embassy behind her, she has cooked for an impressive list of British PMs visiting Romania over the years along with Prince Philip, Prince Charles (of whom she is very fond) and Princess Anne. Her restaurant walls are adorned with photos and good wishes, including Christmas cards from GB's royal family, corgis and all. Her English is excellent too, should any Brits in Bucharest be reading who don't speak Romanian but are feeling peckish.
When Maria's time came to retire from the Embassy in 2010, she decided that sitting in front of Romanian soap operas doing generally not much wasn't her cup of tea, so she opened her own restaurant on str D. Lupu near the Anglican church in a lovely old house she renovated for the purpose. An instant hit. She has recently opened another, the aforementioned, on str Berthelot. Take a virtual tour HERE.
Not only is Maria a superb cook, an excellent business woman and a marvellous, welcoming hostess, she is also an absolute sweetheart - and as if feeding her clients isn't enough, she does a great deal for childrens' charities, too. "Giving something back is essential," she told me as I demolished her salata de vinete with unadulterated bliss, accompanied by ardei copti on the side. It's not often one hears this phrase - certainly not in Bucharest anyway. My heart swelled as my tummy followed suit.
"My soul vibrates for all that happens in Romania," she said. "When I hear news that Romanians have done something good, particularly abroad where our reputation leaves a lot to be desired, I am so proud."
Maria has even created a fabulous childrens' area at the back of her immense garden on str. Berthelot. A shame I was too big to play on the slide.
Good for Maria Popa. Big lady, big arms capable of very big hugs - and a huge heart.
Should you be thinking of eating out this evening and can't decide where, go see Maria. The menus are as long as your arm catering for both Romanian and international preferences, the ambiance charming, the service excellent and Maria herself if you haven't already gathered, is a dream of delight. I was loathe to leave.
Strada Dionisie Lupu, 48:See menu HERE
07 30 34 48 10 / 03 11 07 20 33
Strada Gen. Berthelot, 44: See menu HERE
03 14 27 87 76
Both restaurants serve daily from 11h-23h30
(Photo source) I think I'm hallucinating. As you may know from reading my last blog update, Roxana Dascalu contacted the BOR spokesman this morning to tell him about our experience at Snagov Monastery yesterday. He was appalled, told her that there is NO charge to enter a church and neither is there a tax for photography.
Please bear in mind the following facts:
a) There was no sign either outside the monastery nor outside the church stating payment was required.
b) The sum of 20 euros (90 lei on today's exchange rate) as a camera tax is simply outrageous. And why in euros when Romania's money is lei unless it's aimed at foreigners? Romanians do not generally waltz about to monasteries with euros in their pockets as far as I know. When I am here, I certainly do not.
c) No receipt was offered for either the 15 RON entrance fee nor the afore-mentioned tax
d) The woman demanding both was rude, obnoxious and supremely arrogant. Not a very Christian way to behave when one is in a place of religious importance. I don't care where she is from, nor from which ethnicity. You don't treat people like that.
(Photo source) Roxana has given me permission to publish the letter she wrote to Parintele Stoica this morning after having spoken to him on the telephone. Below it, you will find a response, not from Parintele Stoica, but from Arhim.Teofil Anastasoaie (Exarh administrativ al manastirilor) who gives a conflicting answer to that of Parintele Stoica...
But first, Roxana's letter:
(Photo source) Parintele staret nu era prezent in biserica, ci doar o tanara de etnie roma (vedeti imaginile atasate), care ne-a intampinat la intrare si ne-a spus pe ton poruncitor ca trebuie mai intai sa intram in biserica sa platim, ca sa putem apoi vizita biserica si insula.
(Photo source) Este normal, ca in orice biserica sau monument religios, sa existe posibilitatea unor donatii pentru intretinerea si sau restaurarea lacaselor. Ceea ce nu este normal este ce se intampla turistilor romani si straini care vin acolo, sa li se conditioneze intrarea in biserica de plata unei taxe, iar acum, mai nou, sa li se ceara sume in euro pentru fotografii.
(Photo source) Sper ca se vor lua masurile de rigoare si ca aceste practici vor inceta imediat, iar Manastirea Snagov va fi pastorita de un preot/calugar adevarat, cu har si frica de Dumnezeu.
Am primit sesizarea dv si vom cerceta cele mentionate.
Va putem informa insa ca Manastirea Snagov este declarata monument istoric
si vizitarea sau fotografierea/filmarea se poate face achitand o taxa
pentru care se emite un bilet de vizitare sau chitanta. Acest lucru este
intlnit si in muzeele din Marea Britanie sau Occident, unde banuim ca ati
Supararea dv pentru faptul ca s-a solicitat achitarea taxei respective nu
este intemeiata (doar credinciosilor care merg la slujba in intervalul
rezervat slujbelor si participa la ceremonie nu li se percepe taxa de
vizitare, dar nu au voie sa faca fotografii).
Ceea ce vom cerceta noi este faptul ca nu s-a eliberat bilet sau chitanta
pentru suma respectiva !!!
Fotografierea si publicarea imaginii cu persoana care ingrijea biserica
(pe care ati catalogat-o ca apartinand minoritatii rome) nu este corecta
si poate constitui jignire rasista, indiferent de modul in care s-a purtat
Arhim. Teofil Anastasoaie
Exarh administrativ al manastirilor
EXCELLENT news this morning on the corruption scam I wrote about yesterday following a visit to Snagov Monastery with Roxana Dascalu and Emil Berdeli (both Romanian journalists).
Roxana has refused point blank to rest on her laurels and called the spokesman of the BOR, Parintele Stoica, earlier today. She explained what had happened and spared him no details as to the whole sorry turn of events along with her humiliation a) for having to pay to enter her OWN church and b) for having her English friend who loves Romania so much witness this outrage.
