Sorin Oprescu: I am the first independent mayor of Bucharest. Blaga: I ran a well-intended campaign
de V.O. HotNews.ro
Duminică, 15 iunie 2008, 21:29 English | Politics
Shortly after exit polls for Bucharest mayor elections on Sunday announced his victory, Sorin Oprescu thanked those who voted for him and claimed he would be the first independent mayor of Romania's capital city while June 15 will remain in history as "one of the most beautiful days of democracy".
Oprescu was supported in the elections by the opposition Social Democratic Party (PSD), which he resigned from in order to run in the local elections. For his part, Vasile Blaga, the candidate for the Liberal-Democratic Party (PD-L), admitted defeat as exit-polls were announced.
According to Sorin Oprescu, "it was not I who made history, it was your vote that did so today. Your vote was stronger than their interests", he said, referring to allegations that incumbent PD-L mayor Adriean Videanu has involved the city hall in preferential dealings with firms controlled by people close to him.
For his part, Vasile Blaga said regarding his defeat that when ballot boxes speak, then politicians have to shut up. He said that he ran a well-intended campaign which was based on solutions for Bucharest's various problems and not on demagoguery. PD-L leader Emil Boc said the Bucharest branch of his party did all it could in order to win the elections and while he would have liked different results, "unfortunately Bucharest citizens would be the ones to lose following elections today".
Mircea Geoana, the leader of the Social Democrats, who backed Oprescu in his campaign for Bucharest mayor, said that the results today were "a smashing defeat for [President] Traian Basescu" who, he says, lost all credibility and legitimacy for getting involved in the local elections campaign. Geoana also said on Sunday Bucharest citizens "removed the Rightist dictatorship" - referring to the fact that the capital city of Romania has long been a stronghold for parties opposing the Social Democrats.
Rosie and I are off to Brasov for the weekend. Very impatient to see Lidia and Marian - it's been seven weeks since we were last together so there's a lot of catching up to do.
The coolness of the mountains isn't far away. Here in Bucharest, it's 29° (so they say but it feels hotter)... And for a change, we're going first class. The difference was 20 ron so thought it was about time we travelled in style. Never taken first class before except the night train to and from Sighet. Rosie has packed her case, the taxi will be here in seven minutes and we're ready to go.
Have a lovely weekend, one and all.
Love, Sarah xox
Whilst in Dalles yesterday, which professes a wonderful second-hand bookshop, I stumbled upon a book of his poetry deliciously translated by various translators. Suffice to say that it's in Romanian, English and Italian, and I'm so thrilled to have found it. What a 'trouvaille'! There I was surrounded by piles of old books, the smell of musty pages in my nose.
So what can I tell you about Marin Sorescu? Well, he was born in Bulzesti in 1936, and although invited to places such as Mexico to read and take part in poetry festivals, here in Romania he is known more as a playwright and his works have been performed all over the world. Like his compatriots Lucian Blaga and Eugene Ionesco, Sorescu's works usually contain paradoxes and absurd situations used as metaphors for other situations.
He has published seven volumes of poetry to date, including 'Only Between Poets', 'Poems', 'Don Juan's Youth' and others.
In 1981 he was interviewed by 'The News' and said, 'I usually write about the solitude that exists between people and how this can be penetrated. I also write about man in relation to nature, how man has lost the meaning of nature and in fact works contrarily to his own environment.'
He added, 'I always write for myself, but there exists also the sense of writing for a larger audience. To me, writing is a way of thinking. You see things as a rational whole, and then abstract the subject by using a metaphor in order to fully explore the theme.'
Sorescu explained that there currently exists in Romania a very important avant-garde poetry movement that works in a modern spirit. There is a huge public response to this new work and it's exhibited in mass printings of volumes of verse.
