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Living in Bucharest.
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ReachingOut



Joined: 12 Aug 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your swift reply, Mike! Accommodation is being provided for me, so I'm ok on that one. I was wondering how easy it is to be connected to the internet and how easy it is to get one of these all in one phone/TV/internet deals you mentioned and how much it would cost?
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Mike_2007



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Location: Bucharest, Romania

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Most blocks have connections already installed by the two main cable TV providers (UPC/RDS), at least as far as your door, so if you want them to connect you up, it's just a case of going to the nearest sales centre, signing the contract, and waiting for the guy to come round and hook you up. I'd be surprised if it were more than a week from signing to connection.

Here's an idea of the costs:

UPC - 100 channels of TV, 10Mbps net, telephone = 60 RON (15 Euro)
RDS - 82 channels of TV, 100Mbps net, telephone, mobile = 76 RON (18 Euro) (has some free months if you sign up soon)
RomTelecom - 91 channels of TV, 50Mbps net, telephone = 84 RON (20 Euro) (has some free calls to Europe included apparently)

These are just some examples, they all have various options, some cheaper with less channels, less free minutes, and some more expensive with extra options, HD, one of those boxes that allows you to record shows. Some give you a mobile phone service too. You can often put together your own combination.

Can't comment on which one is best. I don't have a TV anymore - local TV is pants and anything else can be streamed/downloaded online (aha, me hearties!). I use RomTelecom's ADSL internet line and it's pretty reliable, only goes down about once a year when some plank decides to dig up the road and cuts their optical cables.
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ReachingOut



Joined: 12 Aug 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, that is most helpful! A Romanian friend has advised me that RDS is the best provider, though I guess they are all ok... do they have any restrictions on giving contracts to foreigners? I'm not a huge TV fan either and I expect that I will be busy with my job, but I need to have some way of keeping in touch with the outside world and passing the time in the evenings.

Is Bucharest as expensive as suggested in this and other threads? Which are the best supermarkets?
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Mike_2007



Joined: 24 Apr 2007
Posts: 344
Location: Bucharest, Romania

PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2011 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

People seem to have had good or bad experiences with both services providers. My other half had RDS and complained that the net was terribly slow, especially in the evenings. I had UPC for cable TV and never had any problems with them (except some years ago regarding billing). As far as I know there are no restrictions. If you are renting, however, you might have to get your landlord to set up the account.

A few people I've met or read about on forums have complained that Romania is expensive but this hasn't been my experience, but I guess it depends to a large extent on how you live. Things like transport are much cheaper than in the UK, as are most bills, and especially council tax (not an issue if you're renting, though). Running a car is expensive (as it is everywhere).

Regarding food, the trick is to shop and eat like the locals - not necessarily eating Romanian food, but shopping at local markets and cooking using local ingredients. Unlike most western countries, the supermarkets are expensive, whereas the farmers' markets are cheap (they are genuine farmers' market, not middle-class hobby shopping places like in the UK).

I make a lot of the things I miss from home, which I enjoy doing, allows me to control the quality of the ingredients, and generally costs less. I also cook with a lot of the seasonal local produce. The main meats here are chicken and pork, and beef to some extent. Lamb is available, but less so, and more expensive. Freshwater fish from the Danube is reasonably priced and fresh. Seafish and seafood and more expensive (imported). Again, it's all about buying them when they are plentiful and in-season (better quality, lower prices).

Pre-cooked, pre-packaged, imported, exotic, and frozen produce tends to be naff and expensive, and the supermarkets are the most expensive places to shop. As a result, if you want to eat the same stuff that you eat back home, and if it's not something which is popular here (and therefore either imported in large quantities or produced locally) then you're going to pay a premium for it.

I can't really say which is the 'best' supermarket. Probably the one that's closest to you! I have two right on my doorstep; a Mega Image and a Profi. Mega is probably a little more upmarket and thus a tad more pricey. These are mid-sized ones and are found in all neighbourhoods. The bigger ones, the hypermarkets, tend to be out of town a bit although they are worth visiting from time to time to get the things you might not be able to find in your local shops. The big ones are Cora, Carrefour, Billa, Metro, etc. They are much of a muchness, really.

I'm also lucky in that I live quite close to Obor market, where you can find fresh (often still wiggling!) fish very cheaply, and where a lot of the smallholders come to sell their produce (fruit and veg). For those special items, there are a few boutique shops around; I know of a French one, a Portuguese one, and an Italian one - pricey, but worth a visit from time to time for things you can't get in the local stores.

