Seven years agoi intel established that things aren't going to be going well for the US and perhaps abandonment of my very comfortable if somewhat boring domicile in San Jose, Costa Rica might be a good idea. You never know which way the colossus with clay feet is going to collapse.
Upon sieving the entire worldii according to an entire list of criteria we won't go into, two quite separate options came out as "best" : Timisoara, Romania and Christchurch, New Zealand. I picked, mostly by pure chance, Timisoara. It wasn't a choice informed by any sort of national considerations - I harbor no such delusions - nor in any way based on some sort of great fame or perceived worth of this settlement. In short, I didn't come here like you'd go to New York, I came here like you'd go to Raleigh, NCiii. Still, considering the alternative was in the interim hit by a major earthquake and found itself unsettlingly close to the site of the largest nuclear incident in the history of planet Earthiv, I can't complain of chance.
Timisoara - in spite of the entirely undeserved fame it enjoys among Romanians themselves - showed itself marginal from the onset. It has been slowly deteriorating ever since then, and by now it soundly counts as a complete shithole. It is inhabited by a collection of remarkably inept if incredibly dense bovines, barely qualified to act as domestic servants but misrepresenting themselves as some sort of Freiherren if not Herzogen outright. This is a point which deserves some illustration :
- While average incomes never have (and likely never will) match social security payments in Western Europe, a liter of milk retails in Timisoara's supermarkets a good 20% above what you'd pay in Paris, France. Most other FMCG items hover around the same premium, plenty above. Why ? Stupidity tax, obviously. When you have to organise economic activity with idiots you end up spending more than if you had sane people you could employ.
- While gas prices are roughly double what they are in the USv, and while the average local makes ~400 dollars per month after tax, and while the whole town is about fifty square milesvi they manage to somehow have traffic. Not a little traffic, either, but quite a lot : it can easily take you four hours to cross the town in rush hour. All
tensix and a half miles of it. And they all "own" cars, too. In fact, I know numerous people who rent one room studios (wherein they live with a woman and her children) while paying leasing for a recent BMW. Which they park in front of the crummy, concrete prefab apartment building, making access impossible. But they don't mind, a two lane street doubleparked on each side with cars the rottinculo living nearby can't afford is a Timisorean's ideal. Why should cars be moving anyway ?! Not like he can afford the gas - it's all for showvii, that's all that matters.
- Seven years ago, Timisoara had for the second time elected a mayor out of a party with absolutely no support in national politics. Because they imagine they're special. This resulted in years of dismal support from the public treasury for the city, which ensured underdevelopment and sealed its fate, economicallyviii. And so they re-elected the guy for a third term. After which - this is where it gets beautiful - they elected a complete fucktard in his stead. A complete fucktard who had the support of what at the time superficially seemed like a major national partyix, and a major player in the governing alliance. Which alliance promptly collapsed, which party is pretty much dead as a going concern. And so, it's not that they've stuck to stupidity : they managed, a decade and a half later, to recreate the original conditions of their original stupidity. Going for another ride, these people!
- As you'd perhaps expect on the basis of 2 and 3 above, the utterly inept if woefully pretentious new mayor proceeded to import palm trees, which had to be guarded by the local police for months, ending up costing a significant portion of the city budget. Why would a town where the fig tree grows wild specifically need palms ? You don't grok this fala thing yet, do you.
- On the same lines, the same guy started a massive road work project, digging up literally every other street in the entire town (all of them in the center). A sort of local adaptation of Boston's Big Digx. This, obviously, could have been started and completed by parts - but then where'd the fala be ? And so six months before the political support for his party collapsed, the man dug up the entire town. It will be all finished just about the time I come back, which won't be this decade. In fact, I judge it more likely for Timisoara to be finished as a cityxi than for the diggaton to be finished as a construction project.
- The one thing which Timisoara does consistently and well is failure. In 2007 I attempted to organise an art exhibit, on the terms that I was going to pay, in cash, for everything involved. They didn't manage to do it. Last year, I attempted to support a nascent local party, by paying for a quarter's rent and other expenses (a quarter ton of alcohol, mostly) for a bunch of self-styled neonazi local kids. I pulled the plug on that thing three months later, at the end of which they.had.not done.anything. I'm not sure you exactly grok me, it's not that they hadn't round up the town's minorities and set them on fire. It's that they couldn't get together to make some stencils which someone (hopefully, someone else) was perhaps sometime (2015 ?) going to use for some purpose. Somewhere. Whatever.
To sum up : when I came here the town had no starred restaurants, but it had about half a dozen passable ones, including a sushi place. There is exactly one passable restaurant left today. There were two left last year. There's one decent hotel, there used to be three or four excellent dessert shops but none remain, there used to be at least a dozen great cafes but there's maybe two left and so on and so forth.
But what really got my goat, and I will never forget and never forgive, were the cycle paths. There's a dedicated article on the topic, aptly titled The Idiocy of Timisoara's City Hall. It cost the mayor at the time his seat, but all in vain, the idiocy persists.
Anyway : I enjoy walking, and I walk a lot. And I do not walk alone. And I expect BOTH women to be able to walk in step with me, on either side, and for people coming from the opposite direction to be able to pass us comfortably. This means that I require a good network of walkways no less than seven meters wide all through the center of the entire town without exceptions. You can't cut a meter wide "cycle path" through the middle of the walkway, and then have cars park on the other half, leaving me with room to walk single file, dear fuckwits. I do not walk single file, I'm not a virgin, I am a man with a harem. Get your heads out of your asses already.
So yes, this is a large part of why I'm leaving, the god damned cycle paths, but only as a formal expression of fundamental rot. These people aren't cool enough, aren't accomplished enough, aren't actually worthy of my continued presence. Timisoara has failed to retain the only important thing that ever happened here, in six or so centuries. Let this be forever remembered, as such. All you need to do to fall off the map is piss off one well chosen individual. All you need to do to exist, and to matter, is cater to the one guy that matters. Forget the fucking votes already, nobody cares, the voters themselves first on the list.
Anyway, that's it. I'm outta here, and I won't be mentioning this shithole named something I already forgot ever again.———
- It's been seven years almost. Sed fugit interea, fugit inreparabile tempus, singula dum capti circumvectamur amore. [↩]
- Quick, how many towns are there in the two hundred or so different states ? [↩]
- "It's close enough and far enough to DC" sort of consideration. [↩]
- Seriously, global warming worries you ? How about all those YottaBecquerels being dumped in the Pacific ? It's quite improbable we'll manage to extinguish ourselves through warming the planet. It's quite certain that if we do manage such a feat, it will be through mishandling of radioactive material.
Take it as an open invitation to think more and derp less. [↩]
- I kid you not, a liter here goes for 6.3 RON or so, and there being 3.78 liters in the gallon and 3.25 RON in the dollar, it comes to $7.32 per. [↩]
- You can comfortably go around the whole thing on foot in a day. No question about it, it'd be a pleasant walk - if you enjoy walking in mud boots, of course. [↩]
- Fala, in Romanian in original. [↩]
- Timisoara fancies itself the capital of a region, and economically relevant. This may have been true at some point, but meanwhile Arad, a minor Transylvanian town fifty miles away, has managed to divert most economic activity towards it, through not being quite as retarded. [↩]
- Except it was already well fucked. [↩]
- In terms of absolute size, scaled down. In terms of inefficiency and waste, roughly equal. [↩]
- It'd go bankrupt if it could find anyone stupid enough to lend it money. [↩]