'Writing is a kind of sickness', he explains. 'It's like an internal fever. There's absolutely no cure, simply because the writer would become 'normal'...and that's no way to go. It's compulsory: we must write. Poetry links interior and exterior life. It links men with that which exists within and without himself.' (extracts taken from The News, 1 Sept, 1981)
The poem below, 'Shakespeare Created The World in Seven Days', really makes me chuckle. Enjoy!
Shakespeare a creat lumea în sapte zile.
În prima zi a fãcut cerul, muntii si prãpãstiile
În ziua a doua a fãcut rîurile, mãrile, oceanele
Si celelalte sentimente -
Si le-a dat lui Hamlet, lui Iulius Caesar, lui Antoniu,
Cleopatrei si Ofeliei,
Lui Otello si altora,
Sã le stãpîneascã, ei si urmasii lor,
În vecii vecilor.
În ziua a treia a strîns oamenii
Si i-a învãtat gusturile:
Gustul fericirii, al iubirii, al deznãdejdii,
Gustul geloziei, al gloriei si asa mai departe,
Pînã s-au terminat toate gusturile.
Atunci au sosit si niste indivizi care întîrziaserã.
Creatorul i-a mîngîiat pe cap cu compãtimire,
Si le-a spus cã nu le rãmîne decît sã se facã
Si sã-i conteste opera.
Ziua a patra si a cincea le-a rezervat rîsului.
A dat drumul clovnilor
Sã facã tumbe,
Si i-a lãsat pe regi, pe împarati
Si pe alti nefericiti sã se distreze.
În ziua a sasea a rezolvat unele probleme
A pus la cale o furtunã,
Si l-a învãtat pe regele Lear
Cum trebuie sã poarte coroana de paie.
Mai rãmãseserã cîteva deseuri de la facerea lumii
Si l-a creat pe Richard al III-lea.
În ziua a saptea s-a uitat dacã mai are ceva de fãcut.
Directorii de teatru si umplusera pamîntul cu afise,
Si Shakespare s-a gîndit cã dupã atîta trudã
Ar merita sã vadã si el un spectacol.
Dar mai întîi, fiindcã era peste mãsurã de istovit,
S-a dus sã moarã putin.
The first day he made the sky,
The mountains, and the spiritual abysses.
The second day he made the rivers, the seas
The oceans, and the sentiments
Giving them to Hamlet, Julius Caesar, Antony,
Cleopatra and Ophelia
To Othello and others
To master, they and their descendants,
The third day he gathered all people
And taught them the tastes:
The taste or happiness, of love, of distress,
The taste or jealousy, glory and more
Until all tastes had been accounted for.
Then some characters came along late.
The creator patted them fondly on the head
And said the only thing left for them to become
Was literary critics
To deny his works.
The fourth and fifth days
Were dedicated to laughter.
He let out the clowns to do somersaults
And let kings, emperors
And other unfortunates have fun.
The sixth day
He solved some administrative problems
Plotted a storm
And taught King Lear
To wear the crown of straws.
There was still some waste left
From the creation of the world
So he made Richard III.
The seventh day he wondered whether
There was anything left to do:
Stage directors had already
Flooded the earth with posters
So Shakespeare decided after so much labour
He deserved to see a show himself.
But first, as. he felt quite exhausted,
He passed away for a while.
Moooorte de rire!!!
Mihai Eminescu (January 15, 1850 – June 15, 1889), born Mihail Eminovici, was a late romantic Romanian poet, unanimously celebrated as the greatest and most representative of his country. Nicolae Iorga, the Romanian historian, considered Eminescu the godfather of the modern Romanian language.
Eminescu achieved a comprehensive, penetrating and visionary synthesis of the old Thracians, Dacian custom and Latin traditions that have merged over the past two millenia into an original Romanian cultural pattern, extended over the Carpathians to the Danube and the Black Sea.
Eminescu had only twenty years in which to fully accomplish his work (1864-1883), but in this short time he influenced Romanian consciousness deeply, promoting ideals of social equity, the preservation of national unity, independence and sovereignty and the fight for truth and beauty in both life and art.