Parintele Stoica was appalled and demanded more info which Roxana happily gave him on the telephone. He was, she says, staggered. There is NO charge to enter an orthodox church EVER, he said. For ANYONE. Of the faith or not. And there is DEFINITELY no photo tax. He agreed that there was, without a doubt, something very dodgy going down at Snagov Monastery, and has promised to send an investigative team over there PDQ.
Roxana has since put the whole shameful account in writing and sent it to Parintele Stoica as requested.
If you are on holiday in Romania, PLEASE remember: There is NO entrance fee to visit an Orthodox church. You can give a donation as you enter or leave but that is ALL. And there is NO such thing as a photo tax in a church either. Do NOT pay it, for you will be filling the pockets of crooked monks, gypsies, mafia or whoever else is benefiting from ripping off unsuspecting tourists erroneously believing they are contributing to upkeep and maintenance. Baloney.
The demand for cash to enter a church here in Romania has been going on for years in several places I could mention. Surely the BOR cannot be unaware of such shenanigans. Perhaps this is the first time anyone has felt livid enough to make a stand and report it? For the moment though, let's give the BOR the benefit of the doubt.
Parintele Stoica now knows that a couple of very active journalists are revolted and don't intend to stay quiet, so let's wait and see what happens. For those of you thinking that we'll have to wait until Paştele cailor for anything to be done, all I can say is you obviously don't know Roxana.
Watch this space for more news....
Bravo Rox! Jos palaria!
Today found me in Snagov, about 30km from Bucharest. I have never been to the monastery, though goodness knows I've tried to find it twice to no avail. Today, however, my friend Roxana, her friend Emil and I came up trumps. It was an experience on oh so many levels and I'm still livid. Please make yourselves comfortable and I'll tell you the tale...
First, a little background on this monastery snuggled on a remote island in the middle of a lake. Founded in the early XIVc by Mircea cel Batran and refounded by Vladislav II and Vlad Tepes in the XVc, it is an ancient religious site and best known for being the supposed burial place of Vlad Tepes. Legend has it that he was murdered and decapitated in a nearby forest either by the Turks during battle or by disloyal and rather cheesed off Wallachian boyars just as he was about to overcome the aforementioned Turks and send them packing. The monks of the monastery took it upon themselves to bury him. Perhaps they felt indebted to him for the additions he ordered be added to their 'home' - a prison and a torture chamber. Whatever the reasons, the monks dressed the headless body richly and put it to rest in front of the church altar. It is well documented that his head was taken to parade around in Constantinople - proof that his rule was finally over.
This site gives further mysterious information:
"In 1931-32, archaeologist Dinu Rosetti, under orders from the Romanian Academy, visited the Snagov Monastery in hope of discovering the body of Vlad Tepes.
What he discovered was looted graves. Local legend told of how the body of Tepes lay one step in from the doorway. Not believing it, he went to the worn out and hammered tombstone in front of the altar. Rosetti found the grave beneath empty. (...)
He decided to give the legend a go - he researched the floor in front of the entrance. He soon found an unmarked grave that had not been looted and appeared to be that of a nobleman. He took photographs as an inventory of the tomb's contents. The clothes of the body pointed to a rich man. A ring was later identified as a tournament ring of the kind given at Nuremberg. The skeleton however, still had its head although is documented that Vlad' was decapitated and his head sent to Constantinople.
Dinu Rosetti went forth and announced that he had uncovered the remains of Vlad Tepes but the leading historian of the time, Constantin Gurescu dismissed these claims. Dinu Rosetti's claim is not recognised as a true one."
For more on the history of Snagov Monastery (and there's lots), please see HERE.
It is not surprising to learn then how well-visited and popular this site is, both for tourists and Romanians alike. As we crossed the bridge (it looks every inch an oprescu 'special') - I was sorry there was no longer a row boat to reach the island - the monastery and its surrounding properties came into sight. Flowered gardens, ponies, the biggest turkey (and his harem) I have ever seen in my life... Bref, a place of calm and peace.
We approached the church. A gypsy woman sat inside near the entrance selling candles for 2 lei (everywhere else they're a leu) and announced "15 leu entrance and 20 euros photo tax." 20 what? Euros. EUROS. Of course, we refused to pay both and walked out. Nowhere was it written that entrance to the church was at a price and much less that there was such an absurd photo tax. There was no receipt given for either, of course. A nice little earner. The woman was very sure of herself which convinced us all the more that this was an organised scam. Whoever was responsible for the monastery was involved and raking it in. At the mention of police, the woman didn't flinch. Her reaction in fact was to aim her mobile phone and photograph us with an impertinent grin. The arrogance of her. When we tried to do the same however, she slipped back into the church and closed the door.
Furious, I pushed the door open and took her photo too. Three times. In the first, she hides her face in her scarf; in the second, she turns away; but in the third, she shamelessly smiles for the camera, having decided supposedly that she could be confident of her 'boss's' protection - after all, she is just doing her job. Unfortunately for her, both my companions are active Romanian journalists and, just as indignant if not even more so, intend to thump out a text or two for their various national publications. I hope she'll enjoy the fame.
[Added 19th August: I did post a photo of her here but understand from Arhim. Teofil Anastasoaie (Exarh administrativ al manastirilor) at BOR who wrote to Rox today that is 'not correct' to post photos of people who take care of the monastery and could be considered as racist. Huh? It has thus been removed. It begs the question here as to who the victim actually is. The fleeced tourist and orthodox worshipper who has to pay to enter his own church outside the times of a 'slujba' or the woman who does the fleecing and demanding. As far as I'm concerned, her photo should be blazoned over every newspaper nationwide.]
