6 Challenges you’ll face during your stay in Bucharest (Romania)
So you’ve decided to travel to Bucharest and you’d like to know more than your friendly guides have to offer, well this is the article you’re looking for then. I will be your virtual guide for this article and tell you about some of the challenges you might face here. Here you have 6 obstacles upon traveling to Bucharest, that will give you a heads-up advice and some useful info.
Although there are a lot of churches, more than churches are the homeless and beggars, this will make you think of one of those old books about adventurous poor fellows but it’s actually not so, some are drunk, some drugged, some have been living in the sewer system and others are ill beyond a cure, when around them keep your guard up and be cautious, until you have passed them a street or two, you may also encounter them in the bus, tram or other means of transport, helping them with money is a double edged sword because a majority use it for alcohol and other intoxicants, my theory is this, if you see someone eating from the trash and you’re feeling kind, there is no harm in helping them with food or some clean water especially if they are children.
The subway train is probably the best means of transport in Bucharest, mainly because it’s faster and more spacious than the rest, unfortunately the train is not punctual, say you’re going from point A to point C, the train will stop at point B for 5 minutes and arrive late, or the information screen in the subway will add extra minutes for some unknown reason. Another problem is that the train closes at 23:00 and opens at 5:00 am, that means that if you want to go out and party till 2:00 am you’ll have to take a cab (more about that below) back home and pay extra just because of the suckish subway time shifts.
Not The Cab
Cabs in Bucharest are the root of all evil in the country, you can find the worst people in them, they will try to take more money from you than the trip is worth, they use all kinds of tricks, from trying to bargain with you to adding an extra tax for night shifts that is hidden somewhere at the bottom of the door written in tiny characters, the best to do is to have a local help with the cabs or just use an app for taxis, because the one’s that are ordered are usually held up to the order and probably won’t try any fishy stuff, especially that they came all the way to pick you up for your ride, another solution can be using Uber, I don’t use it myself but I’ve been told that it’s quite useful when you’re in a pinch with the cabs.
As I’ve been taking friends and foreigners to restaurants around town (I prefer home-cooking), I notice that the waiters are either very rude and disrespectful or just think that they should be somewhere else than serving you and taking your order, that they’d almost impose their own will upon you and make you feel privileged that they’re talking to them, this is especially if you don’t appear wealthy. This is not always the case to be honest, but if it does happen to you while you’re here, be calm and firm, and take your time to order , teach the clown that you’re not a push-over just because you’re not from here.
Even the cab drivers have to put up with this catastrophe, that is almost unique to Bucharest, everywhere you walk there is a digging site that is left unfinished or just left in a very bad condition after work has been executed. If you’re driving in a car you might hear strange noises because of a hole or two, probably you’ll also come across a closed road, in which case you’ll have to find your way through some narrow street. This is a major problem that the government is not providing enough attention to, so if you’re traveling by car, get ready for a bumpy ride.
Ask anyone who visited Bucharest and had to go to a hospital here, and they’ll tell you how awful is healthcare and handling people at the hospitals is. The healthcare system is one of the most corrupted systems in Romania and especially Bucharest, the emergency room is full of homeless people, the nurses will execute clinical maneuvers on patients that otherwise the doctor should do, mainly because the doctor has far too many patients. The elevators are almost always jammed and the stairs in some hospital may be closed, you’d have to wait 30 minutes for an elevator, that actually happened to me more than once. If god forbid you have to go to a hospital to do a check up or anything else besides an emergency I’d recommend going to a private clinic, private clinics are clean, the doctors are paid well there and they have enough personnel.
P.S. In matters of surgery or experience you’re better off looking for a practitioner not a hospital, some doctors work in the public hospitals and are much better than the ones working at the private clinics.
Now to conclude, I didn’t list these “flaws” to say that you shouldn’t visit the country/city or to give you that sort of image, actually Bucharest is very unique in the fact that it has many parks and lakes, although many parts are surrounded by a communist theme, the best parts of the city are deep within the city, you know what they say : “don’t judge a book by it’s cover” so you’d have to go through the city to get a true opinion.
The original Romania still lives on and has a lot of natural riches, that you shouldn’t miss on, the gastronomy is delicious and the people are very welcoming, you’ll have a great time on your visit, just as in any other countries watch out for these downs and look for the ups.