Day 1 Bucharest

I can’t get the mobile to post blogs and pictures here so the photos will have to be backfilled from the mobile. Arrived here very early Wednesday morning. There is a heatwave on – temperatures across the 30s. Although it was 1am the traffic crawled. The reason was that a helicopter was being towed down the main road into Bucharest.  The ‘pilot’ was holding a flare out of the window of the helicopeter for added safety. My driver was disgusted.  ‘I thought they would have finished by now’. Apparently he had had to queue to get to the airport an hour before because they were towing a plane down the same road.

Straight into the first day of training for the IAA.  About 30 people came. Slightly phased to discover that several of them have been reading my website for up to 3 years and know the slides better than I do. I do an interview with Campaign magazine for Romania. They ask me why account planning is such a hot topic. My incredulous expression clearly gives me away.  However tepid the planning scene may appear in London in Romania planning and planners are in danger of overtaking creatives as the next BIG thing.  Jackpot ;-) .  And it is clear the attendees have come along to learn – not all of them planners and not all of them from agencies with planning departments.  So back in frontier territory again – which is always an energising place to be.

I had to spend part of the time signint certificates for those who had taken the training- just think certified by Planning Above and Beyond. . I couldn’t help noticing that there is an anomaly between English and Romanian title – all of the male recipients were each named as Mr. But all of the women were presumed to be Mrs. Miss or the odd Ms. doesn’t seem to be an option. But from the English side it felt downright peculiar to be training a female audience composed entirely of married women.

Gotham Finish at 5. I have a couple of hours to explore my surroundings.  Every new city has a different set of proportions which you have to get used to. I don’t know what it is about Bucharest but the mass of the buildings and the width of the boulevards makes people seem smaller – and the lanes of cars hurtling towards you seem faster. It is a lot greener than I expected considering the heat. I walk to a park on the other side of the main highway where there is a boating lake. Again the paths and walkways are massive. It makes London look like a toy town.   I take a turn around the shopping mall attached to the hotel – only half the store spaces are taken and the mall is deserted. The stores are a mix of local grocery stores – selling everything and wildly aspirational. To my untutured eye – I have after all only got off the plane less than 24 hours ago – the furniture and clothes look as if they’ve come from the set of Dynasty.

Moremoresml The temperature has been in the upper 30s outside during the day. On the news it says that parents have been negotiating with schools to make sure that there is enough water for children who are in classes  and in particular those taking exams. Apparently children are fainting at their desks. Clearly sending them home isn’t an option. 

Razvan and Costin from Burnetts take me out to dinner at a Romanian restaurant – bearskins on the wall in the entrance hall and sturgeon and bear on the menu – though my tastes were more modest. Hunting and the mountains is one of the themes which comes up time and again. I met some one from a digital agency who claimed to drive 200 miles to eat a meal in a mountain restaurant. Given the reports I’ve heard of Romanian roads this is dedication indeed.

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