In the gardens we came across a group of tourists and asked if they'd visited the church. They had. And had they paid the 20 euros for the photo tax? Yes. There were four of them. 80 euros. Just imagine how much money is made under the table in a DAY and then multiply that by seven. How much is that per week? Per month? Per year?!
Back at the car, a man 'helping' people find parking spaces by waving madly at empty lots that were clear as day and needed no indication, wanted to know why we were so angry. We told him and he said that yes, it was down to crooked monks. Crooked monks... is there NO shame?
And so, a word of warning to anyone reading this and considering a trip to Snagov Monastery: Please do NOT pay a leu nor a euro cent to enter the church, for if you do, you are contributing to the illegal filling of some thieving monk's (or monks') pockets on your own hard-earned money.
We drove on to Tiganesti Monastery not far away. No entrance fee and no photo tax, although they were prepared to get a priest to bless Emil's car for 20 lei (that's 4.50 euros - dirt cheap considering the implications). Apparently 70% of Romanians questioned in a survey on introducing such a thoughtful service considered it a great idea. I'm not kidding. The patriarchy of the Church introduced it after increasing demand from car owners and it has been added to the official prayer book, known as ‘divine car insurance’. If you are involved in a crash the next day, I wonder whether you can get a refund - or is it more like a marriage blessing in which there is simply no guarantee...?
Here endeth the tale.
Monday 19th August: There's news! See update HERE
Photos: Sarah In Romania
On the top of a hill overlooking the Sinoe Lake near the mouths of the Danube on the western coast of the Black Sea, the ancient city of Histria - Istria in Greek - stands proud and nostalgic but distressfully neglected. If you know your history and/or have an active imagination however, the atmosphere of Histria cannot fail to evoke visions of an ancient era. Who walked on the stones upon which you walk? Who stood in that doorway? Who sat sewing at that window? I felt myself transported to a time of leather sandals and white togas, loud forums and a symposium or two...
A friend of mine told me today, "Hister or Ister was the name of the river Danube. The Greek geographers thought that the Danube would connect the Black with the Adriatic Sea. The peninsula Istria got its name accordingly."
Histria was founded by Greek merchants in the mid VII century BC (657-6 BC according to Eusebius). During its history, Histria was connected to major events of the Greek, Roman and Byzantine world. It was one of the first Greek colonies founded in the basin of the Black Sea and the oldest colony on the West coast. At the end of the VIc, the fortress was destroyed by Avar-Slavic invasions and many inhabitants deserted the city. The town started to really decline after the middle of the VIIc AD, when urban life-style was replaced by a rural one. Those inhabitants that remained upped and left...
The area remained abandoned until it was rediscovered in 1868. It is a hugely valuable asset to Romanian national heritage but like most historic monuments, it is left unkempt and unloved - roads and malls are far more important than cultural heritage these days, after all.
As you enter the complex, you will find the Histria museum, founded in 1982 under the authority of the Museum of National History and Archaeology in Constanta. There, one can muse over the displays of Greek, Roman and Byzantine archaeology discovered by excavations of Histria and its surroundings: amphorae, inscriptions, pottery, glassware, ornaments and Hellenistic bas-reliefs. Yet this 'new building' is absent of air conditioning (a glass roof in 38° is hardly condusive for attracting tourists), has plaster falling off the walls and is really rather uninspiring - at least, so it felt to me. The need for the welcome breeze and the shade of the trees outside attracted me far more.
As you approach the site, you are overwhelmed by the sheer expanse, the space of it all. Simply beautiful. I'm not sure what I had expected to find, although I was sure there would be a good handful of people on guided tours. But there was no one but us. The only other living thing nearby was a stork in her nest looking expectantly into the distance, perhaps waiting for Mr Stork to return with a fish from the lake for lunch.
"HISTRIA - the oldest town on the territory of present-day Romania - was founded by Greek colonists from Miletus around the middle of the 7th century BC and abandoned by its latest inhabitants in the second half of the 7th century AD. In the course of more than 1,300 years of uninterrupted living, five successive precinct walls defended the city, according to the great historical periods that were crossed (Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic, Early Roman and Late Roman periods). Inside the respective precincts, remarkable monuments were uncovered , beginning with Greek temples and altars and continuing with Roman baths, civil basilicas, rich individual houses and Christian churches as well as a bishopric cathedral. The richness and variety of discovered monuments and archaeological finds exhibited in the local museum made Histria a genuine Romanian Pompeii. The archaeological excavations started by the great Romanian historian Vasile Pârvan in 1914 do not cease to reveal new evidence of the brilliant Greek-Roman civilisation, the matrix of present day European civilisation."
Beautifully expressed. Sadly, this is the one and only information plaque with anything informative visible on it. The others were blank or unreadable no good to man nor beast. How can people possibly know what they are looking at unless they photograph the information mentioned above (with a numbered map) or have the memory of an elephant?
Thigh-high undergrowth (and I'm tall!) strangled the pathways and covered the flagstones. The steps which lead up and down were clearly original and difficult to navigate - certainly not negotiable for anyone without an excellent sense of balance. An electrical box had been nailed to an ancient part of what must have been a church pillar.
This incredible vestige of antiquity just 50 km north of Constanța would be lauded in any other country. It would be a culture centre, a hub of national pride, of education. According to the guard on duty the day we visited however, there is but one yearly festival and a handful of archaeological students who come to dig until the money runs out after a few days. Tourists? Very few. How can it be possible? HOW? Meanwhile the centre of Constanta looks like Beirut. The roads are all dug up (replacing old pipes, perhaps?), there are new malls, new concrete eyesores (hotels, of course) and yet no money for Histria.
