If you missed it, you can check this page for the rerun schedule, but I’ll save you the suspense and tell you that Anthony’s trip to Romania was pitifully conceived, planned and executed. Among other things, totally avoidable eff-ups included:
• Rather than contacting me, he let his bumbling Russian buddy, who’d seemingly visited Romania once for a week in the 90s, plan the whole trip for him, including going to one of the schlockiest restaurants in the country and spending the night at a Dracula-themed hotel in Braşov on Halloween with a tour group from Nevada.
• Spending more than 30 cumulative minutes in that hellhole Bucharest.
• Believing that a professional advance team could iron out any pesky Romanian bureaucratic impasses before he got there and if there was trouble all he’d have to do is present his trusty folder of official papers and everything would be just fine.
• Thinking that driving a Dacia 1310 long distances would be funny, good TV instead of life threatening.
• Not getting a sexy translator.
On that note, I’d like to formally announce that I have signed contracts with LP to go back to Romania and Moldova to research and update chapters for the same for the next Eastern Europe and Europe on a Shoestring guidebooks.
Some of my heartiest, long-standing blog readers will either be groaning sadly and/or getting very excited for all the pathetic, whiny, bleating, bitchy Romania and Moldova-related blog posts that are sure to follow which have historically been some of the funniest material I have ever written. Well, the joke is on you, jackholes. This is going to be the greatest trip ever and here’s why:
• I’ll be traveling in summer, not the dead of winter.
• I’ll be driving a real car, as opposed to this piece of $hit.
• I’ll be constantly mobbed by crazed fans, carrying the previous additions of the guidebooks, co-written by me, directed by me and starring me.
• I’ve been to all of these destinations before, several times in some cases, and won’t have to deal with things like getting lost while driving, getting lost while walking and getting lost while getting lost.
• I’ll have a sexy translator in tow.
On that note I’d like to formally announce that I’m taking applications for the position of my sexy translator. Ideal applicants will have the following qualifications:
• Speak English
• Speak Romanian
• Be not batshit crazy
• Be sexy
Though my Romanian language skills haven’t deserted me as fast as my Italian language skills, it wouldn’t hurt to have a second pair of ears while I’m interrogating bus station clerks or to have a flirty co-pilot to smooth things over when I get stopped by the pigs for imaginary driving infractions and shaken down for a bribe. I’m looking at you Moldova.
I blast off for the first of two Romania/Moldova trips on May 7th. Bucharest beware, I’m coming to see you first and I’m not happy about it.
Geez, of course we are excited that you have to go back to that travel hellhole; that’s why we are all fans. Can’t wait for the rants to begin! We are in awe that after all your trips there you still have the ability to believe that this one will be different based on season and a car…it’s endearingly sweet. Are you accepting aides that meet 3 criteria points?
Poor AB; he used to do his own research…just remember that tiny point when you get your own show. Speaking of which, whatever happened with the Diablo interview? Did you secure it before she won all the awards?
I thought this show was awful! However, I have to disagree with your comment that Bucharest is a hellhole. I guess what they say is true – you either love it or you hate it, nothing in between. If I’m not mistaken, the capital has more museums, parks, theaters, and nightlife than any other city in the country. If you disregard the traffic and mass construction, it’s really not so bad.
Enjoy the blog, but whats up with the car? While I presume growing numbers of tourists use cars, in terms of the shoestring series, is it better to travel from their perspective?
Not a criticism, but a query as to the advantages /disadvantages of utilizing a car on guidebook research. Must be a pain driving to bus/trains stations to confirm prices /info?
but why do you keep doing this to yourself? does LP pay you that well?
anyway ,on a more serious note, can applicants meet at least 3 criteria points?
quit knocking that poor dacia, you’re not driving it anymore and at least it was conceived with long legged people in mind(which is more than you can say about 90% of Italian cars).plus it gave your stories a pioneer like quality!
Maureen – The Diablo interview never even got started. I was waylaid by for more pressing and better paying gigs.
Katie – Well, to be fair I have never researched Buch. Just passed through, with extreme difficulty. Hopefully my outlook will change.
Michael – The car is absolutely necessary for research. It makes the difference between taking 30 minutes to get to the bus station and five minutes to get to the bus station. Or pissing away three hours waiting for a train to the next city rather than just going as soon as I’m ready. It’s a pain, but it literally saves hours of productive time every day. If I did all my research on public transport, it would take twice as long, my fee would be twice as much and the book would cost more, alienating potential shoestrings guidebook shoppers.
