Performing in Romania – Part 3: Swearing and trying to leave

Posted by tobymuresianu on Oct 12, 2012 in Travel |

Part 2 ended at a train station, where I waited in a line of 10 people for 30 minutes and missed my train while the ticket salesperson entered each transaction in several communist-looking registries in an attempt to illustrate the failures of socialism. Finally, I got to the front 2 minutes before the last train that would get me to my show on time – and had her slam a “position closed” sign down.

After doing so, she gestured me (and the person next to me) towards a booth marked “International departures”, which had been open and empty the entire time. The person took our money and gave us our tickets in about 12 seconds – completely ignoring the ledgers or computer system – and we made the train just before the doors closed.

Unfortunately, the last train was a commuter train that took 4.5 hours to go the 115 miles to Bucharest, as it stopped in literally every town between there and Brasov. Romanians had told me that Romania is beautiful outside of Bucharest. Spoiler alert – there’s trees and farms and stuff. So it’s technically pretty, but in exactly the same way as every place else in the world.


Romania? Wyoming? It’s impossible to tell.

Without much to do, I struck up a conversation with Anatoly, the guy who’d been next to me in line. He was a square-jawed guy in tight jeans and a leather jacket who looked about 30 but told me he was 19.

“What were you doing in Brasov?” I asked. “I help my father set up identification printing business,” he replied. “How was it?” I followed up. “We do not get along. When I grew up he in Spain hiding from law.” replied Anatoly.

One interesting phenomenon I’d encountered in Romania was that people derided Gypsies for being criminals, but a surprising amount of the ethnic Romanians I met were also criminals. I couldn’t surpress my curiousity.

“What do you think about Gypsies?” I inquired. “Do not trust Gypsy – they steal,” he explained.

“They are very clever and they trick you. One of my friends, gypsy woman offer to tell her fortune for free. She say okay, Gypsy woman say to get better reading is best to have gold because it is spiritual medal, in a handkerchief. So my friend give her some earrings, bracelet. Gypsy woman put gold in handkerchief, but my friend, she never take her eyes off of it. Woman tell her, you going to find husband, have children, all this type of thing. Then she give back her handkerchief and hurry off, but when my friend opens handkerchief, is only stones inside.”

So don’t fall for that one.

“What do you do for a living?” I inquired. “I fish.” came the reply. “How is business?” I prodded. “Not good – I have to steal.” he stated casually.

Soon we moved on to a safer topic – learning Romanian swear words.

While most cultures are content with their versions of “Fuck you” and “Go fuck yourself”, in Romania swears are colorful, complex and bizarre. Some favorites (spelled phonetically):

Slobozisa twarte terfele care sow fatoot lutot Bucareschtu petine – “May the whores who fuck all Bucharest come on you with period blood.”

Somora Copime un Podunch du kill – “May you find your children in 1-kilo bags” (a reference to them being dismembered by killers).

as well as the disarmingly simple –

Bugatesh pula un hutia Limbie – “let me to introduce my dick to your tongue box”

We got to Bucharest about 45 minutes before my show was to start. Anatoly gave me his number. “If you are in trouble, you call me.” he said. I didn’t want to envision the scenario that would lead to this, though he was a nice guy.

Our final show was in a movie theater in a humungous and sterile mall filled with international luxury brands. In the food court, I ate a traditional Romanian dish of a sort of polenta cornbread, though as I was a vegetarian the meat that usually goes on it was replaced by about 3lbs of empty calories:

Traditional Romanian source of heart disease

Traditional Romanian source of heart disease

We performed in front of one of the screens in a movie theater. Only about 20 people were at the show, tragically, as it was my best of the three. All my material about Romania was polished (read: I’d stopped telling the jokes that sucked) and it was the most interactive show – there were a few hecklers, but they were very friendly and drunk so it was like shooting fish in a barrel.

After the show, we went back to the hotel bar to get similarly drunk with the show producers. It turned out one of them was actually one of the hecklers, a very energetic Dutchman who pulled out a laptop and showed me a PowerPoint of a skyscraper under construction and explained that he was the lead architect of one of the world’s tallest buildings being built in Dubai. I don’t know whether this was accurate, but I’m going to be safe and never enter that building.

Our flight the next morning was at 5, so I hit my bed to get a few hours of sleep while Yianni and David headed to a nearby bar whose claim to fame was having been open continuously since the fall of communism, possibly with the same patrons.

A blink later, I was up and jumping into a cab with two extermely drunk comics – one of whom puked repeatedly out the side of the car on the way to the airport. On arriving, we handed the rest of our Romanian currency over to the highly agitated cab driver, in what ended up still being a very reasonable fare for us by Western standards, and stumbled through the airport and onto our plane to London, a world away.

Post script – later on, I revisited the family tree that was suspiciously absent of anyone in my family. Suddenly discovered a familiar looking family cluster; it turned out my father, aunt uncle and Grandfather were all on the chart, but their first names had been translated into Romanian (My dad John Muresianu, for example, was listed as Ion Muresianu). So I am related to Andrei Muresianu after all – he’s my great-great-great-great-great-great-uncle.

Andrei Muresianu

I knew I saw a resemblance!

That’s all – thanks so much for reading! If you enjoyed it, be sure to subscribe via RSS, facebook, twitter or email to find out when the next articles are up.

Copyright © 2019 Toby Muresianu – Comedian All rights reserved. Theme by Laptop Geek.