I left feeling terribly sad and of course, terribly angry. This country, full of such beauty and incredible history is run by those who do not know (or care) how to love it, nourish it, share and optimise it. Culture, patrimony? Nah. Don't be absurd! Malls are far more lucrative than a pile of stones dating from VIIc BC.
Photos: Sarah In Romania
oprescu's latest illegal massacre: str. Haralambie Botescu 18 - Încă o clădire istorică la pământ...
(Photo source) sorin oprescu, Bucharest's grotesquely corrupt and incompetent mayor, ploughs on in his frenzied, hell-bent determination to destroy the city's patrimony where Ceausescu left off. Those who care and grieve these losses at his hands are a tragic, shameful minority seen as nutty eccentrics standing against progress and modernity. Doubtless, if there were to be an election tomorrow, oprescu and all those others intent on eradicating the Bucharest we know and love would win again. And again. And again and again and again. Today's Romania is sadly made up of a majority of mitocani and I feel desperately sorry, as always, for the minority I mention often. Voting is carried out with unrelenting mirror psychology - criminals vote for criminals, thieves for thieves and imbeciles for imbeciles.
(Photo source) Str. Haralambie Botescu nr. 18 which is part of Romania's Architectural Patrimony and in a 'protected zone' (nr. 02 - Calea Griviţei) is being completely and ILLEGALLY demolished RIGHT NOW to make way for the continuation of Diametrala Buzesti-Berzei-Uranus - easy to do at the weekend when there's no one around to stop it, under the noses of a city that doesn't give a damn. No need to add that the demolition is underway without any signs or indications of a 'chantier' - legal requirements. Legal? oprescu? Huh!
According to Hotnews, a police team from sector 3 eventually showed up at the scene once most of the 'work' was pretty much finished, remarking that authorisation had been given.
Built in the late 19th century by architect Ion Socolescu in a wonderfully eclectic style which combined classic with early neo-Romanesc, the features of Ottoman influence are, or rather, were stunning. The house featured on the 1911 architectural plans of Bucharest under the name "Moștenitorii Caliopi Dumitrescu". The original owner of the building was certainly Caliopi Dumitrescu considering the initials C.D visible on the house.
THIS from Romania Libera published in 2011:
'Curtea de Apel Bucureşti a suspendat, în 30 iunie, definitiv şi irevocabil, autorizaţiile de desfiinţare emise de primarul municipiului Bucureşti pentru 38 de clădiri, în condiţiile în care municipalitatea a demolat deja 36 dintre ele, informează organizaţia Salvaţi Bucureştiul într-un comunicat, potrivit NewsIn.
Din cele 38 de clădiri, 17 imobile erau situate pe segmentul Mircea Vulcănescu - Dinicu Golescu şi 21 de clădiri pe segmentul Calea Griviţei - Mircea Vulcănescu.
Au rămas în picioare clădirile din str. Haralambie Botescu nr. 18 şi str. Cameliei nr. 20. Decizia Curţii de Apel Bucureşti împiedică Primăria să le demoleze şi pe acestea, susţine organizaţia non-guvernamentală. Acesta este al şaselea proces pierdut de Primăria Capitalei pe subiectul Buzeşti-Berzei, arată organizaţia Salvaţi Bucureştiul.'
(Photo source) But, as always, oprescu has ridden rough-shod over the law which is made for little people after all, not megalomaniacs like him, and done the deed anyway.
There is no appropriate adjective to express the heart-ache, the nausea, the revulsion that such a sight causes those precious few still fighting tooth and nail to save the city they love from oprescu's psychopathic massacring. No matter how many times he and the PMB are dragged through the courts and found guilty of illegal demolition, he keeps right on going, ripping the heart out of the city, hacking up its arteries, mangling its organs and bludgeoning the breath out of it in any way he deems fit.
For those who don't give a flying crap, this building counts for nothing. Why keep it? What good does it serve? For those who care, it is a jewel with a soul, a past and a future. Or was.
I simply cannot write anymore...
My thanks to Doina Vella for her kind permission to publish her photographs and to Silvia Colfescu for sharing her knowledge of the house's history with me.
(Photo source) Oprescu's 'pasaj rutier' destined for Piata Presei Libere has been deemed useless by the OAB in an open letter, and rightly so. It does not take the traffic coming from the Bucharest-Ploiesti motorway into any consideration whatsoever, and, apart from that rather erroneous oversight, it will destroy the beautiful zone of Kiseleff itself - one of the very few left in the capital today.
It is nothing more than another example of megalomanic emperor oprescu's hell-bent determination to mutilate and slaughter what remains of old, historic and cultural Bucharest.
(Photo source) The 145m one-way passage plans to link Sos. Bucuresti-Ploiesti with Sos. Kiseleff and Bd. Marasti, with traffic entering the tunnel 200m from the Piata Presei Libere intersection to the right of the Miorita Fountain and exiting at aforementioned Kiseleff and Marasti. See PUZ HERE.
The project, said to cost 18 million euros, ie.75 million lei, is designated to Apolodor owned by Radu Ouatu, a local 'businessman', in what has been termed a 'joint venture'. Apolodor is said to be 'specializat in demolari de cladiri, lucrari de infrastructura si dezvoltari imobiliare'. Nuff said. The project has been unsurprisingly controversial, angering local residents, NGOs and decent architects since the word go....
