I was sure I had recounted the titular joke many multiple times ad nauseam (and I still am). Nevertheless, a logsearch for Togo returns nothing even vaguely related (though plenty of lulz) and a trilema.com websearch for Togo returns... nothing even vaguely related either!i. Meanwhile I even searched the comments, occuring to me that perhaps it's there. It -- isn't.
So if it isn't, then let's recount it YET AGAIN, for the at least fifth time, this being (I'm told) the essence of humour : to always say the same things expecting the same results. Unlike (and quite opposite) the essence of insanity, I'm sure you're following.
Therefore : the proud city of Cluj(-Napoca) was always an important educational center, especially for medicine. Incidentally : this is a multipicture megapost, there's almost a hundred pictures scattered throughout, some including nudity in strange circumstances as well as collections of bizarre (as well as banal) weird or merely peculiar (though often enough entirely heremetic an' opaque) nonsense, littlesense, somesense and othersense. But we can't get to any of them, because we're stuck here making incidental impactions in the joketelling, and then reflectively discussing that in an infinite regression that promises little good will ever come out of it, ever.
Cluj offered significantly better schooling significantly cheaper and more conveniently than the bright kids in the third world could conceivably enjoy anywhere else in Europe, and consequently all sorts of doctors scattered all over the world that I encountered during my travels held a fond memory for that rare and radiant wonder -- the Romanian medical school of yore. And it helped people, you know ? For lo these fifty years, the thousands of orc doctors flowing out of my home town made the lives of millions of nobodies significantly better. Not a little significantly better, but a whole fucking lot significantly better. So marked the disproportion between what they got and what the getting cost them, in fact, that for all its ultimately idle and historically ridiculous fornaieli the British Empire can never come close. Maybe in absolute, sums-of-sums-of-sums terms. Maybe. In percentile terms, never.
Cluj-Napoca happens to also be the capital of Transylvania, which is... a very peculiar place. In it lie preserved, and undisturbed, traditions extending back beyond two millenia. How the informed mind could look upon the fenced Maramures household, scattered among the hills, and not immediately think "these idiots still imagine themselves building latifundiae" is strictly beyond me. Even leaving aside the screamingly obvious formal criterion, "why the fuck are they measuring land in iugera" and such, the petrification's structurally obvious! These are people who, deliberatedly, insistently, unyieldingly lived under a rock for the intervening twenty five centuries!!! They're just about to worship divine Augustusii once again!
So now, the joke. A man, from the foregoing paragraph, who just happens to be as black as they comeiii climbs onto one of the ridiculous trains they have there (you can't imagine these things, they go slower today than US early steam engine went in 1850). There seated, predating his climbingiv an old peasant woman. She sits and looks at the devil quietly for a while.
Then for a while more.
Then finally, asks him where's he from ?
"I'm from Togo"
The woman sits, and thinks.
The woman sits and thinks, and then she sits some more, and then she thinks some more.
"Din Togo, din Togo... da' de-a cui ?" which would translate as "oh, so you're from Togo, but what's your mother's name", because in Transylvanian Romanian repetition is affirmation (ever encountered this concept before ?) and filiation is maternal. All (malev) children are given the name of the saint celebrated they day they're born, and they become Saint-of-hismom. Ion a Mariei Toadii would then be "Theodora's daughter Mary's spawnling she called John". This is identity, see : whence and wherefore. The only possible answer'd have been impossible (which is the joke), but a correct answer'd have looked something like "de-a Ikponmwosii Xetsii", which isn't even fucking Dagomba or anything -- but this doesn't matter, because Romanian doesn't conceptualize itself as a language, but simply the language, and therefore the female names will end in a and declense appropriately or else the name's broken!
So now you know.
Above : Croco, Piata Pacii. Back in the day there were two main places to meet people : you met the poor (meaning, "intellectuals") at this stand-up cafe and you met the rich (meaning, "men of business") at the Conti[nental]. It's just how the place worked, when it still did.
Below : The view from my exact classroom, closely approximated position. Scoala Generala Nr. 2, clasa C. Portion of the roofing's been apparently redone in the intervening decades, but the far side's exactly original ; and so is that brothel-like internal walkway.
The gates were locked, by the way, and a sheet of paper in a plastic sleeve announced the doubtless hordes of helicopter moms in the upper middle class demographic this school ever served that they'd better step the fuck off, give the kiddies some space to kiddy.
