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Marillion - Neverland

Sep. 15th, 2007 | 12:13 am
mood: coldcold

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Familiar moments in the Romanian mountains

Aug. 30th, 2007 | 01:45 pm

These pictures were taken in Slanic Moldova this summer, but it might as well have been any other summer, this happens every year. Despite the clear signs not the camp or to start fire in the woods or right by the road, tens of tents and cars, together with their hundreds of owners, are placed right around the warning signs.

"No camping!"


"You can camp only inside the camping"

Of course...

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Sweet Budapest nights

Aug. 21st, 2007 | 01:52 am
mood: nostalgicnostalgic

This is one of the songs that took me through many of the busy nights I had in Budapest in the last two months there. Oldies but very very goodies... Marillion - Sugar Mice

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YOUROPE ACADEMIC GROUP - the first Romanian think tank on European issues

Aug. 20th, 2007 | 01:47 pm

English version: http://yagen.wordpress.com
Romanian version: http://yagro.wordpress.com

On August 10, 2007, a group of experts and political scientists from Cluj-Napoca set the basis of the first Romanian think tank dealing with European matters - Yourope Academic Group (YAG). The names of the founders are Ovidiu Pecican, Sergiu Gherghina, George Jiglau and Flore Pop. YAG is a financially and politically independent and neutral group and presents itself as an open forum for debates on ideas, public policies and other themes of interest at the European level.

does not represent the interests or the official position of Romania, but aims to become an actor in the debates taking place within the European Union, analyzing the problems on its agenda and coming up with its own solutions and strategies, as well as with new issues for debate. Unlike similar groups within the European civil society, YAG has the advantage of belonging to a region which is at the extremes of the EU, at the cross-roads of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, allowing it to have a relatively new perspective on European and international issues.

is opened to collaborations, especially with members of the academia, but does not accept as members persons which are politically enrolled. This blog is opened for debates for all those interested. Also, we can be reached at the e-mail address youropeacademicgroup@yahoo.com. YAG will have regular public appearances, through press conferences, press releases or by posting its reports on the internet.

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Putin put a sock in the most important mouth of the BBC in Russia

Aug. 19th, 2007 | 03:16 am

No local radio is allowed to broadcast the BBC in Russia anymore, though it's still accessible mainly on the internet. No surprise here, after the Litvinenko-Logovoi affair. I see Putin is very effective in dealing with the press in his own way, not only in Russia, but also abroad.

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Free McBugs at McDonalds

Aug. 19th, 2007 | 02:20 am
mood: awake
music: Dire Straits

Where: McDonalds, inside the Bucharest train station.
When: July 19th, 2007, around noon.
Who: A medium-sized black bug, almost dead but still moving, close to the trash bin.
Who else: McDonalds employee passing by every 2 minutes, without doing anything about it.
... and who else: I, my wife and my mother having lunch at the nearest table.

So, feel free to throw in the trash bin your problems, your worries and, on top of all, your laptops (I never got that one actually), but you can leave the bugs next to them... I guess it's fine, as long as they don't climb on the tables...

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Beware! Informers are back!

Aug. 19th, 2007 | 01:50 am
music: Francis Cabrel

For Romanians and in general people leaving in former Communist countries, the word "informer" has pretty bad connotations. From time to time in Romania there are public campaigns to reveal the former Securitate informers, especially in the public sphere. The Romanian railway company gives us a helping hand. I discovered you can find informers at every train station.

In this case I have to say i dealt with a very nice informer in the Pitesti train station. Ms. Rînciog was quite nice and helpful. We wish all of them would be like her...

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Pictures from a populated middle of nowhere

Jul. 18th, 2007 | 12:07 pm
location: Galati

I thought it would be nice to share with everyone some pictures I took on my way from Cluj to Galati and in Galati. I don't know if you should consider them funny or not... it's up to you...

The non stop closed, but opened, pastry shop

The picture below is taken in the Bucharest trainstation, the biggest in Romania, at around 6.45 am. The store - "Panipat" - sells pastry products and we usually buy stuff from there in between trains. As you can see, the doors were wide open, the shop was full of products, there were two people inside, so I entered and I asked for some stuff and a guy told me that the shop is closed (notice the "non stop sign"). I asked him why do they keep their doors opened then... Because it was too hot... Anyway, they wouldn't sell me anything...

The "Pastry masters" with no pastry

I didn't give up in my quest for food... So 10 meters from the shop above I see aother one saying "Maestrii patiseri" (The Pastry masters). To my dissappointment, there was no pastry there... And though chips are my favourite junk food, it wasn't the most appropriate breakfast.

Two of the many wild dogs of Galati

These pictures are taken on the bank of the Danube in Galati, one of the touristy sights of the town. The dogs were barking at the tourists...