Please see THIS link with opinions from Ordinului Arhitecților din România, Pro.Do.Mo and others taking part in various forums on-line. It is clear that as far as a public debate goes, the PMB are simply playing games. There is nowhere for the average citizen to go for any information pertaining to this project that is readable, understandable and succinct, nowhere to peruse the materials which illustrate the plans. How is a citizen supposed to be able to form an educated opinion, asks the author Cosmin Teodorescu, if they do not have access to all the necessary info. An excellent question.
If you would like to have your say, HERE is a link for participating in an online debate, open to one and all whether specialist or not.
It should be underlined here that the project will affect several PROTECTED zones: Zone n°15: Kiseleff, n°83: Herastrau and n°74: Complex Sportiv Tineretului...
Even the questions of true cost and completion time are unclear. The PMB is pulling the wool over the eyes of Bucharest's citizens just as it always does in situations such as these. oprescu has vowed a year and two months to a year and a half. Highly unlikely, says Cosmin Teodorescu, given the sum.
Here's a VERY interesting snippet of information for anyone interested: The DSBA (Dorin Ștefan Birou de Arhitectură) worked on the PUZ for both Piata Presei Libere AND Piata Charles de Gaulle. Since 2008, Dorin Stefan has been a member of the CTUAT, the very commission responsible at the PMB for giving the thumbs up (or not) to city projects both public and private in Bucharest. I have written about them often and the posts are NEVER complimentary. Should you not remember, please see HERE. I have always referred to them as The Demolition Brotherhood. A number of its members are deemed highly suspicious since they are engaged in investment projects that have been deeply contested. The CTUAT even go as far as to approve their own projects.
Crooked architects within a commission meant to preserve Bucharest and correctly advise City Hall on its projects? This is an outrageous travesty of justice in a country whose history and patrimony is being systematically and pain-stakingly annihilated to line the pockets of these bisnitari, falsely under the smoke screen of ‘progress’. It's more than enough - the greed has gone too far...
Romania-Insider reports that Bucharest will need a staggering 13 BILLION euros to pay for all oprescu's projects before the end of his mandate in 2016. But never fear. oprescu has that sorted. With only 1 billion euros in budget for Bucharest in 2013, he says more money can arrive via EU funding in the next three years. Yes, of course... let the EU pay for his absurd and grandiose plans to destroy Romania's capital...
Most of the projects announced by oprescu concern infrastructure – underground or above ground passages such as the one in question here at Piata Presei, but also at Piata Iancului, Mihai Bravu, Plaiul Unirii, Piaţa Muncii, Piaţa Sudului, Piaţa Romană (famous for its accompanying Dali statue ), the Buzesti – Uranus new main road, and others. Most of these should be finalised, apparently, by the end of 2014, according to the mayor’s crystal ball. A concert hall with 2,500 seats and another with 500 near Pta Unirii at an estimated cost of 200 million euros is planned for 2014 and aims completion for 2016. The concert venue at Arenele Romane should be renovated, while hospitals Foisor and Victor Gomoiu are to be expanded and modernised by 2015. The plan also features 60 new kindergartens at an estimated cost of 40 million euros, and a three-year deadline has been set for their comppletion. Another project consists of revamping the education infrastructure in Bucharest - a 239 million euro project in itself.
The man is utterly barking...
To support the OAB and STOP this road ever seeing the light of day, please sign the on-line petition and see more info HERE.
Categorie: Guvernare, administrativ, Infrastructura, transporturi.
Destinatar: Sorin Oprescu, Primarul General al Bucurestiului,
Pasajul rutier de la Piata Presei - pentru care Primaria Capitalei vrea sa plateasca 18 milioane de euro - este inutil, sustin reprezentantii Filialei Bucuresti a Ordinului Arhitectilor Romania intr-o scrisoare trimisa primarului Capitalei, Sorin Oprescu. Arhitectii spun ca Primaria Capitalei nu a tinut cont de Autostrada Bucuresti - Ploiesti, urmand ca atunci cand aceasta va intra in Bucuresti in zona Petricani (acum merge doar pana la Soseaua de Centura) traficul pe DN1 sa scada cu 30%, facand inutil pasajul pentru ca intersectia de la Piata Presei se va decongestiona.
Reprezentantii Ordinului Arhitectilor Bucuresti spun ca acest pasaj va incuraja soferii sa treaca prin centrul Bucurestiului, ceea ce va duce la aglomerarea acestei zone.
De asemenea, OAR Bucuresti subliniaza faptul ca prin construirea pasajului in forma actuala se va distruge bd. Kiseleff - unul dintre simbolurile Bucurestiului.
"Dupa cum este bine cunoscut, Soseaua Kiseleff este una dintre cele mai frumoase si incarcate de semnificatii artere ale Bucurestiului. Este bulevardul de promenada cu cea mai veche traditie, axul monumental care conduce catre Arcul de Triumf si, nu in ultimul rand, principala poarta de intrare dinspre nord in capitala Romaniei. Consideram ca acest pasaj este nu numai nejustificat, ci si brutal prin consecintele pe care le va avea asupra Soselei Kiseleff", se arata in scrisoarea trimisa de Ordinul Arhitectilor Bucuresti primarului general al Capitalei, Sorin Oprescu.
Cititi un articol foarte elocvent pe aceasta tema AICI.
(Photo source) Over? Finished? You're kidding. We truly believed this had been put to bed, and that Florentina would be left alone to put her life back together again after it was destroyed by the tragedy which took the lives of six babies, injured five, and left her the scapegoat and whipping boy of a disaster that was neither her fault nor her responsibility. But no.