He awoke a kind of historic self-awareness in the Romanian people and encouraged a vision of further development - equality with the rest of the world through the sharing of tragic historical events but without ever being submissive along with an ability to build a "great future" in the intense rhythm of European culture and civilisation.
Eminescu was influenced by the work of Arthur Schopenhauer and some have suggested that his most famous poem, "Luceafarul" was based upon an older German work or the Katha Upanishad. Eminescu's poems have been translated into over 60 languages world-wide. Please visit this wonderful blog dedicated to Mihai Eminescu.
Below, one of my favourite poems:
Departe sînt de tine
Departe sunt de tine şi singur lângă foc,
Petrec în minte viaţa-mi lipsită de noroc,
Optzeci de ani îmi pare în lume c-am trăit,
Că sunt bătrân ca iarna, că tu vei fi murit.
Aducerile-aminte pe suflet cad în picuri,
Redeşteptând în faţă-mi trecutele nimicuri;
Cu degetele-i vântul loveşte în fereşti,
Se toarce-n gându-mi firul duioaselor poveşti,
Ş-atuncea dinainte-mi prin ceaţă parcă treci,
Cu ochii mari în lacrimi, cu mâni subţiri şi reci;
Cu braţele-amândouă de gâtul meu te-anini
Ţi parc-ai vrea a-mi spune ceva... apoi suspini...
Eu strâng la piept averea-mi de-amor şi frumuseţi,
În sărutări unim noi sărmanele vieţi...
O! glasul amintirii rămâie pururi mut,
Să uit pe veci norocul ce-o clipă l-am avut,
Să uit, cum dup-o clipă din braţele-mi te-ai smult...
Voi fi bătrân şi singur, vei fi murit de mult!
Now far I am from you
Now far I am from you, before my fire alone,
And read again the hours that so silently have gone,
And it seems that eighty years beneath my feet did glide,
That I am old as winter, that maybe you have died.
The shadows of the past swift stream across life’s floor
The tale of all times, nothings that now exist no more;
While the wind with clumsy fingers softly fumbles at the blind
And sadly spins the fibre of the story in my mind…
I see you stand before me in a mist that does enfold,
Your eyes are full of tears and your fingers long and cold;
About my neck caressing your arms you gently ply
And it seems you want to speak to me, yet only sigh.
And thus I clasp entranced my all, my world of grace,
And both our lives are joined in that supreme embrace…
Oh, let the voice of memory remain for ever dumb,
Forget the joy that was, but that nevermore will come,
Forget how after an instant you thrust my arms aside,
For now I’m old and lonely, and maybe you have died.
[Translated by the incomparable Corneliu M. Popescu]
Nine O'Clock, issue 4201, p. 1, 12/06/2008
The European football gala has kicked off and it shows its capacity daily for making a show. Millions of fans await evening after evening for the spectacle with its emotions, dramas and joys brought to them on the small screen between the 16 national teams who qualified for EURO 2008. It has hardly started and some of us already wonder: what shall we do when it's all over?
Although we speak about football, we shall not speak of results. We will leave this for the pages dedicated to that, enjoyed by everybody. Or almost everybody. We shall discuss, to a bigger or smaller extent, the Romanian team. Not from the point of view of the results, but from the perception. And not only that. That and the country Romania.
It's been eight years since Romania last participated in the finals of the European Championship.
That's time to forget some of the “asperities” brought forth before and during the big confrontations between opponents from the group. If it were only the “teasing”, that would not be such a big deal. But as Romanians, the major international competitions – and especially in football, the sport where the players are more or less used to respect – insult us not necessarily as a team, but as a whole nation.
We remember a British joke posted on the internet from several years ago which presented some theoretical game schemes of the teams. Brazil, Germany, France, etc. – all of them had scenes on the pitch. But what was Romania doing? Its bit referred to watching the championship on TV. The Romanians laughed but did not react. Actually it was true, the national team had not qualified for the final.