Elfin – Despite my bitching, it’s a good job. LP has treated me very well on this job and my last job in Tuscany. And doing something the second time, especially in Romania, is always five times easier than the first time, particularly when black ice isn’t involved.
Thank you for this post. I came across your blog while googling anthony bourdain romania. I was really curious to see if other people took his visit to my native country to be ill-planned; his attitudes towards the culture and country narrow-minded, his per whole show ill-conceived, difficult to watch and extremely …well boring.
Good analytical skills and hey…if you still need that interpreter…:)
I’m terribly sorry I can’t offer my services as a translator. It’s the whole “bat shit crazy” loophole. I’m looking forward to the next installment of your Romanian travels, at any rate.
you’ve gotta admit it ;who has better groupies than the ones that excuse themselves for not helping out ’cause of “the whole bat shit crazy loophole”.Way to go Saucy!!
I see that my offer went unnoticed or maybe was dismissed for insufficient information. Too bad! :(:(
….. :( :(
Hey, look I bounced back. I’ll have to offer my extremely competent services, not to mention the good language skills to another crazy traveler. Ta!
I could not agree with you more about how poorly planned and executed the trip to Romania was. Why in the world would he choose to use a non Romanian who knows nothing about Romania as his guide? Also, I think Bucharest can be quite beautiful in a non conventional way as well as a conventional way. There are a lot of nice things to see in all of Romania and I was very saddened to see that none of them were explored. It is a gorgeous country with very interesting, fun loving and intelligent people. The food is good and hearty. Bucharest is quite modern nowadays with a lot to offer even though the traffic is murder. And have you not heard of Romanian women?? They are some of the most beautiful women in the world. Communism destroyed a large part of the country and people’s spirits but they have kept our sense of humor, their zest for life and their passion. I think it’s wonderful that you are going back to show the world the real Romania, a beautiful, unique, quirky and interesting country. And yes, I am Romanian and hot. I’ll be traveling there in May so maybe I’ll see you there.
Lumi – You’re welcome to audition for the job. The swimsuit competition will be held next week. Oh, and I assume all-expenses paid and slave wages are acceptable?
Saucy – The first step to battling batshit crazy is acceptance. Good luck.
Roxanne – It will be hard to miss me. I’ll be the guy racing around with a bunch of maps, a beat-up Palm Pilot and a digital camera, taking pictures of restaurant menus, bus station schedules and other crazy stuff. And I’ll look like I haven’t slept in a month. And I’ll have a sexy translator trying to calm my frayed nerves.
Hi Leif, I guess that my subtle offer to be your sexy Romanian speaker went unnoticed also…In any case, it will be great to see you there trying to do justice to a beautiful, misunderstood country. What I can tell you is that like every big city Bucharest has a lot of pick pockets so be careful and try to avoid gypsies because they will try to scheme you out of money somehow( I adore their music, though)and please travel with a native who knows what places are worth seeing. Oh, and can you reply with some info about who you are and what you do, because I have no idea. I stumbled upon this page after seeing Anthony’s Romania show last night and enraged I googled it to get some answers on what went wrong. Thanks
Hotdamn and good for you, Leif! Good luck on that sexy translator gig. Enjoying your writing while ignoring my own,
I’m confident that I meet at least one of the criteria for your sexy translator position.
Hey, Leif, is this Roxanne lady real or is she your sarcastic alter-ego? In my four years spent in Romania, I never, never met a Romanian with a sense of humour.
Anyway, remember to carry a lot of Moldovan lei to pay all the bribes your so much tooted new car is going to cost you. And expect it to be a wreck after driving on Romanian AND Moldovian so called roads.
Oy, so you’on to great things. I used to work with foreign film crews and show them around Bucharest, organize trips outside the capital etc. They all had a blast or they lied very well. I am working on this post-graduate in London right now, but if you pay 10 euros a square metre, my sexiness will stretch all across to Bucharest. Just kidding, of course!
@gemma: tsk, tsk, Romanians have no sense of humour? ouch! i can’t be bothered to answer that in detail. you know, i lived in a couple of western countries and i can say that each nation has its problems. dixit.
Roxanne – Thanks for the advice, but I think I’ll be OK. I spent a year pick pocketing in Bucharest between 2005-06. I told everyone I was writing a guidebook. The perfect crime.
Joseph – I’m having a bit of trouble finding someone to work for free and make me hangover omelets every morning, but I’m still working on it. Does Craigslist do Romania?
