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The Complete Insider's Guide to Romania: 2011 Paperback – December 1, 2010
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Top Customer Reviews
I've left Romania for Canada more than fifteen years ago and I wish I had a similar book about Canada and Canadians. Now, with a good understanding of how westerners live and socialize, I can see how confusing Romania can be for them. As I was reading this guide and its various amusing chapters about how a foreigner would perceive various Romanian customs, I had many moments where I would chuckle and think "OMG, this is so true, I've never seen it that way!". I can tell that the author had many patient guides himself, guides that introduced him to all that's good and bad about Romania, from the sweet taste and fragrance of the wild strawberries, the welcoming people and sights taken from fairy tales, to the mind boggling bureaucracy and the scary night traffic on country roads.
As a Romanian, I would have very little to add to this book and I would recommend this book to all that want to not just visit Romania but to also understand the people and enrich their experience.
Well worth the price.
Highly recommended if
- you are a Romanian - it won't hurt to understand your country
- you are a Romanian in exile - it won't hurt to understand what you left behind
- you came to live here - this is your best starting guide
- you travel in Romania and would like to "see" deeper than the usual turist.
However, if you are planning on a longer stay in Romania or the region, this book is an excellent look into the culture. It reads rather like a blog--emoticons, occasional typos, and all--but the way in which the information is divided and presented (concise, anecdotal) makes it exactly the sort of blog you would wish to consult when learning about or visiting Romania. I'm sure the fact that the book is occasionally politically incorrect will put off some people, but don't let that prevent you from enjoying the book as a whole. (As someone who works in a Roma community in neighboring Bulgaria, I admit that I cringed when reading the "Gypsy" section, which is based purely on stereotypes. Sure, it's funny and not totally inaccurate, but I would strongly recommend supplementing your knowledge of Roma culture elsewhere if you'd like a more in-depth understanding.)
All in all, the book provides a handy look into the country, and is a smooth read that can be read in one sitting or in theme-specific chunks. Again, living in nearby Bulgaria, I found many parts of this insightful to the region as a whole, and was interested to learn of some similar or shared traditions with my adopted country. (Some of these included holidays like Martisor/Baba Marta, foods like mici/kebabcheta and ciftele/kyufteti, shared words--Slavic, Turkic, or otherwise--and even commonly held beliefs; the chapter titled "Moving Air: Bringer of Sickness" made me guffaw, as it perfectly reflects the mindset where I live as well.Read more ›
One reviewer expressed her concern that this isn't a standard traveler's guide, with street maps and hotel recommendations. That is absolutely true, and one of those can be pretty handy. But I own a bunch of those, and while I certainly do use them, Sam's book is the one I use when I am trying to understand Romania.
Another reviewer suggested that the book has a bias against missionaries. I'm not so sure; I am a missionary in Romania myself, and get along with the author pretty well. (We live in the same town, and know each other socially). If I had to guess, I would say that Sam has a bias against the stereotypical rude foreigner, who travels through a country without paying attention to the customs, and the feelings, of the local population. He wrote the book to help keep that from happening, and I for one am grateful that he did.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Traveled to Romania for the first time and found this guide to be incredibly helpful. Great reading from someone who actually lived there and understands the country and culture.Published on June 13, 2014 by Michael J. Jacobs
Just from few pages I glanced at, this book has quite few preconceived and subjective opinions (all Romanians live in flats, slow performers at work, they're poor but like to show... Read morePublished on February 6, 2014 by digfun
Unfortunately, I did not have this book until I returned BUT it is absolutely the best book I have found on RomaniaPublished on August 25, 2013 by Mildred J Fischle
I have worked on projects in Romania since 1991 and try to read new books and information about Romania. This is the worse travel guide I have every encountered. Read morePublished on March 27, 2013 by Maimutzacelmare
I love this book (2012 edition). Be sure to search for the most recent edition before purchase. If you're traveling, you'll need Rough Guide etc for details.Published on February 26, 2013 by Lynn P
This was the easiest book to follow. It explains places and sights that are easy to follow and understand. The food and customs were important to know.Published on January 30, 2013 by Karen Sperberg
We took this with us last October for our visit to Romania. It was very helpful (traveling tips). I would say that it is geared more towards someone who is going to live in... Read morePublished on January 17, 2013 by Amazon Customer
Even if you're NOT going to Romania, read this book. You'll want to go after reading it. Definitely not necessary for a 2-day business trip, but if you're planning a longer visit... Read morePublished on May 18, 2012 by Donna B