“Jokes” come up all the time. That of the Virgin Media left us with a rather bitter taste. While Italy, France and The Netherlands were presented with the Colosseum, the Eiffel Tower or a specific Dutch landscape, Romania's leg was pulled. On the screen appeared several fat men with thick gold chains and huge crosses. The Romanian Embassy in London was presented with an official apology and the clip was withdrawn. But the image was created. The Romanians are rather rough people, with… broad faces and an opulent way of showing their wealth. We called the presentation an obvious exaggeration. But, at the first match of Romania in the EURO 2008, along with France, the cameras focused on a person in the stands from that respective background…
We know this already, those from the Dambovita banks. The nouveau-riches enjoying a ride in the biggest SUVs on the market, complete with defying look. These are things we see at home. However, the image of Romanians abroad is immediately caught and amplified. Wherefrom also comes the opinion of the Western citizen, not at all favourable towards Romanians, who have just so recently joined the EU. However, if we are told not to be racists (on the Romanian TV channels the ethnic affiliation of the person, whoever he is, is no longer mentioned, he is only a Romanian citizen), in exchange tactics are used to characterize us negatively at any cost. Between “Roma” and “Romanian” the difference is not huge when it comes to spelling.
There is one more cartoon in which a beggar on a street corner is assimilated with the Romanian in general, or the advert for a car brand in which the car “Romania” overturns at the slightest touch. We should not forget, both Italy and The Netherlands overturn as easily. Less easily does the French car. Then again, these are absolutely benign jokes.
When we believed that we had got rid of (let’s say slightly malicious) jokes, the surprise comes from Israel. As the daily “Gardianul” informs us, the Israelis from Eshed Production are those who continue the series of ironies against Romanians publishing two animated episodes on Internet. The hint at Romania is more than obvious, the so-called players dressed in yellow and playing against France and Italy. These two episodes show a Romanian team consisting of seven players, two of them short, big-bellied and with moustaches, a big woman with big breasts, an old man who leans all the time against a grave stone, a fair-haired child and a goat. One thing is certain: the end of the second film finds the team behind bars after violence on the field… Is this a compliment to Romanians?
The respective cartoons fall prey to serious confusion, intended or not. They do not mention the name 'Romania', but the state “Kossovocho” (a clear hint at the newly proclaimed state Kosovo) that Bucharest has not recognized officially. I have seen many short films and, quite shamefully, I did not understand the clue. The only perceptible thing is the irony against Romanians, even if they are presented under another name.
When all's said and done, we are rather confused. When Europeans, and not only them, get bored, their fun is jokes against Romanians. Some of them, we admit, have a grain of truth which is far from honouring us, namely the behaviour of our fellow citizens abroad. Others simply border the absurd. Maybe we should also joke about others. After all, nobody is perfect.
PS: The French TV Channel M6 just did its part of the job, insulting Romanians directly.
by Victor Lupu
French TV station M6 fined for calling Romanian team "hen thieves"
de Radu Rizea HotNews.ro
Miercuri, 11 iunie 2008, 14:50 English | Top News
The French authority for radio and TV regulations and survey decided to impose sanctions against the M6 TV station, which broadcast live the Romania - France (0:0) football game, given the fact that a journalist referred to the Romanian national team as "hen thieves" (Fr.: "voleurs de poules").
Journalist Dominique Grimault said during the "100% foot" show that the Romanian players are nothing but petty thieves. The CSA (the authority for radio and TV regulations and survey) reacted promptly, describing the language as offensive and discriminatory.
The game reached an audience of 9.6 million viewers, which is an absolute first for M6.