I explained to the doorman that I intend to bother no-one, but merely visit, because I went to school there thirty years prior and I'd like to show my own girlies the layout. This massively impressed the fellow, and after some mirvniki deliberations not only did he work the metal latches and other technowonders, but I was even provided (free of charge) with one of the teachers to show me around. Nobody remembered anything I did, nor anything worked the way it used to, and yet we managed to jointly find my way in and outvi to great satisfaction (mostly, mine) and great bewilderment (mosty, hers). We even identified an old tree that figures in a childhood story of mine.
And at the end, as we were going back towards the impossible portal that spawned us in the first place, a local kiddo, bright and brave, intercepted me.
"Where do you come from ?" he wanted to know.
"Ah. And what line of work are you in ?"
"Eh... there's this Internet thing. Did you ever hear of the Internet ?" I asked, deliberately xenomorphic.
"Do I!" returned the nine year old, with the air that the matter's now well settled. He even writes his own games, he assured me!
As you can see, dear
leaderreader, the world, the world that's left behind, nevertheless's always left behind in very good hands. And how could it not be ?
Above : Gangul cu filme, approx "the film gang", the absolutely perfect "where to meet after cutting class" spot. More glorious partnerships were struck up under its glorious aegis than I dare recollect!
Above as below : sic transit. Never was the nervecenter of power so mistreated by the passage of so little time, excepting, of course, all the other times.
Above : this thing is exactly the same it was back then. The context seems to call for something like "who could have predicted", but honestly it was fucking obvious this'll be the case back then, too. Which makes the story sweet -- for there's nothing bitterer under the Sun than such obviousness disabused.
Below : the cemetery. And a fine cemetery it is indeed -- to be honest, the best part of the entire town, as far as my taste's concerned.
Below : a hostel. No kidding.
Above : the pond in the Japanese garden in the Botanical Garden of Cluj. Are these things supposed to be murky ?
Below : carnivorous plants. As we were going in, a large family group was buying tickets. After a curt encouragement from his father, in retort to some plaintive question I couldn't make out, the twelve year old boy upon whose shoulders burdened the future and the inheritance of that unit inquired with the woman : do they sell plants ? They do, she trutted into her most bureaucratic tone, as exposed. Including a coffee plant. But how about carnivorous plants ? No, she retorted, just as mechanically, metal squeak and static buzz strangely, quite inexplicably absent. No, just what's exposed.
Oh, but how I remember that coffee plant. I too, so very many years ago, I too wanted a god damned carnivorous plant, and I too was offered coffee plants instead. The world is always left in very good hands -- the only problem's nothing the fuck ever changes, somehow the hands never get around to doing anythefuckthing!
And how I wanted that dumb thing...
Above : lotus leaves, exactly, and I do mean absolutely and entirely exactly as I remember them.
Below : there's a picture somewhere on this blog, a picture I'm right now too lazy to go and find. It was published back then as a tongue in cheek reference to this one here -- because as my footsteps carried me to Argentina, so I saw, with my own eyes, the thing, in the wild, that seemed improbable accident here. 'Twas not. It's genuine, though now that I write I am no longer sure -- genuine which ?
Above : innards of old poplar tree. They rot from inside, apparently.
Below : me.
Above as below : bimbo met nettle. There's a lot of advantages to making them go bare cunt under the shortest, flimsiest of dresses -- such as for instance, all it takes for a good nettling is a "turn around, bend over". Two seconds.
There's also a lot of advantages to making them shave, such as for instance "fuck! and I just shaved too!".
She got it pretty good, what can I tell you. Doesnt pain look unflattering on her ?
Above : plan for the Japanese garden. Though I confess I harbor certain doubts.
Below : unplanned whale outhouse right next to my very luxurious accomodations.
Above as below : the luxurious accomodations in question. There's no phone at the front desk -- if you want to talk to them, you have to place calls to random girlies' cellphones. Just this and you'd suspect a brothel thinly disguised, who the fuck ever heard of getting a list of the staff's private phone numbers as a logical extension to checking in.
They also don't have a bellhop. "What the fuck are you talking of, 4 stars ?!" Because it is, you know, actually classified as a 4 star thing, with no phone, no bellhop and worse than no internet.
Above : O!
Below : More detailed whale outhouse.
Above : an old friend.
Below : quite the question! And what fabulous context!
Above : drinks tryouts.
Below : Guess how I keep my hat clean ?
That's right, that's how I keep my hat clean.
Here be items of entirely no public interest, properly speaking, preserved nevertheless for my own convenience of nostalgia.
