St. Mary


Green Hours, Bucharest

In aligning Romania to the European values, some years ago the religious holiday of St. Mary was declared National Holiday. The holiday is on August 15, right in the middle of the holiday month and lots of people drive to the Black Sea for at least a 3 day weekend if they are lucky enough to find accommodation in a weekend that is completely booked. Holidays were scarce during the Communist times but now they enjoy enough holidays and especially the European standard of 6, yes six, working weeks vacation that they may take in bulk sometimes. In the same vacation spirit, maternity leave was extended to two years with a hefty 85% pay. Taking advantage of so many time off travel agencies have amazing offers for tours around the world and many Romanians travel a lot. If you ask somebody where the balance should be, of course they would love to be better paid but if push comes to shove a longer vacation is preferred to more earnings. And for sure I don’t blame them …
In Bucharest, with its slow tempo in the summer, the concerts are succeeding one after another, Rihana, Sia and some others packing the Constitution Square. For St Mary’s day another Mary, Raducanu, a folk-ethno-jazz singer filled the garden of Green Hours in the city center in an extremely pleasant and intimate atmosphere till late in the night.

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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Blog, Romania


August in Bucharest


Bucharest Old Town

I never visited Bucharest in August but I was quite surprised by the tempo the city has in the heat of the summer. First and foremost you cannot avoid noticing the large number of store closed. Entire chains are closed for vacation, some of them for 5-6 weeks. The pastry place near my house, some wine store and even both bread stores were closed and others were in renovation in a concealed vacation. To my utmost surprise I noticed that even the security services are going to the beach for a month and I was wondering if they share a house with the thieves in order to keep them at bay and not creating havoc when they are in vacation. The streets are obviously less crowded by cars, you can zip in a cab easier in the city but in evening the cafes are absolutely packed till wee hours, no matter that they are supposed to close at midnight. They are so packed that on the Old Town streets aligned with cafes and restaurants one near the other it was impossible to find an empty table. The youth were sitting relaxed on the couches that were invading the street and nobody looked to have any intention of leaving their seats. The evenings are pleasantly warm and people were enjoying life way more than work…Of course everybody had to be early in the offices but only me, who are in vacation from the crazy America, I was leaving early the stage imbibed by some kid of work-drug that they put in our coffee in New York.  Leaving so early, meaning 12-1:00 AM, I always feel in Bucharest like a party pooper,  everybody looking at me like “Are you crazy. Where do you go at this hour?”. When I told this story to some New Yorker friends they asked me if this happens usually over the weekends. To their utmost surprise I explained to them that it was on a Tuesday…


Even security is off in August in Bucharest

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Posted by on August 6, 2016 in Blog, Romania


Die Himmel uber Berlin…


Berlin, Germany

I am not one of the fallen angels but I felt so much for this sky landing in Berlin, so dearly remembered from the Wim Wenders movie translated into English as “Wings of Desire”. I looked towards Berlin from the sky over a city that last time when I visited it was divided and I remembered standing two blocks away from the wall and trying to figure out myself, what many Germans tried for generations, how to grow wings and fly over the infamous wall toward the much desired freedom. On the road in front of me the Stasi patrols on fast motorbikes were zipping to and fro trying to deflect people like me who were thinking about escaping.

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Posted by on August 2, 2016 in Blog, Germany


A dictator’s dream


Each and every time when it happens to hear The Donald speak I have the feeling that I am in a bar at a very, very late hour. But when I pinch myself and realize that he does not drink it becomes surreal. However many people connect very well to his bar style and embrace ideas to the extreme. This girl wears this incredible T-shirt, in this photo taken at event at Plymouth State University sometimes in February this year. Maybe Erdogan can get a position in the cabinet also. As long as this partnership looked like it didn’t click The Donald had to concede and settled for Mike Pence.
As rightly Michael Bloomberg put it the previous night: “I am a New Yorker. I know a con when I see one.”

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Posted by on July 29, 2016 in Blog, News, USA


Globalism versus nationalism


The wave of uncontrolled immigration that flooded Europe last year started to bring to fruition all the predicted omens. Almost everyday is an attack, some of the perpetrated by migrants, infiltrated through Merkel’s “children” or regular guys radicalized by lack of conditions. I lived in Germany 30 years ago and I was shocked at the time by the lack of available housing. I know lots of people there, some Germans for generations and some with German ancestry immigrated from the Romania and they all told me the same thing: it’s no housing capacity in Germany for so many refugees. The refugees are living in containers heated in the winter or in gyms taken from schools or sport halls. moved from one city to another. And nobody can seem to know how this problem would ever be solved. The Merkel’s approach at the time, mistaken as it was, created a wave of right wing sentiments in Germany that fruited in the advancement of the AfD and other nationalist movements. Since Nice’s attack the post that I published in November after the attack in Paris was read more than any other of my posts with beautiful pictures and interesting stories.

Jonathan Haidt is a well known American social psychologist and professor of ethical leadership at Stern School of Business of the New York University. His TED talks trying to explain the reason American society is so divided nowadays was impressive and made me follow his articles.

In his new article published in American Interest “When and why nationalism beats globalism” he presents an in-depth view of how societies react to change of their social texture and how immigration shape their reaction.

Jonathan Haidt: “…it leads to a clear set of policy prescriptions for globalists. First and foremost: Think carefully about the way your country handles immigration and try to manage it in a way that is less likely to provoke an authoritarian reaction. Pay attention to three key variables: the percentage of foreign-born residents at any given time, the degree of moral difference of each incoming group, and the degree of assimilation being achieved by each group’s children. ”

Read here:

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Posted by on July 26, 2016 in Blog, News, USA


Fire Island’s deer

In the evening, when the heat subsides the deer come out roaming the dunes of Robert Moses State Park in Fire Island. They are well fed by the park services and so accustomed with people that many times they calmly eat just feet away from the board walks where crowds stand taking pictures with them.

FI copy

Fire Island, NY

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Posted by on July 23, 2016 in Blog, USA


After the catch

after the catch

Hyannisport, MA

All these commercial boats are gone fishing in early morning leaving the docks empty populated only by tourists and relaxed locals. In the afternoon the boats return with the catch of the day and the fishermen relax after a hard day around a can of Bud on the docks.

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Posted by on July 15, 2016 in Blog, USA


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