This town has come a long way since 1989, and even further since the country sneaked under the European Union entrance requirements limbo bar while the other member states’ representatives were away having piña coladas, games of hunt-the-soap and vigorous discussions about Uganda in Peter Mandelson’s Jacuzzi. There are many signs of these changes. One of the first was a Goth bar and Transylvania’s only Japanese restaurant; we also now have aromatherapy clinics, one of my wife’s doctor colleagues has made this place a breast enhancement Mecca, and an Australian woman set up a fetish clothing shop (most of the stock of which has apparently been nicked by Gypsies... hmmm, I wanna see that). Then, this weekend, I saw a sign for the Destiny Nails Salon. Yes?
#1: Back in the day this could only have been an emporium selling coffin nails (think about it).
#2: The salon is situated not far from where many people were shot dead in the (not particularly “velvet”) 1989 revolution, thereby fulfilling an Historic destiny. I’d like to think this is the one.
#3: When the smoke had cleared many received “heroes’ medals”, though, in good Romanian fashion, generally not those who'd been out on the street risking their lives. Destiny... Shmestiny.
#4: “Destiny” must surely be the name of a girl band – isn’t it? - and yet Cluj’s girl band is of course The Cheeky Girls, neither of whom is called “Destiny”, thankfully.
#5: “Destiny” is a fragrance from Calvin Klein - isn’t it?? – and the (Calvinist) Hungarian Reformed Church is just up the street. Ooh, tenuous.
#6 This mighty metropolis has several names depending on who you are: Napoca (Romans), Cluj (Romanians), Kolozsvár (Hungarians), Klausenburg (Germans) and קלויזנבורג (Jews). Now it’s surely the turn of our Armenians and they have "chosen Destiny" and the best of luck to them.
#7: But no, I guess we’ve been EastEndered the same as everywhere else. And I shouldn’t be so sniffy. Maybe folk do need their nails painted to look like the full set of Thunderbirds vehicles - though, ladies, if it’s of any interest, I’ve never heard any bloke say “Phwoar, look at her, get a load of those fingernails!”. “Destiny” is a difficult philosophical concept and therefore counts as (voice of the much missed Waynetta Slob) “exotic”. May its portals never close.