When I first saw the Christmas lights in the center of Târgu Mureș, I felt reminded of Las Vegas. Glitzy, flashy, shining, pompous, they turn night into day. Cheesy Christmas songs emanate from the public loudspeakers which had once been installed for the regular disbursement of communist wisdom. Horse-drawn sledges pull children around Piața Trandafirilor, while their (the children’s, not the horses’) parents get tipsy on vin fiert (mulled wine).
Meanwhile, some villages not too far away have regular power outages or no electricity at all. There, children wouldn’t (and couldn’t) pay for a 15-minute ride with a horse. They have to use them every day, for lack of cars or even roads.
Romania, a country of contrasts. Good that mayors and city councils have got their priorities right. And how convenient that some electricity companies are owned by the Romanian Orthodox Church, so that all the money earned will be used for a good purpose, like building more churches with yet more lights to shine.