Vineri, August 10, 2007, 02:07 AM 

FAQ - Romania
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Wow, you are the first Romanian I have ever met! Well, this is usually the first reaction of everybody on the island when I introduce myself. It is quite normal as the Romanian exodus does exceed neither the western coast of Ireland nor the eastern coast of Canada. I guess that nobody would have thought that a heartless girl would determine a broken-hearted to move on a small island surrounded by ocean.

Well, I am the first Romanian here, but I am certainly not the first non-local. In fact, all the guys (both boys and girls) are not from the island. They are from Jamaica, Pakistan, Australia, Germany, Sweden and UK. Of course, they are all curios about things going on in Romania. Sometimes even I am :) I will list below the most frequently questions I was asked together with my answers. This will be quite a good starting point for both foreigners but also for some Romanians. PLEASE CORRECT ME IF I AM WRONG

Q: Where is Romania? It is somewhere in Asia, isn’t it?
A: No. Actually it is in Europe, on the eastern border of Hungary, which is on the eastern border with Austria, which is on the eastern border with Germany, which is on the eastern border with Belgium, which is a few km east to UK.

Q: Is Romania a EU country?
A:Yes, Romania is an EU member starting with 1 January 2007. However, Romanian citizens still do not have the same rights to work as other EU citizens. Very often, a work permit and even housing license are required in order to work in other EU countries.

Q: Is the official currency EUR?
A: The official currency is still RON, the Romanian Leu (plural Lei), with a FX rate of 3.2 RON for 1 EUR. Romania is expected to adopt EUR as its currency in the next 5 years.
There are no other currencies accepted for payment beside RON. However, some small stores use the Orbit pill or aspirins as 0.20 lei equivalents :)

Q: What is the official language? Is your language similar with any other languages?
A: The official language is Romanian. This is a Latin language that is very similar with Italian and it has some similarities with French. It is a quite difficult language with many rules but it is not mandatory to speak it accurately if you are football club owner, a district mayor or a political party leader :)

Q: What other languages are spoken? Is it Russian one of them?
A: If you are not amongst the three categories mentioned above, you are expected to speak very well English and to be able to make a conversation in French, German or Spanish. Foreign languages are mandatory in schools for the children aged 8 to 19. Russian is not studied in schools since the 70s.

Q: I had a client with current accounts opened with Romanian Banks. However, I could not obtain Bank’s confirmations because nobody from the Bank speaks English. Why?
A:Well, I guess you were pretty lucky that the Customers Support lady did not yell at you. There are indeed, in all entities that were privatized at a certain point in time, some crazy, old, fat vipers and shrews whose main target is to make you run away and leave them alone to drink their coffee. I guess that all we can do is to wait for their retirement.
(In fact, I tried to help the lad to obtain the confirmation. Unfortunately, there were many other extremely-familiar habits I noticed that couldn’t guide the poor Island’s inhabitant to the right person not in a million years: The Bank’s branch phone number was not the correct one, the Bank’s internet site was not updated with the contacts for all the branches, the contact person usually moves from one department to another in a very short time, the contact person is not aware of the confirmation request that we sent (which reminds me of ‘ California Dreamin ’ scene with the fax from the Ministry) etc.

Q: Was Romania one of the Soviet Republics?
A: Yes, it was. Hopefully, this happened only in Stalin’s dreams However, after the WW II, Romania was under the Soviet influence following the Yalta’s agreement. This meant communism, loss of properties, brainwashing, lack of liberty and democracy, connections lost with the outside world.

Q: Who was Ceausescu? Was he Romanian?
A: Ceausescu was a crazy old man that proclaimed himself as the first President of Romania. At the beginning, his intentions were good, trying to make Romania a totally independent country from the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, this meant diverting almost the entire domestic production to Far East countries and limiting at a maximum any importation. This meant consuming only poor quality food, waiting for years on long lists in order to buy a TV set, waiting for more than 24 hours at kilometric queues for changing the gas cylinder etc.

Q: Was there also a king there?
A: Well, Romania is a republic and technically speaking it cannot have one king also. However, the last King of Romania is still alive. He was two times the King, and the first time he was just a kid, under the custody of his mother. Unfortunately, my history teacher from the highschool was an idiot and his stupidity made me hating history. Therefore, if you’re interested, you may google “Mihai de Hohenzollern”

Q: What are the places to visit in Romania? Can you visit Dracula castle?
A: In Bucharest, you will enjoy the out-door pubs with that unique music called “manea” (plural: “manele”) broadcasted as loud as possible. You will enjoy driving so fast, slaloming through cars, horning and hitting the break within 10 meters before the traffic light. You will impress your friends by shouting at a young female crossing the street on the zebra in front of your car Faa, asta calca nu fute! (EN: Hey, the car will strike you, but it won’t fuck you!)
However, (this is for real) you can spend a good holiday on the beautiful landscapes of the northern part of Moldova region, you can visit Bran Castle (aka Dracula Castle which is not at all what you might think) and the beautiful resorts nearby, or you can enjoy the annual medieval festival from Sighisoara.
You will have good roaming wherever you go, so you won’t lose the contact with dear ones from home. However, if you have a number ending in 5290 and if your nose won’t grow for the lies told, you may experience some signal problems in Branesti, a village located 5 km east from Bucharest