Ed – DHLing application to your house this morning. Send full-body pics from every angle. No baggy clothing please.
Gemma – Man, you’re harsh sometimes. I met plenty of funny people in Romania. But you have to be careful. Romanians (like Italians) love to make jokes about all the troubles in their country, but if a non-Romanian makes the same jokes, torches and pitchforks. I have the hate mail to prove it. And you wanna see people without a sense of humor? Check out Bourdain’s rabid fans over on his blog, one little criticism from an impudent outsider and they go apeshit. Bourdain can do no wrong. I can’t wait for the day when I’m famous enough that any one person criticizing me gets hundreds of people polarized to character assassinate the critic. For now, all I have is you Lucas and Elfin. Though I have to agree with his point about servers/hotel clerks/tourism officials often being unfriendly, combative, clueless about the basics of their job and more concerned about the cigarette in their hands than taking three minutes to answer a few questions that will eventually result in a huge customer boost. I went through this 10 times a day on my last trip. A large portion of the population simply don’t give a shit. Moldovans were far more friendly and helpful and they’re supposed to be the least happy people on Earth!
Cristina – Yes, I admit, in regards to liking Bucharest, I’m going to need all the help I can get. I’m talking sexy guides, sexy meals, sexy subway rides and sexy hurry up and get out of there. I didn’t have to research Buch for the last book, so this will be a new hurdle for me. I have the very strong text of my predecessor to work off of though, so perhaps this will save me. Any suggestions much appreciated!
sexy subway rides?your dealer gives you stuff like that?give me his cell phone,pronto!!!
is this one the most commented posts(too lazy to count)?
and what’s up with lucas?man ,we miss you!!
Elfin – About all the comments, it seems that when you put a famous person’s name in the blog title, you get a ton more visitors, therefore more comments. Next week I’m going to write a post called “Jessica Alba Nude” and somehow tie it into travel. I’ll make it happen.
Hehehe! I had some friends over from Australia and bought your travel guide for them! loved it! I meet all the criteria to be your travel guide but it seems that you know more about Romania than I do, so… I own a car though (not a Dacia!), and make fantastic omelettes! :) Good luck with the new guidebooks!
My wife and I catch a number of travel shows on TV and have only watched a few with A.B. The one to New Orleans was not nearly as painful to watch at the Romania debacle. The Halloween thing was an absolute waste. It looked like a try out for a Real Sex episode but without the sex.
The LP guide to Romania certainly needs updating – especially round these parts (Hargita county/Szekelyfold) since the most recent edition gives the impression of having being not actually researched at all.
Give me a call if you are coming to these parts.
Awww, the Romania episode was hilarious! the cemetery, the drunkenness, the little kid with the torch braising off the pig hairs, the cold war customer service, Tony’s total and utter mortification at the costume ball (hahahahahaha)
But, Romania is not especially close to my heart so I admittedly didnt care much either way. The Hawaii episode on the other hand… tsk tsk tsk.. http://www.jeelago.net/work/2008/03/08/reservations-about-anthony-bourdain-in-hawaii/
I have to say I’m so glad when I read this entry. I was and am a huge fan of Bourdaine’s travel log but clearly the guy has no love of Eastern Europe as a whole and not intention of have fun there. That’s cool, I mean every body loves certain places in the world over others. It just saddened me that he took a piss on Romania. I’d rather he didn’t go at all. I’m sure his fans would have been more angry if he took a piss on some rich country like France. But fuck Romania right?
Ah well, it doesn’t surprise me all that much anymore. I took my friends on a month long trip to Romania and they loved it. But than again I’m not an alcoholic douchbag Russian. I guess I don’t qualify as a good Romania tour guide than …
Darn, I see I’m too late to apply for the sexy translator position. It’s just as well…though I’m conversational, I’m still learning Romanian. You might have ended up sitting in a jail in some village, wearing a wedding dress and wondering at exactly what point it all went pear-shaped.
I just returned from 3 weeks in Constanta; it was fab.
Hope you enjoy your trip. Good luck with that unhinged driving; you’re a braver soul than I.
Just checking out the blog, and in a interesting cosmic coincidence, web banners for Anthony Bourdain’s show are popping up today. Or maybe he is a fan lol.
Enjoying you from the Mpls suburbs – Lori B
i’m hardly female or sexy, but if you do need someone who can actually speak english and romanian in bucharest, send over an email. not to mention i know more interesting places around the country than most people :)