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Catholics are considered odd but are regarded as slightly grand – but Adventists, Baptists and adherents to other sects are not considered true Romanians at all. I only wish this cohesiveness went with a sense of public spirit, but this seems to be absent in all the Orthodox as well as all the post-Communist countries. So Claudia Pendred says and she is an expert, but I usually drink plonk.I do however love the only grape which is unique to this part of the world, Feteasca Neagra. Bucharest, the European Havana, is still probably the most interesting capital city in many ways in Europe.They are very other-worldly but are often materialistic. Romanians are very much friendlier than the English but much, much more formal.Respect is terribly important – because power is terribly important.This is the Middle East, dreaming that it is France.Romanians love visiting their countryside – all but a few pretentious ones – love eating Romanian food in restaurants – same caveat – and love hiking and camping, all of which was how it was in England in the 1950s.Taxi drivers become very dull when they talk about the political class in general (we know they are thieves and bandits) but they have much to say that is very interesting about God, how things were in the old days, love and death. Despite the terrible damage that Communism did to this country, which it maimed, there is still a tremendous sense of cohesion and common values.People are assumed to be Orthodox, unless proven otherwise.
Romania is not at all cool, is utterly uncool, thank God, and yet in its own un-self-conscious way the broken streets and beautiful women of Bucharest are as cool as it gets.
Romanians are very human and see everything in human, not in abstract terms, but when they write about ideas they always start from abstract and sometimes cloudy first principles.
They are the warmest, the most generous and kindest of people, but can be astonishingly cruel and very malicious.
They are more profound than the English, who think it is superficial to talk about other people’s looks. They form the chorus in the Greek drama (it’s a comedy, not a tragedy) of my life here.
Like in every country, the people who really know how to run things are too busy driving cabs or cutting hair. The lack of diversity, although things become more pluralistic.