From Nine O'Clock:
published in issue 4198, p. 12, 09/06/08
The Foundation SOCIETA Club UNESCO will open a new exhibition room at the Tiav Gallery in the old part of Bucharest (end of str. Cauzasilor, sector 3, just north of Bd. Unirii, off Mihai Voda) on Wednesday 11th June. A group of artists both from Romania and abroad will have permanent exhibitions here. Among them are Letitia Oprisan, Mircia Dumitrescu, Lorin Lucan, Aurel Pastrascu, Radu Dumitru, Rares Pantea, Andrei Romoceanu, Iulia Lucan, Emilia Kiss, Dumitru Cosma, Daniela Trandafir, Giuseppe Lisciotto – Italy, Marc Huet Zoro – USA.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Saturday: from 10.30 and 19.00; Mondays: 14.00 and 19.00. Closed Sundays.
The opening of the new room at the Tiav Gallery will take place with an inauguration ceremony and piano recital by Leonard Mocanu.
See more: http://www.tiavgallery.ro/ A mixed bunch of styles but maybe worth a visit? Of course I will be working Wednesday 11th June til 20h30, but do go, my Bucurestean friends, and tell me all about it. xox
Happy Sunday! I've just come back from a lovely walk around the Kiselef area with Eugenia. Nicole sent me an album with some gorgeous houses, some of which were in this neighbourhood, and I was keen to go and see them. Eugenia was just as keen, and we'd already had a lengthy discussion regarding the Toma Stelian House. So, this morning we hit the road.
Wending our way down str. Bruxelles and str. Washington, we found ourselves on Piata Quito. Flori and I had spent a lot of time here trying to fathom a strange looking monument of four sculpted columns crowned with golden eagles and a globe inscripted with signs of the zodiac. I'd completely misunderstood the symbolism at the time and Eugenia was enthusiastic to educate me. The sculpted columns depicted not an Indian squaw with long plaits resembling Pocahontas to a tee at all, but a peasant from Moldavia (cow's head is the mascot of Moldavia). The chiselled man, I'd been sure, was a second world was soldier. Not at all. He represents a peasant too. He's not holding a gun as I had imagined, but an instrument a little like a very long flute used for calling his sheep. The branches are from an olive tree, symbolic of peace. The angel above him is visible on all four columns and represents the Guardian Angel of Aviators. She was clearly having an 'off' day, as this memorial is for Mircea Zorileanu, 1884-1919, an aviator killed in action. Aeroplanes are all over the columns and I hadn't noticed them before. It was built in 1937. There is no plaque, and therefore I hadn't had any idea of the reason for such a strange monument. Eugenia, however, polished the marble with her foot and there was the name M. Zorileanu. Just goes to show! I was so glad to have understood this memorial as it had puzzled Flori and I for such a long time. I have walked past it often, wondered and wondered. Now I know, and instead of finding it strange, I like it very much. The eagles are not a symbol of the Third Reicht or of occupation as I had supposed. They represent aviators.
We continued our stroll along the shaded streets approaching the elegant Soseaua Kiselef. A horror was close by. The beautiful Ausnit house (architect Louis Blanc?) that became the Embassy of Argentina after World War 2 and is now the administrative mansion of Gigi Becali, the soit-disant politician. Such a beautiful house has been defaced by gold leaf and utter, unthinkable kitsche. Red carpet from the pavement leading up to the majestic front steps is one thing, but the horrendous and aberrant crucifix in the garden is the cherry on the cake to make you want to reach for a bucket. It overlooks bd. Aviatorilor and was, I heard, placed there just before the Nato Summit, probably to impress the VIPs. This is an Orthodox country, and the crucifix is not a symbol of the faith. It is a huge scream of ignorance and blasphemy, offensive and vulgar. I had wanted to check it out as I'd driven past it on the way to work, but there was never any time. I almost wish I hadn't bothered. Ugh. How sad that this beautiful, elegant house should be turned into a Barbie mansion of tasteless gaudiness.
