Bourdain on Romania
It was a pretty good episode of No Reservations, for many of the reasons he talks about in his blog post, excerpted below:
Things WERE fucked up. My Russian pal, Zamir, who had helped make such good shows in Russia and Uzbekistan, was definitely NOT a good choice to show me around Romania. I think, if nothing else, we made that explicitly clear.
But to describe Romania as particularly friendly? Not really. I’ve been all over the world. Over 50 countries. On the friendly scale? Romania not exactly in the top 40. The food--on camera, off camera? Didn’t matter. It was mostly pretty primitive. Soups may taste good--but they don’t make interesting television. I could lie. But I ain’t gonna.
Which is really what it’s all about, isn’t it? Should I--when faced with a show that’s clearly going wrong--as far as depicting good times and good food--do my best to LIE about it? Put on my best, tightest smile and slog through an hour, yammering a lot of utter bullshit about what a great time I’m having and how good the food is and how friendly the people? You can see that on every other travel and food show. Or get it straight from the tap--at the Tourist Board. This show never pretended to have any responsibility to show the “best” of any place--or the “top ten” of anything. Or to even be diplomatic. I, me, Anthony Bourdain went to Romania. I made some bad decisions. And this is the show I came back with. At the end of the day? That’s what happened. That’s what it felt like. Period. Frankly? I think it’s a pretty funny show.