Imagine this: an everyday street in Romania with the entrance to the local cemetery, an a few flower shops next to it. Ofcourse, the ideal place to sell flowers and flower arrangements to the grieving visitors.
The arranged flowers even look good, especially for Romanian standards and in the hot weather. So I raise my camera and shoot a picture, on the public sidewalk, to show the world that there are even some nice things in this country. Yes, I am biased and critical, you’ve read that correctly.
I’ll tell you why, too. Later.
Out shoots a little lady and bitches "You are NOT allowed to take pictures here!".
Lucky for her I speak Romanian, even though I’m a foreigner. "I beg your pardon," I reply,"but where does it say that??"
"You come inside", she says. Apparently she doesn’t want to discuss it on the sidewalk. Since Nina and her brother already went inside to buy some flowers, I follow her. More or less baffled and wondering what’s inside.
There I find a fat lady sitting on her behind. She seems to be in charge. "What’s the problem here?" I ask, "where does it say one cannot take pictures in a public street?".
I am half expecting it has something to do with them maybe thinking it is not respectful to shoot photos of customers looking to buy arrangements for a funeral. I could have excepted that, of course.
"We don’t like it", she says, without even looking at me or getting off her obese ass. She then continues to lecture me without replying my question. Nina tells me to better not make anymore pictures.
Actually I am too surprised to react appropriate, i.e. tell her what she can do with her shop, town and country.
I just turn around and tell all present in the shop that this is a country of morons and I don’t want anything to do with it anymore.
And believe you me, I won’t.
Apparently they were afraid I was a competitor (as if I look like one, duh!), making pictures to copy their flower arrangements and sell them to their customers.
Aha! Typical Romanian suspicious behavior. Guess what induces that way of thinking? Of course the large majority of the population IS like that. They’d steal from each other, are jealous at all times, lie and cheat and are corrupt from top down to the lowest gipsy.
Yes, very unfortunate. And I’ll let you pity them. I am not. In fact, I am totally DONE with it all.
So couldn’t I just have shrugged it off and left it at that? Yes, I could. But haven’t you ever drawn a line in the sand?
There’s a limit to everything.
I have endured abuse, threats, corruption and extortion since 1973. That’s almost 40 years.
Nina and I have sank 10’s of thousands of Guilders, Deutschmarks, Dollars and Euros in it. To help our relatives, to help friends.
Much of that money has disappeared in pockets of people not deserving it at all. A large part also has gone to the state, both communist and afterwards.
We have endured this – or rather, I have – because of a promise to Nina and her father. I’d take her back at least once a year. And of course also because you don’t let your relatives down, if at all possible.
Well, Nina’s parents are no more. Her sister and one of our nieces are now in the US, the rest of the family still has income, and nowadays there’s nothing anymore that money cannot buy in Romania.
So I feel I have kept to my promise, paid my ‘debts’ and have no more obligation to supprt a totally corrupt regime in a country with a largely corrupt population. And no, I don’t care about any idealistic reason why we still should.
I’ll tell you what I think of the European ‘Union’ some other time. But suffice it to say that the world wasn’t so bad 60 years ago without all these EU leeches!
And oh, if you want to visit the worst little flower shop in the EU, possibly the world, one where flower arrangements are deemed state secrets like in the old days, then go to Bulevardul Mihai Eminescu, the shop right next to the entrance of the cemetery. And don’t forget to make pictures !!!
The pictures that I took anyway – being a FREE citizen and photographer – show you how to recognize it.
I urge you, if you need flowers, buy them at their neighbor, he has a flower shop too!
But I urge you even MORE: if you have ANY say in the matter, through voting, lobbying or otherwise – don’t go there at all.
5 days left before we pack the car and return to our own world. The one that has changed so much too, and not for the better either.