Today, Florentina was condemned to two years and two months in jail. The technical service chief, Gigel Oprea, was sentenced to two years (is that ALL?!?) and the electrician Vasile Dima who mysteriously came by a cancer diagnosis in 2011 conveniently letting him off the hook back then has also been sentenced - to a suspended two years and eight months. Ioan Adrian Toma, chief of Neontology, was found guilty of negligence but acquitted. Bogdan Marinescu (the hospital manager) however - the TRUE criminal in all this along with Atila, Boc and all the other cronies in government at the time - was fined a miserly 6500 lei and also acquitted by the judge. Florentina must also pay between 50,000- 350,000 euros to the families of the victims, representing moral and material damages.
Florentina's crime? Leaving the room for 12 minutes during a long 12h shift in which she was alone to take care of 11 newborns on high dependency - in a hospital department with NO smoke detectors and an old and dodgy electrical installation. She was not responsible for the staff shortages, the bad scheduling, the lack of a crystal ball nor the NINE year old aircon system that hadn't been overhauled in all that time
The decision is not final and can be appealed - the final judgment could take another year. Let's hope it does and that justice will prevail, though from the start, it has been clear that Florentina is to be the ţapul ispăşitor. I do not know who Florentina now has for a lawyer but I hope he/she is a good one.
What a banana republic this country is. Florentina Carstea is being bashed because of two deeply rotten systems: health and justice - two basic human rights that are all but alive and well in Romania. It is far easier, isn't it, to blame someone like Florentina, than to address the problem at its root and then go after those who are responsible for it. Why bother. Just put an elastoplast on a wooden leg and merge si asa...
For more on the tragedy, Florentina, the irregularities of justice (or rather, the alarming regularities of injustice) and the whole dreadful affair from the very beginning, see DREPTATE PENTRU FLORENTINA. See also HERE, HERE, HERE and HERE.
(Photo source) Today sees the 66th anniversary (and a nice Google doodle) of the Roswell Affair. Roswell, New Mexico sprang to international fame on July 8th, 1947, when local news reported the capture of a flying saucer by government officials in the town.
Since the discovery, conspiracy theorists continue to insist that the debris found came from an alien spacecraft and that the fact was covered up by the military. The persistent belief of alien activity around Roswell triggered the Air Force to launch an investigation into the crash in 1995. Officials concluded that the UFO was part of a balloon launched into the atmosphere in a secret government surveillance programme aimed at the USSR.
Many have refused to accept such an explanation, however, and allege there is/was a conspiracy to hide the existence of extra terrestrial life. I don't know why they'd bother since, judging by the politicians on this planet, alien life-form seems pretty evident.
But it wasn't just wreckage that was discovered back in 1947. Oh lordy, no.
(Image source) As the trajectory of the craft was retraced and examined, 'searchers spotted a second, smaller, relatively more intact though undeniably crashed, machine. Sprawled near it were four bodies. They were not the bodies of human beings,' explains Marshall Brain. Take a look at THIS video - but be warned. It is not for the faint hearted...
We really need some music here for atmosphere. Try THIS to be going on with.
'They were four to five feet tall, humanoid, with big heads, large eyes, and slitlike mouths,' writes Brain, reporting on consistent witness statements. 'They were thin and had long arms with four fingers. An Army nurse who worked on the initial autopsy at Roswell remarked on how fragile the skull and bones were.'
Poor aliens of Roswell. It is clear to me, however, that there wasn't just one UFO that night, nor two. Nope. SCOOP!! There were hoards of the little buggers skimming their way through the skies of Planet Earth looking for intelligent life form. I bet they were disappointed when they got here only to discover there wasn't any.
Here's what I think really happened:
(Photo source) Roswell was not their PLANNED destination. Romania was. Due to an intergalactic storm which upset certain alien mind/machine interface systems, an overly-zealous dinner of meteor meat and starburst-loops and rather too much space weed, the UFO which found itself in New Mexico was, in fact, completely lost with a crew onboard as high as kites. They had become separated from the others and were utterly off-course. In the panic to sober up, they crashed - and the rest as they say, is history, albeit unclear and much debated. Rumour has it that there were a few chancers who survived and tried to hitch, but sadly, they never made it.
(Photo source) The other UFOs, however, were highly successful in their mission to land at their target point - Caracal in Oltenia, Romania. Of course, they didn't arrive immediately, for they had some sightseeing to do first for research purposes. Those of middling to higher intelligence decided to stay in countries they found interesting and renounce the journey to Romania. They managed, it seems, to find very important jobs in government and other official capacities almost from the moment their little green feet touched Earth and became highly skilled in hiding their extra-terrestrial traits and features. Well, almost. George Bush had his off days.
(Photo source right: indescribably strange French alien) After the around-the-world tour which included other parts of the US, Japan, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Australia, France, Spain, Iran, the UK (Thatcher, Gordon Brown, Nigel Farage and, of course, David Cameron), Poland, Belgium and China, those remaining of lesser or no intelligence (but could follow GPS) at all bound for Destination Caracal landed at last in beautiful Romania. They made it their permanent home which was an excellent choice if you ask me, for the parties were better, the alcohol superb and the food more delicious than other places they had visited en route. One should also mention that, of course, for the purpose of their studies on human life form, what country could be more significant in terms of interest?
(Photo source) Every country has its aliens, but there is no doubt that today's Romanian political class are none other than those of the backward variety, with very, very few exceptions. This news will come as no surprise to anyone at all. It explains so much: their inability to speak the language properly; the absence of an authentic education (which is why they rely on lying on their CVs, buying or faking diplomas and plagiarising); their total disregard for human life; their lack of morality, human compassion and understanding for the people of Romania; their absurd decision-making; their indifference to right and wrong and their complete lack of shame. They seem unlikely to be leaving any time soon as they have hypnotised the general population to repeatedly elect them, allowing them to be very comfortable in Romania as the national press regularly testifies. Even those in jail are delighted with their lot. They all live happy, wealthy, care-free lives, completely oblivious to the mayhem and misery they cause humans around them.
