Saturday, May 7, 2011

Unwaveringly American

The other night I was walking the road from Piaţa Romana back to my flat near Tineretului, I had a food craving. I get food cravings every once in a while, usually for good Mexican and Chinese, and the Thai food I've been missing so desperately. However, this night I was struck by an unabashedly American craving: Chicken McNuggets and a Diet Coke. Lucky for me there is a McDonald's at Piaţa Unirii, and so I continued on my walk armed with 4 delicious little processed balls of fried meat and the mixture of chemicals and carbonation equipped to clean industrial tar plants. And I thought about what I must look like, for all of my efforts to blend with local culture. I am simply an American.

How to Spot an American in Romania:
1. Eating at McDonalds
2. Laughing at the presence of KFC
3. Wearing jeans, but the boot leg type found at the Gap or Old Navy or on the Kohl's super-sale Saturdays... the Route 66 type found at your local K-Mart
4. Tennis shoes that are simply not sneakers
5. Alternatively, wearing Tivos
6. Hoodies from an American college or university
7. A curious appreciation for the- ahem- architecture covered with billboards- ahem as indicated by pointing and staring and pretending to look contemplative
8. Whispering about the ugliness of said commercial endeavours
9. Talking... loudly... about nothing... in restaurants
10. Commenting on how "charming" the local flavor is with no understanding of the trouble it causes to everyday Romanian people
11. Constant and visible frustration and dismay at people touching them and cutting in front of them in lines
12. Carrying maps- unfolded- on the metro
13. Speaking about how proud they are that they sucessfully navigated the Metro System
14. Continuing on, expressing surprise at how nice and efficient the Metro can be, despite the fact that Bucharest is the 6th largest city in Europe
15. In the winter, wearing a Columbia or North Face jacket
16. Speaking to shopowners and restaurant staff in English, exclusively
17. Gesturing wildly to cab drivers
18. Climbing into taxi cabs that have a posted rate this ISN'T 1.39 lei/km
19. Hesitating and false starting at every zebra crossing (though it can be noted that this might be an advisable behavior for everyone to copy)
20. Complaining amongst themselves about the lack of ice and fountain drinks
21. Wearing a Jansen backpack and carrying a guide book- dead giveaway

This is all for now. More suggestions are welcome and will be added :)

1 comment:

  1. I think we Americans just give off a foreigner vibe sometimes...also, one shouldn't mimic the accent of the locals whilst visiting a different country. They don't like it.