Fortunately, to assuage our disgust, we could drink in the lovely house of Elena Lupescu, mistress and eventual wife of King Carol II. It stands on the corner of Aviatorilor and Aleea Modrogan, and is surrounded by a gorgeous park. Today, it is the Democratic Party Head Quarters. About Elena Lupescu, Nicole my history teacher (!) and rechercheuse extraoooooordinaire says the following: "She was née Gruenberg, father jewish, mother catholic, King Carol II's lover for many, many years. As you know, he abdicated in 1940 and left with many precious paintings that belonged to the national museum, among them an El Greco.They settled in Estoril, a magnificent resort in Portugal where they spent a leasurely life, ignorant of the war. They married in 1947, in Brazil and lived happily ever after; he died in 1957 (not sure) and she followed much later, in 1977." So now you know everything I do. Thank you, Nicole, as always.
On to Kiselef, via str. Ion Mincu, we passed in front of the Doina Restaurant, a gorgeous piece of architecture. I'm hoping someone can tell me a bit of history concerning this elegant house built in typical Roumanian style (pix left).
A little further along, the target of our walk, the Toma Stelian House. The caretaker was quite adorable. I explained that I was a journalist interested in Roumanian architecture, and could I look around (this ruse often works!). He was genuinely sorry to tell me that a conference was under way inside, and that due to the high security and TV cameras, he'd be very happy to show me around if I came back in twenty minutes or so. Eugenia tried not to splutter with laughter. Anyway, said the caretaker, as long as the politicians were having their meeting, photos were forbidden anyhow... Eugenia was very attached to this gorgeous house. She had spent many hours here as a child, when it was a museum. I don't think she really wanted to go inside now that it was the PSD head quarters, and all the beautiful exhibits were at the Museum of Art Collections on cal. Victoriei. I'll come back another time alone now that I know the caretaker will give me a tour. In the garden is an ugly statue of the head of Eminescu. It has no connection whatsoever with the style of the house, and sadly the defunct poet is devoid of respect and elegance here.
It was such a nice morning. I would like to have a bit more info. on the architects, history of these houses and their old occupants. As soon as I find them, I'll add them to this post.
In the meantime, enjoy the Sunday afternoon!
Thank you Eugenia! What a nice way to spend a Sunday.
Love, Sarah xox
From the Herald Tribune
Peles castle was built in the mountain resort of Sinaia in the late 19th century by Romania's first German-born king, Carol of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen. It was confiscated by the former Communist regime after Michael abdicated in 1947. The nearby Pelisor and Foisor palaces also will be returned.
Michael, 85, hailed the return of his castle, a place where he spent most of his childhood.
"This is not just about returning a possession, but also an act of moral and historical reparation," he said in a statement. He added that the castle, which is well preserved and is one of Romania's top tourist attractions, would remain forever a museum, and would never be used for commercial purposes.
The former king is the last living European leader who was in power during WWII.
The government has agreed in principle to buy the Peles castle back from the former king, with a memorandum to be signed next week. The royal family wants to use the Pelisor palace as its headquarters, but parts of it will remain a museum.
Michael and his daughter, Princess Margarita, have been acting as goodwill ambassadors in recent years, supporting Romania's efforts to join the European Union in 2007.
Romania has passed legislation to return property seized by Communist-era authorities to its former owners.The government and Michael initially reached a deal in 2005 in which the former king would be paid €30 million (US$40 million) instead of regaining the Peles castle, but a court invalidated it, ruling that Michael could not be given special treatment. Michael's representatives have said he would sell the castle to the state for the same price.
Last year, the government returned the 15th century Bran Castle, known for its ties to medieval prince Vlad the Impaler who inspired Bram Stoker's "Dracula" novel, to other members of the former royal family.
Bran Castle will remain open to the public as a museum for the next three years, according to an agreement signed by the Culture Ministry and the new owners.
