Bucharest at 8:00 am is much nicer than Chisinau and Odessa at midnight. Still imbibed, I remembered the directions, purchased my ticket to Budapest for the following day, and arrived at the place in a ½ hour tops. What a difference the sun makes. Even better was seeing displayed on the kitchen table a carton of eggs and not 10 feet from the kitchen window, the French Embassy? The Romanian who checked me in read my mind and uttered the words before I could even open my mouth; either the French are that stupid, or the hostel is that brilliant – I’m going with the former. Though after my stay, that’s debatable.
Whoever coined the phrase “Paris of the [insert region]” should be shot. Last year, all the guides said, “Beirut, Paris of the Middle East.” Now, “Bucharest was once Paris of the East.” is the expression used. What they should be saying is, “X country, Detroit of the Danube, an industrial treasure.” But no, Paris will bring the tourists in, as visions of “café culture” are conjured up in the minds of the meandering.
Bucharest also wasn’t as gray and cold from previous endeavors. Neo classical architecture dots the city, interwoven with signs of capitalism and Coptic churches. Following a two hour venture up and down the streets, witnessing the Palace of Parliament won’t be forgotten anytime soon. It is gargantuan. Apparently, second only to the Pentagon as the largest building in the world? Good for them, or at least Ceausecsu. Erotic massages are very popular here, adding a kind of Vegas-like feel to the city. It seemed that every cement building and car had an ad smeared to its window, like the working Hispanic population distributing pamphlets along Flamingo Blvd.
Two days isn’t enough for the city. Plus, feeling lazy I watched TV and chatted with the one other guest at night. A second pattern was developing.
That same guest, with whom I shared local brew with, was somehow undeterred from his position at 7 am, beer mug in hand. Unlike Odessa, I decided to carry on with the good man who I found out would be doing a 3 month internship for the U.S. State Department in Romania. It is with this same kind of diplomacy that an egg was placed into the palm my hand, and in the interest of Ameri-Franco relations the egg would remain on the table to be used at a later time – when a new city would have bestowed upon it the label of “Paris”.