My weekend adventure. Including the answer to the Florimund riddle, bears, how Brasov got itself banned (but Romania altogether not just yet), assorted derisions and aspersions as well as no sexually explicit content wharsoever!
You don't believe me, do you.
Ah well, at least it was a good title.
Be all that as it may (and speaking of titles) : the count Claude Florimundi de Mercy, you see, was an Imperialii field marshal, born at Longkech in Lotharingia (now Lorraine). He looks just like Dimitrie Cantemir, too, because that's how everyone looked like back then. Imagine the technology of the 1700s, if you will : in you'd go into one of those 9-month likeness engraving booths (just like they have now at train stations etc), pay your fee of five sacks of gold or thereabouts, and just like that 1-2-3 by the time your mistress delivered her third they'd have your likeness nice and carved, ready to give it to you. Except, of course, they always carved the same one. And it worked, too, because guess what ? That's what you wanted to be anyway. Do the middle ages happen to sound at all familiar to you ? No ? Oh, my boy, my boy... don't lie... to me... tell me why... dont you sleep... at night! Oh the platforms... oh the likes... is it true you want to be... the same one dude ? Well what the fuck all the pretense, then! We could just call you all Bob, and my car can be Florimund because while it certainly has actually interchangeable parts, it also has way the fuck more of a personalityiii than the lot of you.
Why all the scrolling, by the way ? Up and down and back up and back down... that's not how you read, or rather : that's not how literate people read, flipping through the pages looking for pictures. Certainly not after the age of eight or so!
But to get back to what we were saying : the original Florimund was well known as a consummately successful if shockingly intreprid raider into enemy territory, and the car's a Mercedes. Logic, you see, will open all the mysteries and solve all the gates for you. Don't you find ?
Let me guess, we're just about whereabouts this current article earns its "thought provoking" accolades. Somehow, who knows, somehow they all do, but it's not willy-nilly, arbitrary, pre-decided. It's always earned, in the field, and here's where this one earns it -- because that's the other, just as good (meaning just as bad) defense of the injured psyche : if it can't laugh with me it'll nod with me, oh, yeah, #itisthoughtprovoking. Isn't the fact that I know this somewhat scary, by the way ? What next, Bobby ? Do you suppose that's what the Pathe says, too, about the grooves ? "Oh, these are music-provoking!" I bet they are, Bobster. I bet they'd better be.
Here's the problem : a purchased personality enjoys about as much purchaseiv in reality as a followed thought. There's a difference, a very marked if not superficially visible difference, between a group of people who went out to dress according to what they felt like dressing and ended up dressed similarily enough to make an army on one hand, and a group of people who went out to buy the shit they all buy for the express purpose of looking good together on the other hand. The same difference, just as marked if not immediately visible, stands between people who ended up with the same conclusions through thinking through the same things, and the people who came over to see what all the noise is about. So no, to belatedly answer an otherwise very important question... actually, I'm pretty sure it well answered itself by now. It's what it is, and for how poorly it works I'm still of the oppinion that damn ratchet's working remarkably well.v
Above : artistic rendition of the artist's workshop, with tools and items.The reason the pliers' bicolor's that it was left out one rainy weekend, so it started rusting, so it got the Coca-Cola treatmentvi, thus an alt-colored layer of iron carbonate on the portion that fit in the glass.
Below : Florimund, yet on the lot, which is to say before anyone even actually realised who it is they're dealing with. The plates are actually fake (not in the sense of being actually counterfit, merely taken off a different car) as part of a complex and far-reaching conspiracyvii to get the car delivered. In any case I expect I'm the only fellow in this part of the world (not to say "in this part of the historical timeline) to have ever decided he wants a new car Sunday night, hammer out the spec on the spot, then visit one lot Monday morning, get exceptionalized at the hysterically poor quality of serviceviii, make some phone calls (tm) and then have the specified item delivered, testedix and registeredx in time for starting a joyride Thursday morning (harem time, noonish irl). I know people, what can I tell you. I know cool people.xi
These... ahem. These aren't actually sexually explicit because the raver slut captured (while she's licking my shoes) did way the fuck nastier things as the trip progressed, so this, in being just the tip as they say, doesn't cunt. Nicole the Bear's driving, aided by her trusty navigator Frog (o boy am I gonna catch hell for having forgotten this one's name, lords' mercy), who was actually fished by Hannah out of those coin stealing machine things with a crane during a stay in Nudapest (though I honestly don't remember which one)xii and who works for a fair share of the car's catch of flies. Which... you realise these deranged whores were doing like 190 on the highway, yes ? No, I don't mean occasionally, I mean they sit in the leftermost lane with a brick on the gas pedal and that's that, everyone's getting the fuck out of the way. The one time some slow thing was "passing" some other slow thing (I think these may be cars, or trucks or vans or something, but honestly they go by way the fuck too fast to tell) and it took too long so she honked the sound came out all weird, like underwater, because we were doing like mach 0.6 or thereabouts. So -- yes, the car's catch of flies is a significant pie, and especially so for a little frog (and especially so for a little plushie frog, whose belly is so small when compared to its monstrously humongous head it looks credible it could swallow its own torso in a single gulp).
