Romanian Survival Book

April 23, 2007

On being Romanian #2

Filed under: Infamous Romanians,Society/Lifestyle,Uncategorized — darian @ 4:28 pm

382523918_78e4490ed0.jpgWell…a while ago I was waiting a cab at the Universitate. Many Bukresh people know that at Universitate sit many shark cabs, naming the Independent Taxi Driver (IDT). As I was waiting for a regular, company cab, a Cobalcescu or Confort or Cristaxi or any other reliable company, I’ve noticed a few foreigners, all men, probably 5 people, three middle aged and a couple of them younger. They were obviously very cautious in picking up a cab, looking around carefully; it was evident that someone told them in advance about the possibilities of being ripped off in Romania.

We all waited for about 1o minutes, then the guys above lost their patience and decided for a taxi driver that appeared more reliable to them -I don’t really know their criteria. It was the most expensive one in the whole parking lot. I have decided on the spot to help them, but doing good deeds to strangers is always unexpected. It was a sunny day; I was in a good mood, relaxed. So I approached them and said, in a kind of a British manner: ‘Excuse me, sir, I am a local and I would like to offer you a free advice’. Suddenly the younger guy turned to the others, rushed them in the cab and turned to me bluntly: ‘No, no, thank you’.

Well…I am sure many foreigners have heard lots of horror stories about my beautiful country, including the fact that young, cheap hookers fall off the trees and approach rich old guys in broad light of the day to offer them on the spot, right there a blow…up for only 1 penny. I do understand that, but it is so clear that stereotypes work both ways and are totally un-healthy…I would rather stop asking anyone how is there and there and figure it out myself, unless I miss some good stuff. Like paying lots of money for a short drive around, a good opportunity for the ITD to take you from Universitate to Romana making a round to Rahova and Colentina….but, hey, some people really deserve their lessons!

I almost felt sorry that I didn’t go to the ITD to ask him to rip them off on my account too…only to keep the reputation, so they will have something to tell about when they go back to their own countries.

(photo from http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryanjunell/382523918)

24 Comments »

  1. I would have appreciated it if someone had offered such advice to me before I got one of those nice cabdrivers at the Universitate. The nice thing was, and this isn’t a malicious attempt to deepen a sterotype, I was on my way to the hospital having just been bitten by a cute little street dog! The day got better after that..

    But don’t give up on the altruism if someone mistakes your generosity for something else. Keep the faith!!

    Comment by Emmet — April 25, 2007 @ 12:17 pm | Reply

  2. Claudia –

    They may have heard about the Tourist Police scam which always begins with an innocent comment from a local. I have been exposed to the scam at least three times, but since I knew about it I was able to avoid it.

    As far as the taxis go I accidently got into one of “those taxis” and when I saw the rate on the dashboard I asked in (hooribly) broken Romania if that was the price and when he said “da” I IMMEDIATELY started saying “gata! gata! halt! gata!”

    These days the taxis seem more honest is posting the actual price they charge and in having honest meters, but those prices can be whatever the driver wishes and the route may not always be the shortest.

    John
    http://www.AThousandBooks.us

    Comment by John — April 26, 2007 @ 9:40 am | Reply

  3. For Emmet: I am sure that nowhere else in an European capital you can have such an adventurous day🙂

    For John: I never heard of the Tourist Police scam, if you can enlighten us would be great.

    Comment by darian — April 27, 2007 @ 1:24 pm | Reply

  4. Darian, I’ll be in Bucharest in 28 days. if you see a blonde Amaerican guy standing at Universitate looking lost, then its me…come help me! I would appreicate the advice and the friendship I’ll even buy you a beer to say thanks!

    Comment by Roger — May 11, 2007 @ 7:45 pm | Reply

  5. I would support your victims, they couldn’t do anything smarter but to run as far as possible. Who knows what would you do to them at the end? Never trust Romanians! They are looking for a chance to cheat on you.🙂

    Comment by Ira — August 25, 2008 @ 2:50 pm | Reply

  6. To Ira,

    Well, they saw you comin’ from a mile away! Sucker!!!
    Ira, sounds like you don’t have any “street-smarts”, maybe you shouldn’t venture out too far out of your neck of the woods, and you should hook up with your own kind. All this bad luck😦
    Person with money + street-smarts = SUCKER

    Comment by pappy — August 28, 2008 @ 9:46 pm | Reply

  7. correction:
    person w/$$$ + NO street-smarts = SUCKER

    Comment by pappy — August 28, 2008 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  8. OK, here it is, two years later.

    Tourist Police Scam. I’m walking down the street and a local comes up and talks to me with some excuse (what is the time is it, where is a good hotel, do you have a light). After a moment or two a second guy in street clothes comes up and flashes an ID card that is passing for Police ID.
    “This guy is a known criminal/drug dealer/pimp and blah, blah, blah. Why are you talking to him? Perhaps you exchanged money, let me see your passport and wallet.” He’ll fiddle around with the wallet and papers and then return them to you and apologize for the trouble and wish you a good day.
    If you look in your wallet it is empty of all cash and cards.

