The Skeptical Friend

How can you refute the arguments of the visiting friend who thinks that Bucharest is a city like any other and that besides the "classical sightseeing" there is nothing much to see? First you should draw up a list with all the things that impressed you in the capital: pubs, restaurants, shops, or even bookshops betting on new concepts. Do not tell to the skeptical friend too many things about the itinerary you have chosen. He will be tempted to reject all your arguments. You'd better take him straight to Ienachita Vacarescu street no. 3, in the pub The Absinth, to have him try the cocktails simply entitled Delights. If your friend is tempted to taste the drink of the Green Fairy you could recommend for a start a frappe with absinth. If you go to the pub later in the evening, you should try the famous recipes of the equally famous drinkers who were Oscar Wilde and Hemingway. While the absinth is being flamed you can read some of the stories of this drink from the menu. Or at least the recipe called by Wilde the most horrible thing in the world. If you have thus awakened his taste for culture, you could take him in a tour in bookshops. At Anthony Frost English Bookshop on Victoriei Avenue he could be impressed for example by Lewis Carroll's biography in photos edited by Princeton University. It even has Carroll's notes on the first pages. And if the Englishness of books is not enough for your skeptical friend you may invite him for a walk in another British epoch. At the British Gallery on Paris street you can walk as in an English house. It has got everything it needs from a nursery to a smoking-room or even the impressive study. And if you have gone that far, you'd better leave skepticism aside and go shopping. Perhaps the most sought-after clothes are Victorian nightgowns. He will be so convinced that they are fancy, that one can wear them not only in the baldachin bed, but also in the street. Where to take him to dinner?No matter how many doubts your friend may have, if you take him to Bistro Dada (94 bis Matei Voievod), he will not remain impassible. He will be convinced by the Mediterranean, Asian and Romanian combinations in the menu. Skepticism may disappear (especially in the case of ladies) if they find out that they can wait for lunch while trying on the clothes collection from the Dada showroom or they choose some colorful accessories. You should also try a Dada coffee, after lunch.

Time Out, April 18-24, 2008
Translated by Fabiola Popa

by Stela Nadoleanu