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petrosani (a very predictable text)

July 13, 2008

it’s possibly two years full since my first visit to petrosani. two years later, the town looks the same.

just like the other little ex-mining towns in jiu valley, it’s the abuse of seeing those empty blocks of flats in the middle of rich, beautiful forests that strikes the most. it’s striking because people are miserable and poor in the midst of natural bounty.

it does not make sense at all.

it seems to be an expression of how an artificial form cannot survive. the small industrial centers were, in a sense, artificial. mining is natural, but relocating people from the regions where they knew how to live, bringing them in jiu valley and giving them something to do, something that was outside of them, and making this with too many people, that was artificial. when the activity is gone, people no longer know what to make of themselves. even though the rich nature is around, food is falling from trees, so to say, but the people there do not know how to pick it.

it seems to leave people hurting and depressed, a natural reaction to the withdrawal of an artificial substance from one’s body.

so, people are not unilateral. they are not only pairs of hands in mines, which is what they were supposed to be for tens of years. meanwhile, other senses and dimenstions were blunted, or never had time to develop.

what was not there two years ago and has grown since, again like a malignant excrescence, is the new mall in the middle of petrosani. again, something that does not make sense, in the middle of all the poverty of the little town, a point of bounty, wide-screen shining tv’s, new clothes, ridiculously over-priced food. again, it is something that gives people something to do for a while, to fill in the void left by the other activity. you wonder where they find the money to buy in the mall, but they do, people will always find the money to shop there. it’s like another take of the drug, which will last you for one afternoon of not thinking about the larger depression.

staring the mall in its face is the old soviet hotel “petrosani”. out of context, it behaves like it doesn’t understand what has been happening around it.

it’s huge halls, old red tapestry, and heavy cutlery are waiting for important party leaders to bring their young secretary lovers, full of corners where secrets can be hidden, full of corners where spies on those secrets can hide as well. actually, the ancient shape of the hotel is a sign of wisdom, because old lovers come back again, dressed in new clothes, with younger secretaries born after “the revolution”, the same people, with the same need to hide in corners and spy on each other. with the same fears, i suppose, that the stupid fuckers outside will realize where the money’s at and try to grab it.

luckily, the guys outside are busy with the new mall, and when they’re no longer busy with that, they’ll get busy with something else, and then they’ll die.

so, the bounty of the forests of petrosani is cut off secretely at night and goes straight into the depths of “petrosani” hotel, out of sight and out of mind, skipping over the heads of the people in the valley who cannot make sense of why they live in blocks with no electricity and water when the green forests boom with life around them.

anyway, i really have no clue what is going on, and this is just a narrative i came up with while confortably having lunch on the terrace of the hotel, listening to house music at lunchtime, and thinking it’s time to get out of there and move deeper into the forests.

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