    Comment by John — August 17, 2009 @ 10:54 pm | Reply

  9. Interesting post, I did not thought reading this would be so stunning when I klicked at your url.

    Comment by guallulpatasy — January 2, 2010 @ 6:17 am | Reply

  10. I am impressed you helped them – they are the kind of folk who enjoy being robbed in Romania. I tend to get annoyed when the local shop keeper adds a few ron to my bill for fun. As for taxis – been ripped off so often that I simply prefer to walk!

    Comment by Peter Fogarty — October 6, 2010 @ 7:21 pm | Reply

  11. The problem with that original scenario is that you trioe to engage then in a conversation. You should have kept it short and sweet. “YO, DUDE! LOOK AT THE RATE ON THE DOOR. AT LEAST PICK A CHEAPER ONE!!!”

    Comment by John — October 7, 2010 @ 2:53 am | Reply

  12. In case you have doubts, never go to a foreign place without having at least one reliable contact there. If you don’t have, establish one fast. Every time you ask for guidance, try an airport employee, policeman etc. and double check their guidance.

    Search on the Internet for the cab companies in that country. Take the list with you and have a taxi of one of those companies. It takes 1 minute to ask for an estimative maximum cost. Try a second one.

    Scams are working in a small box. They don’t work outside of the box. Try to keep everything simple, don’t fall in scenarios. Think about card and pin. No one should know your pin. Same, no one should have or touch your wallet or money for checking a passport.
    Pay attention to details that some people tend to ignore like hands, nails, holes pierced ears, tattoos before anything else. Ask them for a police car to take you at the station. Ask other questions, like the emergency number in that country. Chatting to much without facts means a scam. Only the intention of calling 112/911 should make them to walk away.

    In a foreign place, everything you know might not work, so, be creative, rediscover everything!

    Comment by mg — October 8, 2010 @ 1:52 pm | Reply

  13. i was looking for some information and i found this page…well im from romania and what i’ve read here simplly impressed me …the problem with the taxi is an old issue here…i myself avoid them even from the known companies…cause there r all kind of people some r good, some trying to get ur money for free even …i’m not proud of tha..but these r the facts…when visiting, cause at least the country worth to visit, try to get as many information as possible about everything…especially when it’s about private transportation…and evrything involving private issues…dont trust just anyone with good intention…and when it;s about identifying urself try to hide all ur cards/personal values/money..its safer…well..just enjoy the beauties and try to get a true/honest people arround…

    Comment by marilena — November 26, 2010 @ 2:39 pm | Reply

  14. Taxi’s… it is the same anywhere in the world, Im from Washington DC and we have preditory taxi service. A tip here on a good taxi is worth as much as the fare. I dont care who you are, if you have a tip on which taxi will rip me off, I will listen and appreciate it.
    Prostitution… I have traveled to Romania over a dozen times and have yet to meet a hooker. I have met many women, and over the years have loved many but each is their own masterpiece a work of art and deserves respect and more than a little thanks.

    Comment by Kim — July 19, 2011 @ 9:51 pm | Reply

  15. In May of 2011 I was sitting near the fountain in front of the casino when a woman a man and a woman seperately approach the bench I was sitting on. The man got to my bench first and the woman sat on the next bench next to an older man. I noticed she immediately started to chat him up and it soon became apparent she was ‘doing business.’ Had she been two steps closer I would have been her target. “Available’ girls are often seen late in the evening in front of the Piata Romana McDonald’s. I can’t speak as to their terms.

    Comment by John — July 20, 2011 @ 4:07 am | Reply

  16. In May of 2011 I was sitting near the fountain in front of the casino at Piata Universitate when a woman a man and a woman seperately approach the bench I was sitting on. The man got to my bench first and the woman sat on the next bench next to an older man. I noticed she immediately started to chat him up and it soon became apparent she was ‘doing business.’ Had she been two steps closer I would have been her target. “Available’ girls are often seen late in the evening in front of the Piata Romana McDonald’s. I can’t speak as to their terms.

    Comment by John — July 20, 2011 @ 4:08 am | Reply

  17. To Marilena, I read your comment and as I seek correspondence, I would really appreciate it if you could get in touch with me. I am on penpals.net (Lorrin Lee) and I live in South Africa. I am an immigrant from Europe. I really hope we can correspond with each other, sincerely, Bianca.

    Comment by Bianca — November 2, 2011 @ 11:23 am | Reply

  18. Rumanian are The worst in The worldwide

    Comment by Angelo — January 15, 2014 @ 3:29 am | Reply

    • Just am curious in what is being said about Romanian the worst in the worldwide…? Let me know, thanks, Bianca.

      Comment by Bianca — January 15, 2014 @ 10:01 am | Reply

      • don’t worry, Bianca, I think Romanian girls are the BEST in the world

        Comment by from John the Book guy — January 15, 2014 @ 5:02 pm

  19. Thanking you so much. Do you live in Romania? Or met a lot of girls from there? Just curious. Bianca.

    Comment by Bianca — January 16, 2014 @ 2:05 pm | Reply

    • why? do you want to meet for a coffee? i’ll probably be there in may or so😉

      Comment by from John the Book guy — January 16, 2014 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

      • Thanks, I enjoy going out for coffee, but am now living in South Africa, Bianca.

        Comment by Bianca — January 17, 2014 @ 4:32 pm

      • my heart is broken…😉

        Comment by from John the Book guy — January 17, 2014 @ 7:53 pm


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