Eating out is reasonable too, relatively speaking. Of course, if you go to the 'centrul veche', to some fancy restaurant geared to tourist or parties, it's western prices. Most neighbourhoods have a local restaurant, though. I've got one at the end of the street where the two of us can get a simple meal, a dessert, and a beers or three for about 10-15 Euro in total.
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ReachingOut



Joined: 12 Aug 2011
Posts: 8

PostPosted: Sun Aug 21, 2011 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once again, thanks for the info! The shopping advice is very useful, especially as I will be on a budget and will need to keep my expenses down as low as possible. Internet will be the one luxury that I will afford myself. It certainly makes sense to shop like the locals. I know that salaries are low in Romania and the locals will certainly know all the tricks to surviving on a low salary. Does the Obor market take place every day, or just once a week? I don't know how near to it I will be, but if it is close I will certainly use it Smile
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piscinepremium



Joined: 23 Feb 2013
Posts: 2
Location: Bucharest

PostPosted: Sun Feb 24, 2013 5:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello guys and girls. first of all let me tell you that i am new to the forum so bare with me pls. I am a romanian living in Bucharest. I just wanted to say a big THANKS to all of you for saying such nice things about my country. I never saw Romania the way you do, you must be right because you are impartiall. Thanks for opening my eyes.
If you need some inside info, or you need some help, from one who is born and raised in Romania, feel free to message me.
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Bebsi



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 958

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, piscinepremium, I like your positive response.

Many people knock absolutely everything about Romania - most of these people, sadly, being Romanian!

Sure, the place isn't perfect, and there are some things for folks to justifiably moan about (bad road infrastructure outside of Bucharest - but improving, admittedly) and bureaucracy in government offices - *GRRR*. I admnit that sometimes I even have a good moan myself - usually about one of the two abovementioned, or the carefree way pedestrians throw themselves with abandon across busy roads, usually with a mobile phone stuck to their ear! C'mon guys, haven't you ever heard of Newton's law?

I'm not a big fan of Romanian cooking: too greasy and/or stodgy for my liking. That's a personal taste thing, though.

Overall, however, there are many positive aspects to living here.

The cost of living generally is much less than western Europe, as Mike_2007 has pointed out. Admittedly this can be more of a factor for expats than locals, who often have to survive on low incomes compared with western Europe. Then again, there are plenty cars on Bucharest streets that are relatively new, and Romanians seem to enjoy themselves at weekends.

A lot of people here have a vision of the west as perfect, a financial Nirvana where they can have wonderful lifestyles. Maybe a bit too much soap-opera viewing time on the comparatively cheap satellite TV? Smile

The weather here is really nice eight months a year. The Nov-Feb period is not so nice (we DO get a winter here), but now, as I write, I am looking out at a very pleasant, sunny spring day. OK, summers are very hot, but that's what AC is for!

Once out of the city, there are some beautiful wilderness areas, especially in the north, with abundant wildlife that is often found nowhere else in Europe. Transylvania is full of beautiful medieval villages, and there are a few really nice cities here such as Iasi, Sibiu and Cluj.

Romania is classed in global economic terms as an upper-middle income economy, and everyone fantasizes about what it would be like to be 'Upper'. But how many here think of lower-income economies, such as Chad, Bangladesh or DRCongo? I was in Sudan not long ago and was amazed at the levels of poverty there. That brought back memories of Latin American and earlier African trips. Driving back home from Bucharest airport, I saw the place in a new light.

In my native Ireland, at the moment, no-one goes out at weekends because they are too busy trying to repay the huge mortgages that have them deep in negative equity. The bars are deserted on weekend nights, and foreign holidays are mostly a thing of the past. People have huge living costs, and generally, don't have very different lifestyles from Romanians.

Or maybe they do! Romanians are travelling more now than ever before. Bars & restaurants are doing a reasonably healthy trade.

In Romania, about 10-15% of residential units are mortgaged. Very few people live long-term in rented accommodation, and while many of the communist-era apartment buildings look pretty grim on the outside, many if not most people within have pretty decent homes and live normal lives.

Normal, that is, apart from spending an unhealthy amount of time wishing they were somewhere else.
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Bebsi



Joined: 07 Feb 2005
Posts: 958

PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 10:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two more items I forgot to mention:

While government healthcare here is lousy, as it is in quite a few western countries, private healthcare is good and extremely cheap. Going to a GP, as I did recently with flu, can be as low as 12 euro. A married couple can get all-inclusive private health insurance with a large hospital/clinic for as little as 30 euro p.m.

Customer service is still a novel concept here, and while the standard of service can be frustrating, it is also a factor that a small or medium business can easily turn to their competitive advantage. My wife and I run a small business here, and our clients often comment that one of our attractive features is that we offer very good customer service.
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