Location, location, location might be the #1 marketing rule, but without information, information, information, you might just find yourself in the wrong neighborhood. A huge opportunity could simply run by you and wouldn’t that be pitiful?
Many things have been said about Romania, some good, some bad, and we know we’re not perfect. A little research helped us build a list of most common thoughts about our dear country and here they are. The truth and nothing but the truth.
Gypsies, gypsies all over the place
This is one of the most violent topics, everybody has an opinion on it and people usually get frustrated on the subject. Roma people have conquered Europe’s best begging spots, steal, and so on so forth. But they play a hell of a good music and thousands out there pay them to melodically swallow their lobsters on the Italian Riviera. Not all villains are Roma, not all Roma are Romanian, Roma people work as well, some of them stayed rooted in their handcrafts and some lead international corporations. Is Romania filled with gypsies, tents and boiling cauldrons? No. According to the last census in 2012, 3.3% of the citizens are Roma. Yes, there is a problem related to their integration, but it’s not what’s going to make the sky fall when it crumbles. So relax, you’ll be perfectly fine here. Oh, and you won’t like Sir Charles Chaplin anymore because he was gypsy? Didn’t think so.
Romania is a poor country
Geographically speaking we have a bit of everything, mountains with the last virgin forests in Europe, hills with perfect climate for vineyards, plains with rich soil for agriculture, a balanced hydrographic map, 246 km of seashore and 580.000 hectares of delta. Resources start from oil, gas and coal and end with gold and uranium. There is potential. It is true it is not exploited wisely, but you definitely can’t talk about poverty. The unemployment rate is stable since 2010 at around 7%, making it one of the lowest in EU. The average monthly income is around 600 €, which would smell like poverty to a Swiss citizen who makes around 4200 € per month, but in the meantime 99.6% of Romanians are home owners, while Germany has a 53.4% rate and Switzerland only 43,8% (Eurostat 2011). By the way, next time you need to do your teeth, come to Romania, as many Italians, Hungarians or Germans do because of the significantly lower rates and very good quality. We are not saying it is heaven on earth (otherwise Brits wouldn’t be so upset on our fellows working hard over there on jobs they wouldn’t do anyway), but we are not a third world country.
Criminality at its finest
Amongst all felonies of the world, theft and prostitution are the most common to be associated with Romania. Part true, but then true for all countries, nations, times and religions from Stone Age to 2016 AD. Taking into consideration the crime index, Romania is safer than many European countries. Theft can easily be avoided with simple common sense, like looking after your belongings or not putting on your tiara when you plan to visit shady neighborhoods on a late night walk. You should be most careful while traveling on public transport, as pickpockets simply can’t take their eyes off your unzipped Michael Kors sitting next to you. As for prostitution, you should know before starting to negotiate your benefits that it’s illegal. There are two types of ladies, the waving at passing cars girls, who are easy to spot, because they are scantily dressed, waving at the passing cars, sometimes making insinuating signs, and the club baby dolls, who are trickier to expose but not that difficult. But there are plenty of pretty, chatty Romanian girls you can take out on a date that may surprise you with the witty thoughts beyond their coveted looks.
We just came down from the tree
Some of our foreign travelers were surprised they could pay with credit cards, others of the good sound, good lineup and good management of the award winning Untold Festival (European Festival Awards 2015 – Best Major Festival) and Mr. Bernie Sanders considered it is unacceptable that people living in Bucharest have access to much faster internet than most of US. Leaving aside arguments like Romanian major contribution to medicine (insulin), aviation (jet plane), cybernetics (just the basics), oil industry (first country with oil production, first refinery in the world) sports (perfect 10, baseball), writing tools (pen), arts (Brâncuşi), history (History of Religious Ideas), black humor (not African-American, the merry cemetery), we think you’ve got the point, 2016 finds us well, thank you. The funny thing is we export specialists in the most diverse fields to all corners of this world, from IT to digital medicine and we are considered backward. You can pay with credit cards, watch a movie on your gadget in the park, using the Wi-Fi provided by the city hall, travel with a private helicopter anytime, anywhere, pamper your tired body in a 5 star spa, shop designer cloths, fire guns (in the shooting range, not in bars), skydive or pet a bear, if that’s what makes you happy.
Romania = Russia = ♥
Ex-communists, former soviet country, “yes” exactly the same in Romanian as in Russian – “da”, we must be Russians! Well, not at all. Even though our language has a lot of Slavic words, “mother language” is Latin. If you listen closely, you will realize it sounds like a mix and match between Italian, French, Spanish, with a Russian cherry on top. Besides that, we are just us, lovely, authentic Romanians.
So true it hurts. For example, if you go from Bucharest to Baia Mare, a 600 km distance, it will take you 12 hours by train or about 9 hours by car (if you don’t stop for physiological needs). 400 km of highways is all we’ve got and the rest of the roads are not the best, but the good part is you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy each kilometer of Romanian beauty :). There must be a downside of having the greatest road in the world, Jeremy Clarkson’s word!
We drink blood, hate garlic and howl at fool moon
We drink țuică/palincă, absolutely love garlic and “howl” from time to time, because we like to party. Just kidding with this topic, but it’s hilarious how so many people know of the existence of Romania only because of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The fiction story lays on the novelists’ 7 years of researching European folklore and vampire stories and also has some historical similarities, but the common belief that the story was about Vlad the Impaler and Bran Castle was the Count’s haunted mansion, is a bit hazardous. Anyways, the publicity is great, even though some are being offended by the hordes of tourist calling His name every 5 minutes and the medieval castle is absolutely worth seeing, as well as everything on a 100 km distance around it.
So, the point is don’t let yourself fooled by other people’s pride and your own prejudice. There are always two sides of every story. Only you can decide whether to follow the crowd or be your own judge. Peace!