Above, for instance, is a slut walking a path I used to often take, perchance sometimes dreaming of quite such sluts, that yet weren't there -- or anywhere.vii Never before did the path manage to bask in the company of such a one, nor even worth half the salt and barely a portion of the name. Yet I, effortlessly, carelessly, accidentally one day did what never for its endless and uninterruptible existence could it ever hope to have otherwise achieved.
We're not the same, this path and I. We're not the same, for even while it will obscurely perdure long past I'm gone, yet never will its perdurance be worth an unripe fig, once I am gone. For what will it do without me ? Sit ? Wait ? What for ? What's there left for a path to await, once my glory's not to walk it evermore ?
Below, me, also for instance, also thereabouts.
Above, as below : the magical fortress in the magical forest of my youth. Meanwhile the forest's been raped into a park, and bears all the insults of "civilisation" : gravel paths, and organised children playing spaces, and fences and on and on, from that sad, lengthy list of shameful maculae. The fortress' been fenced "for safety" and assorted idiocy, yet there it stands, witness to so many glorious, delicious, perfect moments of yet incipient, yet unaware, yet nevertheless BDSM...
Can you imagine, my dear reader, being picked up by a horde of savages from right under your door, dragged, kicking and screaming, pubescent tits directly evident under the flimsy garb of the very hungry period, your childish snatch coming out that side or this of the single kind of shorts you could buy anyway, to be thrown into the scary darkness of the catacombs below, to cry and howl by yourself in there until such a time as forces far above your head, far into the light, male forces incomprehensible decided it's time for you to go out again ? Perhaps ? "Pleaseeeee" ?
Can you feel the horror ? Even now, in your very bones, the exciting, exquisite horror of meaningful gender relations ?
Can you see what a world of good such treatment (not mistreatment, and eminently not abuse) would do for your coddled, chlorotic daughter ? How well it'd fix all her problems, imagined such as they are, fungus grown on the dregs of your own unhygienic mind, populated by naught but fear, naught but "concern", naught but the anxious fumes of the sadness of a neglected female's life ?
Too bad nobody can be arsed to provide anymore ; so there you rot, with a teardrop-shaped lamp burning the rancid oil of "pretending it's by your choice" as your sole companion.
Above : Hannah said "it makes quite the excellent Ruined Fane". What an astute observation! It's exactly what it is, I have little doubt all my ulterior interest in high fantasy computer games comes from this healthy childhood of mine, at the foot of the Ruined Fane.
Below : one day, the nettle was the true queen of the underbrush. Today, it sits shily at the entrance, daring not go in, wondering where it should buy a ticket, and how to do such a thing, and what would be the visitation hours. And yet one day...
Above : the fence against which I broke my arm (the first time aroundviii). Imagine that, it still stands! It didn't merely vaniquish my squiggly appendage, but the lures of father Time himself! To be honest... I have no complaints.
Below : the street I climbed most every day, all the way to early highschool. I still remember it fondly. In fact, talking to the girls, retelling stories I had already told but in strict context now ("there! there was so and so!") and recalling to mind myriad others I had never told before, it occured to me again : I had the happiest of childhoods. I doubt that many children do, because my childhood was bereft of that one true bane of childish life, which is unyielding meaninglessness. Most kids are assailed, besieged by this, nonsense that won't either go the fuck away or explain itself sensibly. I, on the other hand, had none of that, my life made perfect sense throughout, by my own standards, to myself.
There really isn't more to ask.
Above : that house was a ruin, slowly decaying, thirty years ago. Literally, not exageratedly, thirty years ago. Turns out decay takes a really long time, huh ?
I suppose it also depends on who made the thing, and how they made it.
Below : would you like to buy something ?
Above : the sky of Cluj. Looking through it I realised that besides having my own slaves with me on the trip, the two things that made it quite so enjoyable are, in that order, not talking to anybody I used to know and not having any intention of staying.
Below : my old highschool.
Above : "Hala agroalimentara", the main produce market. Now with Bingo!
Below : luxurious dining in this sad, small provincial townix. There's no decent restaurant here ; even the town's signature item atop the Belvedere (that the locals reverently avoid as expensive beyond the conceivable) is little more than a glorified grill / diner.
Above : the dork dragging my boat out was very disapproving of my having the sluts do the work. Another dork came on the deck to tear my tickets, and very disapprovingly pointed out that "So, two persons". What the fuck, two persons, I rented one of these paddleboat things. "No, it's by person."
