Friday, July 10, 2009

Basil Fawlty Moment #2: “Romania - The Land of Choice”

To encourage tourism this country has decided to re-brand itself. Yeah, and that’s the snappy title it came up with. Somebody got paid for thinking of that? (The previous slogan was "Simply Surprising" - !) As Mrs Dilo says pithily, "Yes, in this land you can choose to eat either a potato or a beetroot”. I had another Basil Fawlty moment. So, as I’ve become obsessed by lists - give me a subject, any subject, I’ll give you a 10-point list about it, easy - here are 10 better epithets. I’m not claiming they’re especially funny, but I hardly needed to break into a sweat thinking them up, which is the point. There’s a couple of pointless rhyming ones for starters:

The Land of James Joyce

Joycie never made it here, but he did work for some time in Pula - a town in Croatia - which is also the worst swearword in the Romanian language. He’d have liked that.

The Land of Max Boyce

Boycie never made it here either, as far as I know; but we have rugby, sheep, and lots of prime cowshit for him to grow his giant leeks in.

This Land Is Your Land

Soap-dodging American protest singer Woody Guthrie also never got here. Maybe just as well: his anthem about land rights might have been misunderstood in a country whose 1930s fascists took to wearing symbolic bags of soil around their necks.

Get Orff Moy Laaaand!!

Viz Magazine’s Farmer Palmer would look a daft bastard: each farm is so small that any trespasser would have walked to the other side of it before he’d finished that final vowel. We’ve plenty of work for The Fat Slags though.

The Promised Land

If you've been promised that you can come and live in this country, we'll support you, as long as you get the Gypsies and Hungarians to move on. Milk and honey provided. Live The Dream.

Land of Hope and Glory

Nadia Comăneci, Ilie Năstase, rabies vaccine, the discovery of insulin, the world’s first unassisted-take-off aeroplane flight in 1906, the world’s first jet aeroplane in 1910....

World of Leather

The crumpled, smelly, black leather jacket is the traditional costume of the proletarian Romanian who’s built all of Spain and Italy’s patios with his special “Moldovan Mix” concrete made to a secret recipe of sawdust, dog bones and cornflakes.

Lands on its Feet

Despite amazingly low wages, low manners and the low esteem in which they are held abroad, Romanians muddle along with surprisingly low levels of suicide, self-consciousness and self-questioning.

The Land that Time Forgot

This is the obvious one for f**k’s sake. Horse-drawn carts in towns, oxen-drawn ones in the hills... an embarrassment to Romanians, but western tourists love this kind of shit! Throw in the funny costumes, cute furry animals and cheap booze and the Tourist Board should wake up to the fact they’re sitting on a bucolic Las Vegas.

Manuel, let me explain:


Gorilla Bananas said...

I'd completely forgotten about Nadia Comăneci. Is she now a svelte cosmopolitan celebrity like Bianca Jagger, or just another fat woman with 5 children?

Gaw said...

How about Land of Gypsies? If gypsies were reclassified as a tourist attraction rather than, well, whatever they're called, it could be a win/win arrangement.

Once they get over their initial feelings of extreme hostility and outrage, I'm sure the Ministry of Tourism would be delighted. There's even a book out which could be used to promote the idea.

Lulu LaBonne said...

I would definitely go and visit the country known as World of Leather.

My lasting memory of a trip to Romania was that I was served a sausage stained inside with blue dye.

Could it be the Land of Condemned Meat Products?

Lulu LaBonne said...

There were also the fortune-telling budgies in Bucharest - that was nice

The Land of Psychic Budgies

inkspot said...

But isn't "choice" a reasonable anglophone approximation to the pronunciation of "tuica"?

No Good Boyo said...

"Romania - Not as Bad as You'd Imagine" would have self-deprecating charm and the virtue of truth, unlike the country itself.

I enjoyed my time in Romania, but then I'm Welsh and was impressed by Moldova's roads.

Good luck, you plucky Dacians, but sooner or later you'll have to go back to the Dracula shtick. Think of all those trust-fund Goths.

Madame DeFarge said...

Gosh, I feel the urge to book a trip right now. I fancy a carefree tourist trip to somewhere as mysterious as Romania sounds. Could it be the Land of the Canned? A paean to canned products everywhere?

Vinogirl said... was nice to see him in the royal box at Wimbledon.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Bananas, Nadia Comăneci is very much a svelte cosmopolitan celebrity, with only one child (when she was age of 45); she's like Romania's Princess Di, except without the sillyness and the tragedy.

