Saturday, 7 May 2011

Bucharest, Romania 2

In the last 36 hours, Bucharest, Romania grew on me more and more.

The day after my epic Pizza Hut experience, I took a tour of the Parliament Building.  As I alluded to in the last entry, it is the second largest building in the world (the Pentagon in Washington D.C. is larger).  Romanians are quite proud of the fact that the 20th NATO Summit was hosted at the Parliament Building in 2008.

The building was designed by a 28-year-old female architect and I think, you would agree with me, that it is beautiful inside.

After visiting the Parliament Building, I took a stroll down Bulevardul Unirii (Union Boulevard) which begins at the east end of the Parliament Building, branching off of Piata Constitutiei (Constitution Square).

View of Constitution Square and Union Boulevard from a terrace at the Parliament Building.

Piata Constitutiei is one of the largest squares in the capitol and I observed that workers were setting up a stage and a sound system there for a Shakira concert that is taking place today, May 7th.

Bulevardul Unirii was built in 1984 (when Romania was still a Communist state) and was modeled after the Champs-Elysees in Paris.  It reminded me so much of it's Parisian counterpart, with leafy trees and high-end fashion boutiques on either side.

I also stumbled into the Historical Center, a maze of cobblestone streets in downtown Bucharest where the "hip" crowd resides.  I haven't seen anyone in Bucharest that I find particularly attractive or good-looking, but many of the 20 and 30-somethings are quite stylish, and carry themselves with great confidence.

I liked the Historical Center so much that I came back again the following morning.

Something I've been thinking about in Bucharest that pertains to travel is this:  How do I become a better writer, a better artist?

From what I can tell, there are three ways:  read profusely, write profusely, and accrue as many life experiences as possible.

I don't think you need a buttload of life experiences to be a good writer, but it helps.  It gives you more material to write about.  It helps you figure out how people talk, act...what motivates them.

I think life experiences also make you a better writer because they make you more compassionate.  Compassionate because you routinely see that there are two sides to every story.

I've met a lot of people whose main goal in life is to accrue wealth.  To each his own.  I have no problem with that.  But personally, my biggest goal in life is to accrue experiences.

In order to achieve that goal I know that I must routinely get out of my comfort zone, do at least one thing that scares me each day, seek out situations that startle me and compel me to feel things that I've never felt before...and (maybe this is the most important one) (and befriend) people with a radically different point of view.

Travel has certainly done all of that to varying degrees.  This is why I encourage everyone to travel, even if it's only out of their state, even if it's only out of their county, even if it's only to a neighborhood within their own city boundaries that they've never visited before.

I find that my point of view is shifting.  When something strange, inconvenient, unpleasant, tragic happens to me instead of thinking, "Awwww fuck, that sucked balls," or "Why me?" I find myself thinking, "Wow, that's another life experience I just added to my repertoire!"

I'm convinced that the biggest compliment that someone can give me is not, "Wow, what a beautiful house you have, what a flashy car you're driving, what a chic outfit you're wearing."  No, no, the biggest compliment that someone can give me is, "Wow, what a lot of stories you have to tell."


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