Above : outside view of the conv... ahem. Oh, look, a German city!
Above : gate of the Brukenthal museum. By bureaucratic requestxiii the sad shithole will not be mentioned in other terms than to point out that it is the most ridiculously impossible intertwine of orcish insanity and neglected decay. The walls are, quite visibly and most literally, falling apart, while "exhibit items" dangle in the still air suspended by (quite visibly, and most literally) laundry wire, garishly colored in whatever nuances the Chinese thought'd sell best (shockingly at odds from the browns so specific to bad oil painting). There's overpowering glare, such that 90% of the angles are simply unusable -- somehow two dozen idiots sit around those stiff, unaired rooms all day long without it ever occuring to them that this is very much not a museum, and until they actually get the glare problem fixed it can't be a museum, and it has to be done right now, like it were a firexiv, because if it isn't... there might as well have been a fire, for all the difference this makes. Guaranteedly they "studied" in "college" for a decade+ (in this part of the world, pharmacists come from pharmacy school, a right and proper medical school specialization, and notaries are trained by law schools, just like lawyers or judges), because insanity of this exquisite sort can't simply be found in nature -- it has to be carefully and slowly instilled into a selection of pre-broken minds. For their trouble they get to waste their lives retracing the steps of Ovidiu Gorea ; though unlike that literary character (who is about to make Prime Minister these days, once he finally comprehended his role in the film and started applying it in his life, by quitting "acting" and starting a career in "politics" instead), they won't be touched by the vorlons. Say it with me now, "portretul fetei din tramvai..."
Oh, and they have air conditioning units. The no-part-outside-building kind, do you know those ? The things that work on the principle of the open fridge, "cooling" in a localised sense but warming otherwise ? Dozens of them, everywhere. Fortunately they weren't on in August, making the place somewhat bearable for they coming from the carefully controlled climate of Florimund's innards, for half hour or so at a stretch. I imagine they may come quite handy in the Winter, though, as needlessly complex, elaborate resistive heaters.
Below : Very cramped hotel room we didn't end up staying at (faintly pervasive body odours haunting the place no doubt a large contributing factor). But it's pretty, right ?
It also doesn't have a parking garage. Nor does it have any parking at all. The receptionist genuinely expects you'll park the car on the street, somewhere six miles away through a maze of one way streets. They actually think like this, any random building unfit for the purpose can nevertheless be "a hotel" through the wonderful magicks of painting labels.
Above : as you can see, very recherche'd shot.
Below : the town of Hermannstadt. The decay, charming as you may find it, is nevertheless very genuine.
Above (and below) : dinner, at this top ticket downtown eatery. It wasn't very good ; but we were entertained throughout by the stories of this 27 yo psychiatrist the whoremaster general fished out of the Roswamp somehow. Apparently some drunk dude killed a coupla 20something bums recently (over, no doubt, sexual misbehaviourxv of such outrageous excess as to be well deserving of such fate), and now the police round up all drunks and take them to the psych ward, to be mandatorily interned. She said the exact words, "we have to", Ballas' dream come true. This is what "the world" came to, exactly as predicted and to nobody's surprise -- just in case you were still harboring hopes&dreams as to the eventual sufficiency of anything but the hardest of reboots. Can them, it ain't gonna happen.
Above : this vaguely schizoprenic bar/club/irish pub downtown ("Oldies"). The local motorcycle gang (old dudes with beards in dark leather and flip-flops) coexist peacibly whith the after work crowd (middle aged careerwomen and assorted horribilia) while drooling in their beers ; the walls are covered in posters, most of which Sex Pistols and such but then the occasional Star Trek or emo nonsense (whatever the mass-culture shop had in stock when they did the decorating job). It plays radio, so there's whatever music they have on the radio, you know...
Below : "please do not block emergency exit", blocked institutionally. India got nothing over these cattle right here!
Above : there's a spring running over that concrete overpass, and so it's started creating little stalactites by leeching out the carbonate from the cement. Give it a few more centuries...
Below : starting towards the Transfagarasan, this crown jewel of the meanwhile defunct Ceausescu regime.
From left to right : bulz, smoked sausage, lamb, local style goulash. Oh and a serving of sarmale on the leftermost below (the second serving -- the first one went too fast to take any pictures ; what can I tell you, the mountain air kindles the appetites).
Above : illusionary waterfall. Because I can.
Below : bear. Yup, that's right, bear.
And well... that'd be it, really.