Gaw, Land of Gypsies? Ooh, no, not really - though many Gypsies are attracted to tourists, certainly. We had more of them than any other European country but we're sending them all over to you guys as you've always said how charming and colourful they are! Thanks for the ref to the book, I will ahve a look at it some time.

Lulu, World of Leather just should a country, shouldn't it. We have a Romanian friend who works in a salami factory here and he says that you really don't want to know what goes into them! "Fortune-telling budgies in Bucharest"??? Did they predict predict Ceauşescu's downfall and CFR Cluj's recent footballing success??

Inkspot, no (whatever made you imagine that??) Anglophones usually can't pronounce the initial "ts" consonent cluster in ţuică, so we tell them to reverse them and say "squeaker".

Boyo, The Goths are already here. But we're only now catching up with musical trends and everybody regards Bram Stoker as a twat, so they're Cure fans rather than yer actual vampires.

Madame, come and visit, do - it's Europes last unspoilt wilderness, so we're encouraging tourists to come and spoil it! Canned products are interesting here as they choose to can their worst foodstuffs, which to me seems a inappropriate use of the canning process.

Vinogirl, welcome to you! Năstase has strangely morphed from Mr "Nasty" to a folk hero and romantic legend of Wagnerian proportions. He's still got horrible hair, though.

inkspot said...

See? The Land of Squeaker. Much better.

Kevin Musgrove said...

"Land of bicarbonate of soda sauasages?"

Gadjo Dilo said...

Inkspot, thnaks: I've had a word with Tourist Board and "Land of Squeaker" is now official :-)

Kevin, yep, that's the kind of stuff they use - makes them bigger and plumper and gives you gas.

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

If that Gipsy theme park thing comes off, you could call it "Rom-Mania". Roast hedgehog burgers would go down a storm. Entry should be free, as you will have to buy four new tyres before you can get out of the car park.

The Jules said...

heh. You said puna. Heh.

Lulu LaBonne said...

OK - I'm definitely coming to the Land of Squeaker in spite of the blue sausages.

When I saw the budgies, Ceauşescu had just been shot, I bet they did predict that.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Daphers, is there a gypsy theme park being built?? It's not a bad idea at all - there are some great Rrom entertainers in this country. But they definitely wouldn't need to charge an entrance fee as they'd be sure to fleece you once inside ;-)

The Jules, my friend, who was it who said "puna"? (I have a vague recollection of the word being used be Ali G....)

Lools, I bet those budgies had been predicting the Ceauşescu's shooting every day of their lives, in the hope it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy!

Lavinia said...

Hello Gadjo and thanks for visiting my blog. Take heart...France is presenting a new tourist slogan to the world too. Something about more smiles...

Andy H said...

"The Land of Barbecued Turds" (Or: "Do you want to taste my smalls?")

Pearl said...

I dated a Romanian once. He was drop-dead gorgeous and a helluva dancer. Unfortunately he had no detectable sense of humor and I had to let him go.

As for tourism, I would push the goth/Dracula angle. The younger generation in the U.S. is all a-twitter with vampires these days. No good reason for it, of course, but who cares? A coupla oxen-drawn carts, a coupla black capes, a castle or two and you got yourself a destination. Have beer mugs in the gift shops as well as commemorative pins and painted plates...


Kevin Musgrove said...

My God, Pearl, you're describing the British railway system!

Scarlet-Blue said...

Romania will always be The Land of the Dilo, as far as I'm concerned.
[My knowledge of Romania is a tad limited].

Gadjo Dilo said...

Lavinia, thanks for dropping by. France has a new tourist slogan about smiling more?? This sounds counterproductive - surely tourists go there to get shrugged at!

Andy, hi. Ah yes, I never realised that the word for those squidgy meat things one fries on bar-b-ques here can be translated in English as "smalls" :-)

Pearly, thanks for getting into the swing of this: we already have Dracula mugs in the gift shops though, and most towns have a "Dracula's Castle" restaurant! The Romanian sense of humour can be dire - I feel your pain.

Kevin, which bit? Is RailTrack drop-dead gorgeous or with no detectable sense of humour?? ;-)

Scarley, welcome back! I'm happy if you like to think of it that way. The Romanian language is basically just Latin: unnecessarily complicated and quite useless.