(Photo source) Their secret and highly discrete HQ in Caracal, Oltenia can be seen from their planet on a foggy day, and as you will notice in the photograph here, their nostalgia for home rings clear as a bell. The very colour reminds them, touchingly, of their mothers.
So now you know. Mystery solved. Case closed.
This afternoon, I received this very moving and superbly written note on FB by my friend, journalist Roxana Dascalu, in response to my post HERE yesterday (which, I'm ashamed to say, reads like a cold list of distant events rather than something emotional by comparison). She has given me permission to share her text with you here and so I beg you to read it and then circulate it far and wide. It should be published in the Romanian national press for these are memories that make blood run cold and hair stand on end - and it is REAL, HONEST history. To live such times, to witness such horrors as the gratuitous violence carried out by frenzied, manipulated henchmen (miners along with the miscreants who pretended to be) on 13-15 June 1990 in Bucharest, to fear for ones life and to need such presence of mind to survive... Talk about painting a picture with words. Memories such as these on the savagery of the regime are, every one of them, a lesson - both a cry of pain for the present and an anguished howl of warning for the future.
Of course, there are many witness statements to be found all over the web. But these memories are Roxana's and, because she is my friend, they are also now a little bit mine too for I see them all unfold in the text below just as one would in a film. With my heart in my mouth and with horrified goose flesh, I watch it all through her eyes and yet, I cannot begin to imagine her terror and her nauseating grief. My luck? That I was born elsewhere in another world - and that I never knew such things....
Here is Roxana (in Romanian):
Cred ca imi este mai usor sa scriu o nota despre lucruri pe care le-am trait acum 23 de ani si care ma mai infioara inca...Si am sa o scriu in romana, pentru inceput, limba parintilor mei, nu si a celor fara de Dumnezeu si lege, despre care voi scrie in cele ce urmeaza.
Eram jurnalist la Reuters, si nu mai aveam somn de mult, deoarece Romania se incapatana sa tina prima pagina a ziarelor lumii in lunile care au urmat "revolutiei" din decembrie 1989...
Pentru mine, ca roman, alegerile din mai 1990 fusesera o catastrofa. Ca jurnalist, obtinusem insa un ''premiu'' - trista distinctie - primul interviu pe care l-a acordat presedintele proaspat ales Ion Iliescu, in sufragii de-a dreptul ametitoare, pe care noi, cei de la Reuters, fusesem singurii care le anticipaseram, celelalte agentii supralicitand venirea la putere a democratilor anti-comunisti, pe modelul din celelalte foste tari comuniste din Est...
"Premiul" a constat din interviu, si din fotografia color, facuta de colegul meu, excelentul artist vizual Adrian Popescu, in care Iliescu, arborand faimoasa lui cravata cu trandafiri rosii, ma tine de mijloc, plin de curtoazie...in cealalta parte, regretatul Hugh (Huge) Pain, unul dintre cei mai mari, la propriu si la figurat, jurnalisti pe care mi-a fost dat sa ii intalnesc vreodata, si impreuna cu care facusem celebrul interviu - Iliescu acceptandu-ne doar pe noi, cei de la Reuters si pe cei de la TF1, principala televiziune privata din Franta.
Am pe undeva, prin cotloanele casei mele, poza respectiva, dar nu o voi folosi inca, in ilustrarea acestor note, care sunt despre o intamplare a mea, de acum 23 de ani, jour pour jour, din iunie 1990.
Plecasem de acasa imbracata in negru de sus pana in picioare, ca sa nu atrag atentia minerilor si a cetanenilor ''de bine'', care ii semnalau, spre bataie, pe intelectuali si pe femeile imbracate occidental, sau cu fusta prea scurta. Atlfel spus, eram imbracata dupa canoanele LOR, fundamentaliste.
In geanta, am avut prevederea sa pun faimoasa poza color cu Iliescu, care avea sa imi salveze viata sau macar pielea, asa cum vei vedea.
Biroul nostru era la Intercontinental - acolo functiona presa internationala, acolo aveau loc principalele conferinte de presa, acolo era centrul viu al Bucurestiului, langa Piata Universitatii, unde avusese loc acea demonstratie-maraton, anti-comunista, a oamenilor care isi doreau o Romania normala si civilizata, europeana.
De la birou, am decis sa merg vis-a-vis, la vechea mea Alma Mater, sa vad ce au facut minerii care ocupasera vechea si draga mea Universitate. Nu le-am spus colegilor mei britanici decat ca merg sa iau pulsul Pietei, acum ''curatata'' de protestatari si invadata de politie si mineri...
Am intrat in cladirea Universitatii, la Facultatea de limba si literatura romana. In decanat, doi mineri tocmai terminasera pranzul copios, asezati la biroul decanului, unde inca mai exista un resou improvizat, de pe vremurile de trista amintire a iernilor fara incalzire, din Bucurestiul tot mai cenusiu al lui Ceausescu...
Cand m-au vazut, cred ca aveam o figura foarte solemna, dar amenintatoare, toata in negru imbracata, au dat repede jos cizmele de pe catedra decanului, de sub tabloul lui Eminescu, inca agatat pe perete...Le-am impus cumva respect, caci m-au insotit spre partea din cladire unde un profesor de geologie, putin cunoscut lumii la vremea aceea, inca tinea orele cu studentii sai. Am aflat mai tarziu ca se numea Constantinescu, Emil. Dar asta e o alta poveste romaneasca, cu final trist si dezamagitor...