Q: You mentioned something about Moldova, as a region of Romania. I have a client from Moldova, but I know that this is a different country from Romania. Is it something similar with Macedonia?
A:Yes, it seems it is. In the past, Moldova used to be a sovereign princedom for centuries including the actual Romanian region, the actual Republic of Moldova and a part of the actual Ukraine. In 1859, Moldova unified with Walachia, forming Romania, which gained its independence in 1877. After the Ribentrop-Molotov Treaty from 1939 (or later, I hate history, remember?) the county between Nistru and Prut rivers was incorporated in USSR and became a Soviet Republic. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Moldova proclaimed its independence on 27 August 1991.
Keep in mind that I wrote the text above without searching the internet or opening an encyclopedia. It is what I know from the secondary school and from my friends from Moldova.

Q: Are the girls pretty in Romania?
A: Yes, they are amongst the most beautiful girls in Europe. However, they are quite unpredictable. You may meet someone like Spotless Girl or The Love from Tei Neighborhood that will continuously play games with your heart before striking you from the back.

Q: After all, why did you leave?
A: I had a good “impresario” (HR counselor) from an UK recruitment agency. Should I tell what he trained me to say? Ok, I will.
1. I really want to achieve international experience
2. I need to improve my English and this is the best way.
It may be true, but is it all?
If you are a non-Romanian language speaker you could study the English section of this blog.
If you know Romanian and you are familiar with my blog, I should perhaps tell only some tags (which represent kind the same things like the oligarchs to the President Basescu): Neprihanita, Dragostea din Tei , Hitler fixistul, K-telu, Gigi etc.

Vineri, August 3, 2007, 12:51 PM 

Pe Garcea il vrem
     media: 5.00 din 1 vot

A trecut aproape o luna de cand sunt pe insula si cum oamenii astia de la serviciu si colegii de vila nu ma enerveaza (desi eu ma supar repede), o sa va scriu despre o problema care ma tot framanta de fiecare data cand plec de-acasa sau cand ma intorc. Casuta mea este asezata langa o intersectie semaforizata (mai rara pe insula) numai ca....aici semnele si semafoarele nu sunt ceea ce par a fi... Sa va explic:

Dupa cum scrie si in ghiduri, condusul pe insula este diferit si necesita atentie. Se circula pe partea stanga ca in UK, iar volanul e pe dreapta. Ceea ce inseamna, ca e destul de usor sa virezi la stanga (ca si cum ai vira la dreapta pe continent) dar mult mai greu sa virezi dreapta, pentru ca trebuie sa dai prioritate masinilor care vin din fata.

Strazile sunt inguste si exista reguli speciale. Nu toate semnele si marcajele imi sunt familiare si peste tot sunt garduri inalte si ziduri de beton. Trebuie sa fii pregatit sa intalnesti oricand cai, vaci, biciclisti si pietoni. Ca si in Romania de altfel, numai ca strazile sunt mult, mult mai inguste. Uneori este nevoie sa te urci pe trotuar pentru a evita masinile din sens opus. Treaba este legala, dar trebuie sa te urci pe trotuar si sa opresti, sa-l lasi p-ala din fata sa treaca, si pe urma sa iti continui drumul. Asa scrie la regulament.

Semnul de “Cedeaza trecerea” (cel cu triunghiul cu varful in jos) nu prea exista decat in afara orasului pentru ca in oras e inlocuit de un marcaj reprezentat de o linie galbena trasa de-a lungul strazii (dupa cum se poate vedea si in poza de mai jos). Strazile pe care nu poti sa intri (fie ca e strada pietonala, fie ca se circula in sens unic din cealalta directie) sunt marcate cu textul “No Entry” la capatul strazii.

Unele intersectii au ca si marcaj textul “Filter in turn”. In cazul asta, fiecare strada are prioritate egala, adica masinile trec alternativ una cate una din fiecare directie. Trece ala din fata, dai prioritate aluia din dreapta, treci tu, trece iar unul din dreapta, pe urma ala din spatele tau etc... Asta pana imi iau io masina, eu o sa ma comport ca atare, claxonez, dau flashuri, si cand vad ca trece ala din fata ma bag repede in curul lui, cat sa n-aiba timp ala din dreapta sa mai schiteze vreun gest si sa mai castig altfel 10 secunde. :)

