Ok, so my sobriety lasted 2 and a half weeks! This time I arrive back from Hangover town with a little more than a lost day, this time I have something permanent to remind me of why I shouldn’t drink. Writing this and with the beauty of hindsight, i’m kicking myself “why did you bloody drink when you said you wouldn’t” Nights out with me are truly like a Hangover movie!! But anyway, I digress.
I arrived back in Bucharest on Thursday, tired from the journey, for some reason you can’t fly from Manchester so I needed to make the 4-hour journey to Stansted before we even got started, but filled with optimism we packed up the car and journeyed south. I drove this time around as Pas had driven on our previous jaunt to Stansted.
It was my birthday in a few days so given we hadn’t been able to do anything for the best part of two years, I decided this year let’s go big! for my 37th time around the sun I decided to return to Bucharest, A city I fell in love with just 4 months prior, I wrote in a recent blog talking of my love and admiration for the place, the people, and the food… On this trip that admiration was shattered by a complete lack of empathy and compassion for a man that was quite clearly in need of help.
Covered in blood, bandage on my head (had me looking like Paul Ince In 1997 v Italy or Terry Butcher for you older chaps), no phone no idea where I was going, I stumbled out of a Bucharest hospital 5 miles from the centre trying to get back to my apartment. I found myself asking 9 Romanians for help, not for a lift not for money just simple directions! “Can you please help me with directions to the old town” a simple request no? After being told “No, F Off, and Go” my faith in the humanity of the Romanian people was shattered, for a people that pride themselves on their Christianity, there wasn’t an ounce of It to be found for a man so clearly in need of help.
One of the establishments that turned me away unwilling to help was the Marriott hotel, having been walking for what seemed like an eternity I stumbled into the Marriott asking for directions and was asked to leave quite abruptly. A petrol station, shop a security gate, a stopped car a taxi all met with the same hostility. Finally on my 10th attempt I found a man that was willing to help, he showed me the last leg of the journey home, and I arrived back at the parliamentary palace, a place I had visited earlier that day by chance so I knew where I was!
My opinion of the Romanian people has changed significantly, I no longer see them as the hospitable, passionate, and proud people that I once knew,!! say what you want about the British but I find it hard to believe that a foreigner in need of directions would struggle to pass 2 people that would refuse to help. I have never had that experience in England, Scotland or Wales or come to think of it any other country in the world.
After all of this, I’m left with the feeling that the people are unhelpful and hostile, I was left feeling very disillusioned with the city. This put a dampener on my opinion of Bucharest, and I would advise other travelers to be wary of how they are treated by the locals. Sadly, it seems that the people here are not as hospitable as I had once thought.
On a side note – Romany gypsies get a bad rap in Romania but I have to say that my experience of dealing with them has always been pleasant, they are a proud and passionate people that have a lot to offer the world, their food is second to none and I have always found them to be pleasant if you are and willing to go out of their way to help.
After my accident, it was the gypsies that came to my rescue, they were the only people that stopped to help me when I was lost and in need of directions, and for that I am grateful. Unfortunately, not everyone in Bucharest is as kind as the gypsies, my experience leaves a bad taste in my mouth. I hope that other travelers will be wary when traveling here, and be aware of how they are treated by the locals especially if you leave the main tourist areas.
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