Well, I did end up in the back of a Romanian police car today, and I also spent some time in a Bucharest jail. But it’s probably not what you’re thinking.
I was spending the day at Harastrau Park, a giant park with a lake, flowers, and homeless guys who like to steal cameras.
I wish I could say Bucuresti is just plain evil and that the stolen camera is an example of this, but really I can only say that I’m just plain stupid.
I was talking with a couple teenagers at the park. One was a Hungarian and the other a Romanian. I took out my camera to get a couple pictures of them, then the Romanian kid said, in broken English, “I take your photo now.” I thought, “Sure, what could go wrong? I’m right next to him, so if he tries anything, I’ll just outrun him.” Well, he started to take the photo when his friend the Hungarian asked me about something in my bag. I turned to look at what he was talking about, then looked back to discover the Romanian kid… gone.
So in broken Romanian, I very firmly asked the Hungarian kid, “Where room?!?!” (Camera in Romanian means “room” not “camera.” Go figure.) He did the whole, “Gee, I dunno” thing, so I angrily said something like, “Room here, or police. Where room?!” Then the guy took off running, so I ran after him and yelled, “Politie! Politie!” I caught him and held him there until a couple Romanians came over and called the police for me.
On the positive side, the police were very friendly in Bucuresti albeit slow. And I learned to keep my camera in my hands ALWAYS. And I learned that if you mention you’re an American, it seems to help quite a bit. I also got to ride in a cop car (unfortunately, no flashing lights and siren, though….) and see a Bucuresti jail.
On the negative side, though, I don’t have a camera and feel like an idiot.