Holy shit, can you imagine such nonsense ? In mitigation he proposed I go pay an extra three bucks on my way out ($2.65 or something like that, rather), which I did. But can you imagine such nonsense ?!
Anyway, so I've been to Cluj for a coupla days this week, now everybody can get the fuck off my case. I have no intention of ever going again, I am deeply unimpressed with both the place and its "progress" in the interval we've not seen each other (and yes, what happened is exactly what the fuck I thought would happen when I left, and why the fuck I left in the first place)... The buildings are great while the people suck mightily compared to their grandfathers. Which, incidentally, is also why the buildings are great : they live longer, so some grandfather buildings still stand.
- I mean, vaguely related to Togo. Plenty of stuff related to me, such as 2010 testimonies of wealth or w/e. [↩]
- No, not Trajan, that's such claptrap... The only ruler Transylvania ever cared to comprehend was that Octavia runt, G. Thurinus -- and even he is more a matter of putative, distant future than anything. The reason they even tolerated xtianity (and the internal sense they made out of it) was simply this -- "oh, Augustus is too modern to be yet, will come later". Thassit, that's 100% of Transylvanian xtianity, they're quite pleased to hear there's no urgent need to leave 2`500 years ago, can stick around for a little while longer. Wanna embroider some togas ? [↩]
- As black as who come ? As far as today's 2500 years ago world is concerned, the only they who come in kettle hues are the devils. Period and full fucking stop, what's so hard to grok about this ? Green means go, red means stop, yes means anal and black means devil. Deal with it, not least of all because you were damn well asking for it in the first place. [↩]
- You're noticing what I'm doing here, yes ? [↩]
- Seriously. Women aren't really people, consequently there's a pool of names people draw from. Like cows, exactly. [↩]
- Do you know that old joke, by the way, with the Transylvanian finally getting married and that night the wife shockingly discovering that he has no idea nor much interest in what to do ?
She attempts to instruct him, in simple terms. "Get on top of me" "Now stick it in" "Now take it back out" "Now stick it back in again."
"No." comes calmly the stalwart answer.
"And why the fuck not ?!" pitches feminine despair.
"You're indecisive." [↩]
- Yes, me and my boys, we invented this. We invented it, and I'm owning that fucking inventing. [↩]
- I was going through those scary serpentines, on straight ice, with my ice skates on ; suddenly there was a sharp turn and well... I didn't make it, so wham! [↩]
- The first day you go downtown, kinda willing to go with whatever flow, and you're blown away, all these bistros / wine bars and wine bars / bistros! So you have some of their fare, it's not terrible, but the next day you discover... they actually have no restaurants. People eat out... at bistros.
Yet there's a difference, and it goes like so : any fucktard / monkey can run a bistro, you're basically making sandwiches and milkshakes. A proper kitchen is about ten times as expensive, both in terms of capital goods as well as human resources -- which readily explains it : Cluj wants to eat out rarely enough and cheaply enough, it's not good business to try and keep a restaurant. But what if I don't want to eat sandwiches and milkshakes ? What, order an omlet ?
Then you discover... they have no cafes, either. Mozart cafe, that was fabulous twenty years ago, is now a sad shadow of its former self, as if termites had eaten it from within. The decor looks precisely as if someone kept selling museum pieces to replace them with garbage salvage, on the doubtful theory "nobody'll ever notice anyway". Everything on the menu (100+ items), mere combinations of "mascarpone", "sweet cream" and two or three other industrial foams supplied by a Sysco subcontractor in multi-galon containers. It's exactly like a 4-spigot beer pub pretending to be a "cocktail piano bar" : you punch out durations for each of the four spigots on the cocktail music sheet so the punchouts add up to a full draft's duration, and there you go, that's your "cocktail". Would you like a delicious serving of "Clair de Lune" ? 2.5 seconds Tuborg, 0.5 seconds Guiness, 2 seconds Heineken. Or are you more the "Barber of Seville" type ? 1 second Tuborg, 1 second Heineken, 3 seconds Budweiser. What, problem ?!
Q Cafe (I'm going off some official list of coolest cafes in town, don't ask) smelled of stale socks as we went in. Profusely. What the fuck boot camp cafe is this supposed to be, they're contrary styles. Their terrace was one foot wide, which is not a fucking terrace, in fact, it's not even an emergency gangway.
And so on and so forth in this manner, it's really not worth belabouring the point. Most rural midwestern shitholes fare better than Cluj on the "going out" front. What the fuck, Bistrocity. [↩]