The ferry from the other bank was just arriving. Somepeople are anxious enough not to wait for the gates to open... I didn't capture the guy who jumped in the water about 20 meters from the stop and swimmed to the bank...

The hypermarket where they don't want you to pay...

Galati, Kaufland - the most rapidly expanding chain of hypermarkets in Romania. The sign in the picture is lcoated right above the pay desk number 12 and, although there was a woman there and no line, it says "Please look for another pay desk".

The next pay desk had the same sign...

And so did all the other pay desks...

So... we're not paying anymore?!

Long live dashes!

The so-called "deposit" - a place with many cheap stores, from where you can buy almost anything. Apparently you're not allowed to touch anything though... I guess the people there didn't touch the Romanian language books in school too much either. (The dahs is not supposed to be there...)

The entrance is where the exit is...

My personal favorites - The Galati courthouse

This building shelters several institutions, all related to the judicial system, so I will generically call it "The courthouse"... It seems that the number of institutions inside is equal to the number of wild dogs around it. Below you can see a wonderful four-legs citizen taking a nap on the stairs of the building...

Another one resting on the carpet, almost perfectly camouflated... It's a good thing the carpet isn't red. I should mention that the pictures were taken around noon, in a working day.

Look for justice, disabled people! Or better not...

Same institution, the Court... The sign below indicated the way for people in wheelchairs... quite complicated.

... "si 45 de grade latidudine nord-vest" I would add... Anyway, this is the gate where they were supposed to get. I didn't capture the garbage around because of the two wild dogs almost barking at me. Not the same dogs as in the pictures before...

Meanwhile, we're melting... 42 degrees at 18.31 pm.

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Song of the days... Marillion - The Great Escape

Jul. 10th, 2007 | 02:14 am
mood: impressedimpressed

You just have to listen to this...

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Variations on civilization

Jul. 10th, 2007 | 01:08 am
location: Cluj
mood: pissed offpissed off
music: still Marillion - can't recover, sorry


Following my visit in the Czech Republic (see the end of the post for links to the pictures), I came back home with a very nice impression of Brno and the entire atmosphere there, though I was quite surprised to notice that people rarely spoke English there. My first reaction was to feel sort of proud of the fact that Romanians have a general (already legendary) good knowledge of English, due to the wise decision of our "authorities" not to dub movies from English in Romanian. But then I thought if I would trade this kind of "advantage", associated to some extent with the general desire to leave the country, over the feeling of internal joy I sensed in Brno. Unlike in any Romanian city/town/village I've been to so far, people in Brno seemed really happy to be there.
Well, I guess I should mention the very angry guy at the reception of the dorm I lived in. An old gentleman, in his 60's probably, of course not speaking a word of English or any other internationally acceptable language, yelling at me and my friend and at some point saying just "catastrophe ruman", which I guess is understandable for everyone. But then again he was like that with everyone, even with the students who lived there and passed by him just to get their keys and go to their rooms.

In less than a week after my return from this very nice place, I traveled for one day in Bucharest. It was not my first time there and that place seemed worse than ever. Dirty, impolite people, extremely crowded, very very dusty, radiating a sense of general stress. In what was suppose to be one of the nicest restaurants in the city (indeed with good pizza), the waiter started to complain about how difficult it was to cover all the restaurant when it was full and asking himself weather it's worth having this job when you get tips of just 1 RON (about 30 Eurocents) from poor students who come there often. Then he took our order, after we waited for 20 minutes for him to mind our young presences.
I'm not going to mention the train trip back to Cluj, words cannot even begin to describe the parallel universe I lived in that night, together with 4 delightful construction workers.
Just one phrase could describe my feelings after that Bucharest trip: BUDAPEST IS MUUUUCH NICER!

After this trip in Bucharest, I came back to Cluj with the feeling that, indeed, Transylvanians are nicer. People are more polite on the street or in the bus, they smile and say "Thank you" at the market, and so on. However, this nice feeling was shattered today at the bus stop in Mihai Viteazu square. The bus was leaving the station, I didn't have a ticket, I run to buy one, I give the lady 2 RON to buy one ticket for one trip (which is 1.3 RON), asking her to give me that particular ticket and saying "please", and... at this point I felt like being at home. The lady, in her 50's, looks at me and instead of giving me the stupid ticket she shouts at me "why are you yelling, what would you want me to give you?" I look at her and I ask her politely "why are you shouting at me?". No answer, just a smile. Again I ask her the same thing. She says "what would you want me to give you for this money?", again on a very high voice. I tell her "I know I'm suppose to say what I want when I'm buying something and I don't understand why you yell at me...". And again she smiled and rolled her eyes... and gave me the ticket. I wished her a good day. The bus had left for a long time.


On the way to and back from Brno

Brno by day

Brno by night

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