Revenind spre Intercontinental, plina de furie greu stapanita, si de teama abia mascata, l-am vazut pe un tanar fotoreporter, la vremea aceea, Tudor Lucaciu, cum apare cu camera de gat, in fata mea. Mi-a inghetat sangele in vine...
Stiam ca exista consemn ca nimeni nu are voie cu camere de filmat sau fotografiat in zona, cel putin asa ne avertizasera cei de la Inter...altfel riscam distrugerea aparatelor, in cel mai bun caz, si bataia sfanta cu batele, spre luare aminte...
O incarcatura proaspata de mineri tocmai coborau dintr-un camion, pe bulevard, la o aruncatura de bat de noi. I-am facut semn lui Tudor sa stea lipit in spatele meu, si sa-si ascunda camera de fotografiat in vesta larga, neagra, pe care o purtam...
Cat ai zice ''miner'', am fost inconjurati de o gloata furioasa si agitata, cu bate si fetze care nu prevesteau nimic bun...
Unul dintre ei m-a intrebat unde stau Coposu, Ratiu si Ana Blandiana...Le-am spus ca nu stiu, dar tot nu ne-au lasat in plata Domnului, Le-am aratat legitimatia/acreditare de ziarist la Reuters, emisa de Ministerul de Externe...Asta nu a facut mare impresie, dimpotriva...
Cand menghinea se strangea mai tare in jurul nostru, care formam o stranie struto-camila neagra, mi-am introdus lent si deliberat, privindu-i tot timpul in ochi, mana in geanta, si am extras poza color cu Iliescu (iarta-ma Doamne!) ...
Mi-am pus-o scut, pe piept. Am auzit un oftat orgasmatic, cum ar spune prietena mea Sanda, tasnind din cele peste 20 de piepturi de miner...S-au strans si mai aproape, iar unul dintre ei, mai tanar, si-a desclestat incruntarea de pe fata, transformand-o intr-un rictus stirb, a intins mana si a inceput sa mangaie, aproape obscen, poza lui Iliescu de pe pieptul meu": "Om bun!, Om Bun!" repeta el, ca intr-o litanie naucitoare.
Un ofiter de securitate, costumat in miner, (dupa aspectul impecabil al mainilor si hainelor sale), a rasarit de nicaieri si le-a strigat un ordin de incolonare...Au disparut, la fel de repede, tropotind ca niste bizoni salbatici, cu batele la purtator, asa cum si venisera...
Ca o paranteza, - ajunsa in fine inapoi la birou, aflu ca, fara sa stiu/vreau, ajunsesem ''top of the news", deoarece echipa unei televiziuni americane, ABC, daca nu ma insel, filmase toata scena, de sus, de la unul dintre ultimele etaje ale Intercontinentalului. Vazand minerii napustindu-se asupra noastra, au crezut ca va urma un macel - nu intelegeau ce miracol se produsese acolo, langa Inter, cum de scapasem nevatamata din gloata aceea furibunda...
Obiectivul lor nu putuse focaliza pe damnata si salvatoarea poza cu Iliescu...
Un alt flash-back, sau flash-forward...O zi mai tarziu, cred, am fost trimisa la sediul Partidului National Taranesc, din Piata Rosetti, deoarece mi s-a spus ca pot intra acolo, impreuna cu procurorii, sa vedem ce s-a intamplat peste noapte. Televiziunea romana de stat relatase ca minerii descoperisera bancnote false de dolari si droguri...Dumnezeule Mare!
Ajunsa acolo, am vazut iadul pe Pamant. Pentru prima si ultima data, sper, in viata, m-am blocat...In biroului Seniorului Coposu, portretele lui Mihalache si Maniu zaceau pe jos, printre schelete si oase de peste, resturi soioase de mancare, urme de cizme si hartii si carti rasturnate si calcate in picioare...Devastarea fusese totala, simteam inca urma urii cum musteste din peretii descojiti...
...M-am intors, muta, la birou, si am rugat-o pe o colega britanica, mult mai detasata si proaspat sosita la Bucuresti, sa mearga ea sa relateze scena dezastrului de acolo...
In rest, mai tin minte ca spre Intercontinental, am fost acostata de o femeie in straie de miner, cu unghii incredibil de lungi si vopsite intr-un rosu intens, spilcuite, care mi-a spus ca este mineritza si vrea sa dea interviu presei internationale...o alta incercare de manipulare a securitatii...eram prea stoarsa si epuizata ca sa mai reactionez...
Am debarcat, pentru prima data in viata, cinci zile mai tarziu, la Londra...Colegii de la sediul Reuters, de acolo, erau curiosi sa ne cunoasca, pe noi, cei doi romani, Adrian si eu, care relatasem "totul", de la fatza locului, zilele, noptile, saptamanile si apoi lunile de dupa 25 decembrie 1989, cand ne-am intalnit si am inceput sa lucram cu ei...
Nu m-am putut bucura, asa cum ar fi trebuit, de spectacolul fascinant al Londrei...aveam inca un gust de zgura de carbune in suflet...Imi era literalmente, greu sa respir...
Mi-a fost greu sa ii fac pe britanici sa inteleaga ca totul este pierdut pentru Romania...si ca asta NU este Romania mea...
De ce nu am cerut azil politic atunci, sau la urmatoarea mineriada, este o intrebare pe care, draga Sarah, te rog sa nu mi-o pui...Cel putin nu inca...Mi-o pun eu in fiecare clipa acum, a posteriori...
In rest, despre mineri, manipulare, securitate, iliescu & Cie, sa auzim cat mai repede, si numai de bine, de pe banca azuzatilor, in justitie. Desi, tare ma tem ca nu...
14 iunie 2013