Originally, the idea was we'd go to Sibiu, sleep there one night, then go to Brasov, with a detour to check out the above Transfagarasan (which the girls have never seen, and I drove over so very many times) then maybe do Transalpina on the way back (supposedly the thing Ceausescu wanted to surpass).
As we were pulling into the outskirts of Brasov against the setting sun, we decided we'd check out Poiana Brasov first. This stands to reason : if a large city (Brasov is not large by any measure except "is there anything larger nearby", of course) has a resort service town connected, those people will probably have by far the best accomodations available. It just makes sense to put it all there, doesn't it ? Yet in actual practice, all of Poiana Brasov consists of "our hotel's idea of a suite is one bedroom with a campaign cot in the glorified hallway". No kitchen. No two bedrooms. Not even a fucking bath tub. How the fuck can you have suites without bath tubs (we're not discussing bidets over here, aite ?), what is even the point of the room-and-hallway suite ? What, I can't walk into the hotel's hallways, do I actually need a private one for some reason ?!
But this is the problem with Romanian "cleverness", you see. If anywhere else the simple logic of "hey, everyone visiting Brasov will go stay in Poiana Brasov, let's build the shit out of this thing then" would result in a slightly overbuilt resort town with ample accomodation available above standard (and actually driving the standard), the Romanians will just sit and look around. "People are coming here anyway, so why bother do anything", is their reactive reaction, subjectively misperceived as some kinda "smart". It very much isn't, as exemplified here : people came, and then people left. Because what the fuck was I going to do ?! After the sixth or so item badly built, out of unexpected angles, strange contortions... there was an actual "hotel" there that had no elevators. It didn't even have a stairwell, it just sported random stairs grown in places, past corners and curves, as if the whole thing was the feverish dream of an insane widow. What the fuck was I supposed to do, lug luggage upstairs ?! Is this the 1700s or some shit, how long were these nitwits actually asleep, what the fuck did these people miss ?!
So I called this off, deciding instead we'll stay in a commodity hotel somewhere in town, get a coupla double rooms next to each other and be done with it. Except... well, you see... there are no hotels in Brasov.
I don't mean, "there are no granpa's houses (without the garage) the inheritors decided to run a bed&breakfast out of", sure, those are aplenty, but I'm very rarely interested. No, hotels, you know, the institutional building, twenty or so floors on a city block, with two or three garage floors underneath, I know you must've seen a hotel before in your life. Doesn't have to be the Plaza or anything, just, a fucking hotel already, not an inn, not a motel, not a jesus fucking christ, Brasov ain't got them. There's no Radisson there's no Mariott, there's no Hilton, there's not even a Leonardo or NH or whatever glorified motels catering to the business / conference trade.
There are no fucking hotels in Brasov, I dunno how to put it plainer, it's a small, forgotten farming community struggling with some version of the blockchain apparently split off from the main chain some time in the past centuries. Plural, centuries. That's it.
I'll probably be back there after I'm done reviewing Cheyenne, Casper, Laramie an' Gillette, the jewels of Wyoming, or something like that. There's a lot of towns that can't provide the traveller with accomodation in this world, why the fuck would he bother to pick exactly yours, you know ?
Do you ?———
- Also spelled "Florimond", but that's just wrong. [↩]
- De-al "Sfintului Imperiu Roman de Natiune Germana", a sorta "Blessed American Emprie of Mexican Nationality" successor state to the pile of idle pretense currently occupying the North American continent. Except this was in Europe, obviously. [↩]
- No, personality is not a collective label for "unjustifiable arbitrary quirks". A personality is when it wants 91 or 95 octane fuel, specifically, because that's what the engine was built for. You think I'm joking, you always think I'm joking, it's the simplest defense, a life ironic. Yet I'm not fucking kidding, my car has more personality than you do, Bobby. Because that's what a fucking personality is, justifiable and therefore comprehensible difference. And my car doesn't "think" I'm "joking", either. Nor does it imagine it "can choose" among Fast Moving Consumer Personality Palettes, conveniently pre-packaged for its convenience over at the convenience store. Nor, for that matter, does it stay up all night fretting.
You see how everthing ties into itself ? Just like a modern engine, Bobby. Just like a modern car engine. Don't tell me you thought complexity was what made you human! [↩]
- Oh hi, Nicole! [↩]
- A very fine, master's handtool has the disadvantage that it works if you work it -- when compared to a steam shovel it's quite ineffectually unimpressive. Then again, the same is its advantage, what can I tell you. Here, let's do some text work :
Tu, Șmul, ești leneș, zice Ștrul. Tu nu vrei să lucrezi destul, și d-aia nu câștigi nimică! Tu de vr-un an tot migălești o iconiță mititică: o tot sucești și-o învârtești și văd că n-o mai isprăvești... Eu într-o var-am isprăvit o mânăstire și un schit, cu învelit și cu vopsit.