Following the outrageous video released by Virgin Media in UK for the Euro Cup, I scribed a rant on Wednesday night and removed it yesterday as it really WAS a stinky rant. Regret removing it now. Should have left it there. VM have since withdrawn the film, due to a massive reaction from the public, which showed Italy symbolised by the Colosseum, Germany by the Brandenberg Gates and Roumania represented by...fat gypsies complete with 'burta' and gold chains with huge Becali style crosses on the end. I was so horrified, disgusted.... The symbol of Roumania is surely the Ateneum, is it not? Or the rolling hills and monasteries of Bucovina, the Danube Delta with its magnificent wildlife, Bran Castle perhaps or Peles, the majestic mountains of the Carpati range? No wonder racism against Roumanians continue in the west with idiots like Virgin Media launching such uneducated, insulting tripe. If you want to see it, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZxqCu0deHg
VM have 'offered' an apology to those who felt 'offensed' say HotNews. As punishment they should be forced to read history books and take a month's trip to Roumania. I say punishment, as for these idiots, it seems that a cultural period would be pure purgatory. Huh. It's what they deserve. Then maybe they'll be capable of making a film which really shows off this beautiful country and its people for what it is. That would be the apology deserved and justly merited. VM don't have the brains, intelligence or sensitivity, however, to understand a darn thing. Cretins. They are going to re-edit the film...I dread to think what they will come up with next.
On to beautiful, happy seeming things. My marvellous and ever resourceful friend Nicole has introduced me to an architect and painter, Gheorghe Leahu. I don't mean REALLY introduced as in a handshake and all. No. I mean that she has sent me some of his paintings to peruse. What gorgeous watercolours. They depict the Bucharest de Alta Data, Milla's Bucuresti, and I'd like to share a few with you. Virgin Media, look and learn...
Aren't they lovely? Warm, holiday colours. They are as follows: 1) Univers Bookstore on Mosilor; 2) str. Doamnei; 3) Hanul lui Manuc; 4) str. Lipscani; 5) Old houses along the Dambovita; 6) The Russian Church, str. Ion Ghica; 7) Sutu Palas; 8) Mitza Biciclista's house; 9) Ministry of Justice; 10) Passajul Villacrosse.
Thank you so much, Nicole. Another blinder!
What else to tell you? Ah yes, went to the BookFest yesterday at RomExpo. Must say I was disappointed, but I hate to admit it. In this country of literary maniacs, where were they? The place was a ghost town. Okay, it was 10h30 on a Friday morning. But still. I wanted to find a book on Bellu, and all the stand owners looked at me as if I were a fruitcake. What on earth do I want one of those for? There aren't any. Point barre... No international stalls, everything in Roumanian, no translations, nothing on tourism, history of the country that I could find, guidebooks. There were dictionaries, though. Lots of stalls, but nothing that interested me. If I was to buy a novel it would take me so long to read (I've been reading Alice in Wonderland for three years and haven't got to the Queen of Hearts yet - it's the longest tea party in the history of Lewis Carroll), and poetry is out of the question. I bought Bacovia just to say I'd bought something, but I can't read it in its original form. Poetry is far too deep and cultural for my useless, shameful Roumanian. Maybe one day. I left to go and see Tantza with heavy heart presuming that the Food and Drink Expo had probably hauled a larger public. It's better advertised, even in RomExpo itself.
My class with Eugenia was fun. She's progressed so much that I wonder if she's swallowed a microchip. She told me all about the three Capsa brothers, about Tudor Vianu (originally Jewish who converted before the war, apparently. Antonescu realised how useful he was and left the poor man in peace, she said), Toma Stelian and a mass of other interesting people. All in English. Improvement indeed!
Took Rosie to Parcul Verdi this morning for a free run. It's a bit like Wimbledon Common there - complete with horse dung. She decided to roll in a mountain of it and had to have a bath on return to base. She still smells awful and en revanche, the whole flamin' flat smells ditto...George will come to dinner tonight (I've made a fatouch Lebanese salad and am very proud of myself!) - just hope the obnoxious affluvia has dissipated by then!
Love to you all and til the next entry,