Parcarea e si mai ciudata. Parcarile sunt marcate (tot pe pavaj) ca si “Disc zones” si trebuie sa folosesti un ceas de parcare pe care il cumperi de la politie sau din port si ti-l montezi la masinuta. Cand parchezi, trebuie sa setezi ora de parcare si ziua. Nu ai voie sa parchezi in acel loc mai mult de un anumit timp (indicat pe pavaj), de obicei 2 ore, iar dupa ce ai plecat, nu ai voie sa te mai intorci in acel loc timp de 30 de minute. Evident, cand o sa-si ia rumanul (ca am inteles ca sunt singurul) BMW Z3 (ca sunt mai ieftine aici, iar daca vin cu el in Romania o sa moara Dashteptul de la IT ca am masina mai frumoasa si bani mai multi decat el ), o sa dau ceasul ala inainte cu o ora-doua, sa mai castig timp. Daca observa vreun politai, ii zic ca eu am ceasul dupa ora Romaniei (2 h inainte ) )

Ei da, si ajungem in sfarsit la celebrul semafor care face obiectul discutiei noastre aprinse de astazi. Ei bine, pe aici semafoarele nu sunt puse ca sa dirijeze traficul intr-o intersectie aglomerata. Nu, aici semafoarele sunt puse pe strazile mai circulate ca sa treaca pietonii pe zebra. Evident, eu am trecut intotdeauna de-ampulea, vorba romanului, pe unde s-o nimeri, ca doar n-oi astepta eu sa se faca verde si sa ma mai duc si pan la colt ca sa trec pe trecere. Dar am vazut odata niste mosi ca apasau ei un buton acolo pe stalpul cu semaforu’ si pe urma asteptau ei ca vacutele cumintei sa se faca verde pt ei (si rosu pt masini) ca sa treaca.

In fine, ce ma framanta pe mine e altceva. Ca atare, am facut eu un desen in singura aplicatie IT pe care stiu s-o folosesc (Excel). Chestiile alea albe cu dungi gri sunt celulele din Excel. De fapt, Excelul este singura mea punte cu informatica (IT-ul) in general, in rest eu am aflat foarte recent ca 1 Mb are de fapt 1,024 Kb si nu 1,000. Si cand ma gandesc la Hitler ca de fiecare data cand venea vorba de IT in discutii (numai ca el pronunta intr-un fel special, gen aei-tiiiii), inalta capatana aia cheala in directia mea ca si cand eu as fi avut vreodata ceva de zis..

Ok, pai uite ce mister ma mistuie pe mine si de ce nu pot dormi noaptea (pe langa clasicul motiv ca ma mistuie amintirile cu Neprihanita) ...Dupa cum v-am zis, semaforul ala e rosu doar cand trece strada un incurca-lume care apasa pe butonel. Ei bine, dar trecerea aia dupa cum se vede din Excelul la stanga, este doar una in toata intersectia, in fata masinii rosii. Nu exista una similara si in fata masinii galbene iar semaforul e doar langa masina rosie (dupa intersectie in cazul celei galbui). Ca atare, masinuta galbena ar putea sa vireze linistita la dreapta, ca doar nu vine nimeni din fata si nici nu are vreun pieton in drumul ei. In plus, masina albastra (din stanga) trebuie sa-i dea prioritate ca doar are linie galbena in fata.

Dar...stai! Inainte de intersectie, galbena are un semn: interzis la dreapta! Cu o precizare jos: “when the red light is shown”. Care va sa zica, e ok sa virezi dreapta, numai ca stai dupa cardul de masini care vin din fata (si-i tii si pe-aia din spate care vor sa mearga inainte pe loc, ca e o singura banda pe sens) dar cand poti intr-adevar sa cotesti linistit, se face brusc interzis! De ceeee???

Ca atare, ordinea in care vor trece masinile in desenul de mai sus este urmatoarea: primul trece albastrul, desi vine de pe drum secundar, ca ailalti de pe principal au rosu!! Apoi, se face verde si trece autoturismul rosu (plus toate masinile din spatele lui), iar apoi vehiculul galben daca nu cumva se face iar rosu intre timp :) Intrebarea e: daca masina aia albastra e de SCOALA, ce zice instructorul? Mai intai ne asiguram in dreapta, apoi in stanga, si apoi inaltam gatul sa vedem semaforul alora de pe drumul principal? (ca ei n-au semafor) Sau le-o zice direct: uita-te si tu la semaforul alora din stanga si daca e rosu, calc-o!

Oare ce-o fi fost in capul astora cu semnul respectiv? Adica, gandeste-te: dimineata, drumul asta (La Grange) e super aglomerat in ambele sensuri, si daca ala galben (din desenul meu) vrea sa faca dreapta, atunci ii blocheaza pe toti din spatele lui pana ii face unul din sens opus cu farurile, semn ca il lasa sa treaca! Nu inteleg, daca tot ti-a venit ideea asta mareata cu semaforul pentru pietoni, de ce n-o folosesti ca sa descongestionezi traficul si sa-i lasi pe-aia sa faca dreapta cand s-a pus rosu pentru aia din fata?

Explicati-mi si mie sa nu mor prost, care e rostul indicatorului ala? Ca bastinasii o iau ca pe-un lucru aprioric, nu si-au pus niciodata problema. Ufff....greu tare cu circulatia asta, ar trebui sa vina Dl plutonier Garcea din Romania sa le faca un training!


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