Iar Șmul răspunde trist: „Hei! Știu...dar... tu -- tu ești tinichigiu, iar eu -- eu sunt giuvaergiu...”
Morală: una-i Ștrul și alta Șmul.
Need I translate ? [↩]
- What do you use the cans of industrial-strength rust stripper for ? [↩]
- You shoulda seen the dude driving it 130 with no shits given whatsoever, I bet he's mostly a getaway driver. [↩]
- Forget anything you think you know about car salesmen. These dudes couldn't even specify when they'll get a certain type of car, and could've not given less of a shit if anything gets sold or if whatever's sold fits any particular purpose. I'm guessing they use unemployed computer experts in this (and all other) jobs nowadays ? [↩]
- Which Includes oil changed (to custom oil+additives specification, because "forget about it, you can't get real Castrol here, it's all RU/CN ship-made crap"), new tyres (hey, a set of five new Bridgestone all-season's not even a grand ?), filters, brakepads, the works.
Yes, I know they do all that for you too. Of course they do. [↩]
- You know, the process whereby you queue at the DMV for the whole fucking day to get your plates / car registration -- and don't even try to tell me that you don't, because of course you fucking do, soviet. [↩]
- And no, it wasn't even that expensive. [↩]
- As you can see, if it wasn't for the blog I couldn't produce a coherent paragraph or remember much if anything of my own existence. [↩]
- One of the shockingly moronic assistants befouling the place with their anxiously counterproductive presence pointed out that "no photos", because they expect to be paid extra for such, at some ridiculously elaborate rate specified in great detail on a large poster taking up most of a wall. General entry is about eight bucks a head (and it produces a good stack of various "tickets", and yes they'll ask to see your ticket multiple times in a linear process at junctures you could only have conceivably reached by already showing your ticket to n-1 pointless muppets -- or else I suppose through astounding feats of agility & inutility), but the list of exceptions takes no less than five thousand words and a small country's supply of governmental bullet points to properly flesh out to the demanding taste of these demented fucks, who probably thought rolling in the twelve bucks for also taking photographs'd have been entirely exorbitant not to mention offensively convenient. And besides, photographs fees have to be timed, twelve bucks or so an hour (and they probably come with one of those superlatively annoying electronic timers they chased out of a "Relaxing Teahouse" with once, because they spent all this idle verbiage on how the twenty-page menu of variations and varietals each differently and speciffically if unrelentingly relax you, only to have a chorus of beep-beep-beepers from hell chime in every twelve to thirty-nine seconds, like in that Tom & Jerry cartoon with sad old Father Time). God fucking knows having a flat fee for such a thing'd have gone against absolutely everything Romania stands for, namely inadequacy, insufficiency and a mean cheapness nonpareil.
I wasn't at that point about to turn back to do these intolerable fucks a favour, which is what my taking pictures always fucking is -- I've yet to encounter that thing who can claim a larger benefit for me photographing it than it derives itself through my photography. They should've been paying me, no fucking question about it, but it's okay : you don't get to see it, and therefore don't feel like you should visit it (which you definitely shouldn't, it's not worth visiting unless you're some kind of entomological voodoomeister who's somehow ran out of insane everywhere else). Not like there's anything worth the mention in there anyway, a buncha 2nd hand 2nd tier Euro paintings from all the bad years. [↩]
- Here, let's have some fun together, reviewing the lesson in Romanian imbecility I presented the girls over breakfast. So, knowing that in Romanian fire is "foc" and extuinguisher is "stingator", how do you say fire extinguisher ?
No, it's "stingator de incendii", because it can't be simply fire, you see. It has to be the specific fire that burns down houses, it can't be the same fire in "do you have a match" ("Aveti un foc ?").
Fine then, so how do you denote the fire extinguishers on the map made for fire emergencies ?
Ohohohoh. No, it can't be the name. It wouldn't be periphrastic enough! It has to be "material de interventie", see ?
Yes, they're exactly this fucking stupid, I'm not engineering this to make a point, on the contrary, I'm constructing this as a narrow summary in the manner they make textbooks, discounting most elaborate wtf and keeping the core only. This is the core of the Romanian sentiment of being (don't ask), and it's truthfully a howling pity and a bitter shame that it still exists. [↩]
- There's this apparently un-afore-published bit of harem lore, built around some "private" footage we once observed, wherein some local dork was getting his associated dorkette to suck him off, except she was doing a shockingkly poor job of it, and then halfway through declared audibly that "am supt-o destul", ie, "she's sucked it enough" -- as fucking if such a thing can be declared rather than obtained immediately, from the... flow of evidence, so to speak. It became a sort of symbolic pars-pro-toto exonym for the civillians, this is what whores think non-whores do with their lives (and they're, from what I hear, not even all that wrong). [↩]